On the first day of qualifying at the 13th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers in Bristol, Tennessee, Dodge Funny Car driver Jack Beckman set a track speed record of 317.05 miles per hour.
Beckman, in the Valvoline/MTS Charger, qualified second, behind Del Worsham’s DHL Camry. Worsham set a track ET record of 4.008 seconds, 0.004 seconds faster than Beckman.
2011 Champion and current points leader Matt Hagan and the Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Charger qualified third. Ron Capps qualified fifth in the NAPA Auto Parts Charger while Jeff Arend, still running the Eco-Absorb Charger, picked up the ninth slot. Johnny Gray, currently second in the standings, finished the day in the tenth spot after knocking out a timing block with the Pitch Energy Charger on his second run. It was a shame, too; Gray’s time, had it counted, would have put him right behind Capps. Blake Alexander had some trouble keeping up and failed to qualify. Since there are only 16 entries in the running this weekend, Alexander and the Auto Plus Parts Charger should make it to the eliminations on Sunday.
Dodge/Mopar Driver Qualifying Positions: Funny Car
2. Jack Beckman Valvoline/MTS Charger ET 4.012 Speed 317.05 (track record)
3. Matt Hagan Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Charger ET 4.049 Speed 317.05
5. Ron Capps NAPA Auto Parts Charger ET 4.066 Speed 310.84
9. Jeff Arend Eco-Absorb Charger ET 4.109 Speed 302.69
10. Johnny Gray Pitch Energy Charger ET 4.127 Speed 298.73
16. Blake Alexander Auto Plus Parts Charger ET 4.356 Speed 288.09 (DNQ)
In Pro Stock, it was another top spot for Mike Edwards and the “I Am Second” Camaro. Edwards set a track speed record in the first round and then shaved 0.006 seconds off his first ET in the second round to top the roster.
Allen Johnson and the Team Mopar Avenger roared to second in the qualifying order, shaving 0.036 seconds off his first round time.
Jeg Coughlin was 0.003 seconds behind Jason Line’s Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. The JEGS.com/Mopar Avenger had to stick with its first-round time; good enough for second in the first round, but only good enough for fourth in the second.
V. Gaines and his Kendall Oil Avenger were a DNQ in the first heat of the day, but made it up on the second pass, qualifying ninth.
Vincent Nobile got out of the groove on the second run and had to fall back on his first-round time, which was good enough to keep him and the Mountain View Tire Avenger in the field. He qualified twelfth.
Dodge/Mopar Driver Qualifying Positions: Pro Stock
2. Allen Johnson Team Mopar Avenger ET 6.645 Speed 207.72
4. Jeg Coughlin JEGS.com/Mopar Avenger ET 6.664 Speed 206.67
9. V. Gaines Kendall Oil Avenger ET 6.686 Speed 206.35
12. Vincent Nobile Mountain View Tire Avenger ET 6.700 Speed 206.07