Larry Dixon raced to the provisional No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Cruz Pedregon, Greg Anderson and Matt Smith also took the provisional top spots in their respective categories at most prestigious event of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series – and the final race before the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, the six-race playoffs to determine the world championships.
Dixon powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to the top of the field Friday with an impressive run of 3.883-seconds at 315.56mph. If it stands it would be his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and 51st of his career. It would also be his third No. 1 qualifier at Lucas Oil Raceway, a track where he has collected four career wins, including his victory last season.
“It was night qualifying, but we still had very hot, humid conditions,” said Dixon. “I think Jason (McCulloch, crew chief) was shooting for a little bit more than that, but we ended up low which is a great job by the entire Al-Anabi team. That probably won't stick for the pole; it might not even get you qualified, but for today, we did well. It's just one run that happened to be the best run of the day, but it won't be the best run of the weekend.”
While Dixon took the provisional top spot in the class, Lucas Oil/Speedco dragster pilot Shawn Langdon clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship with his qualifying run. Eight-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner Tony Schumacher sits in the provisional fourth spot after one round of qualifying.
In Funny Car, Pedregon raced his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry to a 4.147 at 300.40. If it stands it would be his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season, 43rd of his career and first at Lucas Oil Raceway.
“It's a good way to open up the weekend,” said Pedregon. “It's a good indicator of what we can do but by no means is this run going to stay No. 1 and by no means is it going to win the race. But it's certainly a great way to start.”
Brainerd winner Johnny Gray currently sits third in the field, while Funny Car points leader Mike Neff is in the provisional 12th spot.
In Pro Stock, defending world champion Anderson posted the quickest run of the session and powered his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GXP to a 6.650 at 208.04. If it stands, it would be his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and 76th of his career.
"My team is just doing a heck of a job right now,” said Anderson, who has three wins in the last five races. “It's fun to drive the racecars. Jason (Line, teammate) are having a ball. The cars have been faster every run and they've been so close together it's just inches every time we get on the race track. We're off to a good start.”
Smith rode his Haltech Affliction Redline Buell to the top of the field in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a run of 6.954 at 190.97. If it stands, it would be Smith's first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 19th of his career.
“We should see something better than what we ran,” said Smith. “The weather's getting better. It's pretty hot out there and the track is slick. But all in all, we had a great lap, and I'm happy I'm doing both this and Pro Mod at this race.”
Qualifying will continue tomorrow will sessions at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. as well as Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Eliminations will begin Monday at 11 a.m.