K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals
A light but persistent rain washed out half the first round and all of the second round of professional qualifying at the 34th annual K&N Filters SuperNationals presented by Pep Boys. Saturday's qualifying action and the King Demon Crown special event for the top eight Pro Stock qualifiers from the last year will take place as scheduled.
In Friday's limited action, Greg Anderson took full advantage of the cool conditions just before the rain started and rocketed to a 6.723 at 205.91 mph. It was the second quickest pass of all-time and a potential world record speed if he manages to back it up at some point this weekend.
The big guns of Pro Stock were dreaming of the class's first 6.6-second pass but they will have to postpone that potential landmark occasion for at least one more day. Even so, Anderson's 6.723 at 205.91 mph in his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am produced a crowd-pleasing world record speed as well as the second quickest Pro Stock pass ever.
"I know you don't want to hear this but it wasn't a very nice run for us," Anderson said. "Just look at how close everyone was to us on the (timing) sheet. We've had a bigger gap between us and the pack for the last several races but we just kind of missed it today. It was shaking and spinning, but at least we made it to the other end, which is more than a lot of guys were able to do
"The thing is no one here has experience running in conditions like this, no one. So if we get another shot and the conditions are the same then you'll see someone run a 6.68 or 6.69 at 206 mph. I hope it's me."
Mopar Parts team leader Allen Johnson now owns the third-quickest elapsed time in the record books after he coaxed a 6.724 at 204.76 mph out of his Dodge Neon R/T. The pass places A.J. second in this field. Ron Krisher was next with a 6.727 at 205.41 mph in his Valvoline Cavalier, followed by GM's Warren Johnson and Summit's Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk, who had a pair of 6.729s.
Prior to this race there had been just five Pro Stock passes of 205 mph or better. That number doubled Friday.
The field, anchored by Mahwah, N.J.'s Scott Geoffrion and the 6.778 at 203.61 mph he carded in the Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2, is one-hundredth of a second slower than the quickest 16 of all-time. With the exception of two drivers, the top 16 cars on the grid carried their drivers to either a career-best elapsed time or top speed Friday. Pro Stock results
After many of the lower-ranked Pro Stock Bike riders near the front of the pack began posting career-best numbers, the buzz through the grandstands quickly focused on the top teams and whether the once mythical six-second barrier would be broken. Although that didn't happen, the fans still gave the group a standing ovation after one of the best qualifying rounds ever.
Gann's 7.069 at 186.67 mph on his Mac Tools Suzuki proved to be the best pass of the day and the quickest of his career. The elapsed time also was the second best in class history.
"I hope the rain goes away because I want another shot at running a six-second lap," Gann said. "That run was terrible. We shook the tire and I was on the chip in a few gear changes so I feel like we left a lot on the table that time.
"If the conditions are like they were earlier today during tomorrow's run we'll see a world record for sure and maybe the first six-second pass if someone hits it just right."
New POWERade points leader Geno Scali had a career-best pass of his own when he posted a 7.080 at 191.10 mph on his Trim-Tex Suzuki. Scali's run ranks fourth on the all-time e.t. list.
Atop his Screamin' Eagle V-Rod, GT Tonglet posted the quickest Harley-Davidson run with a 7.110 at 187.55 mph, which placed him third on the ladder. Area 51 pro Fred Collis followed with a 7.119 at 188.36 mph.
Nine of the top 16 riders used personal-best numbers to make the provisional field. The group was just two-thousandths of a second off the pace needed to be the quickest field ever assembled. Fred Camarena currently holds the bump with a 7.269 at 185.74 mph.
Two riders impacted the retaining wall during the opening session. Red Line Oil pro Matthew Smith posted an eighth-best 7.175 at 183 mph, a career-best for the son of "Tricky Rickie" Smith, before swerving over and brushing the right-side wall at top speed. One pair later, Lake Mortgage Kawasaki veteran John Smith suffered a similar fate but came off his bike and slid several hundred feet down the track. Matthew suffered four broken bones in his ankle and will not be able to compete. John's bike was damaged heavily and he will also be forced to withdraw from competition this weekend. Pro Stock Bike results