Robert Hight earned the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car after the first two of four rounds of qualifying were run on Friday at the 23rd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways. The other provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 14th of 23 races in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season were Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock).
In Funny Car, Hight set the pace with his 4.194-second pass at 291.57mph in his Auto Club Ford Mustang.
“It's supposed to cool off, so I don't know if that 19 is safe,” said Hight, who praised the track condition. “We knew it was going to be better than last year and that 4.19 was better than anyone ran all throughout last year – and it was probably hotter (today than it was at any point in last year's race) so hat's off to Seattle.”
It would be the sixth No. 1 for Hight this season and the 38th of his career, leaving him just six shy of Top 10 status on the all-time No. 1 qualifiers list after less than six full years of racing.
Also of note, Hight was the first of four consecutive Fords to pace the field – he was trailed by Ashley Force Hood, Bob Tasca and John Force.
In Top Fuel, Kalitta and the Kalitta Motorsports team continued an impressive return to prominence this season with a 3.844-second pass at 313.58mph.
“We were really happy with that,” Kalitta said. “Conditions were really coming to us at the end of the day. Obviously tomorrow (with cooler temps forecast) will be a little more challenging but so far so good for today.”
The No. 1 would be Kalitta's first No. 1 since the 2006 Auto Club Finals and the 29th of his career.
“Don't count your chickens until their hatched,” Kalitta cautioned.
In Pro Stock, the Summit Racing Pontiac GXP team remained hot as Line (6.612, 209.01) followed up teammate Greg Anderson's first win of 2010 at Norwalk on June 27 with what would be his first No. 1 qualifier of 2010.
“I got six bonus points and that's more than I've got since they started the program,” said Line, who believes he'll need to pick up some more bonus points Saturday to remain No. 1. “(The 6.621 pass) is not going to hold up (Saturday). The weather's going to be a lot different and as you know the Pro Stock drivers are affected dramatically by that.”
Qualifying at the NHRA Northwest Nationals concludes with the third and fourth sessions on Saturday when the fields will be set for Sunday's final eliminations.