KENT, Wash. – Two-time NHRA Full Throttle Series champion Tony Pedregon delivered the run of the day, a 4.182-second pass at 289.63 mph, to assume the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car at the 22nd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals Friday.
The other provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 14th race in the 24-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season were Larry Dixon (Top Fuel) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock).
Pedregon ran in the final pair of the second qualifying session with Bob Tasca (4.228, 282.48) and each got down the track – they qualified 1-2 – but they were among the only Funny Cars to do so on what proved to be a difficult track to solve for most of the Funny Car crew chiefs.
"We just took advantage of (the track). I’m glad we didn’t gauge by what the other guys were doing," said Pedregon, who drives the Q Horsepower Chevy Impala. "I think (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) stuck to his game plan."
Pedregon currently sits third in the points this season, 54 behind co-leaders Ashley Force Hood (No. 7, 4.320) and Ron Capps, the latter of whom wasn’t able to get his car down the track in either qualifying pass on Friday. "I’m surprised (about Ron and) the other drivers (in the night session). Maybe the first session had some issues, it usually takes one run, the first run on Friday is usually a little temperamental (but) I was surprised (so many cars had trouble with) the second session," Pedregon said.
In Top Fuel, second-place Larry Dixon and the Al-Anabi dragster team was best in both rounds of qualifying, capping off the first day with a Top Fuel-best 3.891 at 302.21 for what would be his fourth No. 1 qualifier this season.
"Me, I just like to be in the top three or four cars and know that you have a good hot rod for Sunday," said Dixon, who’s qualified in the top 5 at 10 of the first 13 races. "Membership has its privileges. If you can get in the top three or four, then you have a good drawing, you can get a good pair, go later in the round after some rubber’s been put down and you get lane choice obviously."
The provisional No. 1 in Pro Stock is Mike Edwards, whose 6.606 at 208.94 in the first round of qualifying held up in the evening session. The second place driver of the A.R.T. Pontiac is looking to add to his NHRA-best seven No. 1 qualifying passes this season.
"It’s been an awesome season. It’s a joy to come out here and race this season," Edwards said. "It’s by far my best season ever. My hat’s off to all my guys."