MADISON, Ill. - For the first time since the 1999 U.S. Nationals, Larry
Dixon will not be racing on Sunday. The Top Fuel points leader failed to
qualify on Saturday at the sixth annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals at
Gateway International Raceway.
Dixon is the winner of seven national events this season and has earned
the No. 1 qualifying position six times. After four qualifying sessions,
Dixon failed to make the 16-car field.
Andrew Cowin, Scotty Cannon, Jim Yates, and Angelle Savoie led their
respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the 12th of 23
events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Dixon has such a large point lead in the standings that even if
second-place Kenny Bernstein wins the race, Dixon would still have a
"Fortunately, we still have the points lead," Dixon said.
"But we can never have too big of a lead in the points. I'm
thoroughly disappointed because we are not going to be racing tomorrow.
Everyone worked very hard but we just didn't get it done.
"We had four qualifying runs and this is the NHRA, and we don't
have provisionals. If we can't get it done in four runs, we don't deserve
Cowin earned his second career No. 1 qualifying position with a 4.635
pass at 319.75 in the NY Yankee Dragster. Cowin's first top qualifier came
at the season opening Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., in February. The
team has won just won round, however, compiling a 1-10 record in Top Fuel
"The (old) tire really picked on this dragster," Cowin said.
"This car has a lot of horsepower and the new tire and our crew chief
Mike Green are really helping. Our crew is doing a fantastic job and
hopefully we can put together four good runs tomorrow and get a win.
"It's going to be hot tomorrow and I think low to mid 4.70s will
get the job done. We're hoping to be more consistent. All we need is four
runs. That's only one mile to a win."
Cannon drove his Oakley Pontiac Firebird to a 4.964-second run at
302.14 seconds to become the No. 1 qualifier in the Funny Car category for
the first time in his career. Cannon, the 1999 Rookie of the Year, has yet
to earn a victory, and is not ready to celebrate this milestone either.
"We've had a good car all year but we have missed
opportunities," Cannon said. "My hat is off to this team and to
(crew chief) Mike Neff for making all the right calls. It feels good, but
I've been the No. 1 qualifier during my Pro Mod career and if there is one
thing I have learned, it's not to celebrate early.
"The No. 16 guy can win just as easily as the No. 1 guy. The trick
here is just getting down the track. So I am trying to stay in the middle
of the road. The time to celebrate is Sunday night."
Yates continued his qualifying streak, earning the No. 1 spot for the
fifth consecutive race, and sixth of the season. Yates drove his
SplitFire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.848 pass at 200.59 to pace the Pro
Stock category. The time was a track record. This is the 27th
time Yates has gone into eliminations with the quickest time in
"The track is hot. It's very slick out there," Yates said.
"We are happy to qualify No. 1 again, but we didn't come here to
qualify at the top, we came here to win."
Savoie earned her 28th career No. 1 qualifier and fourth of
the season with a track record elapsed time run of 7.171 at 187.05 on her
CVEC Suzuki to lead the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
I love this race track," Savoie said. "I don't remember it
being this smooth. Anytime you don't have to worry about the bumps and
dips or grooves, that allows me to concentrate on just taking a smooth,
straight trip down the track.
"As far as the performance on this CVEC Suzuki, I really don't
understand why we are doing as well as we are. The competition is awesome
and I would prefer to dominate and win all of the races, but it's more
exciting having so many good competitors."
Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
MADISON, Ill. -- First-round pairings for professional eliminations
Sunday for the Sixth annual Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway
International Raceway, the 12th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA
POWERade Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying,
which ended Saturday.
Top Fuel -- 1. Andrew Cowin, 4.635 seconds, 319.75 mph vs. 16. Chris
Karamesines, 5.018, 278.63; 2. Doug Herbert, 4.653, 299.73 vs. 15. Bruce
Litton, 4.951, 287.84; 3. Tony Schumacher, 4.718, 313.07 vs. 14. Mitch
King, 4.905, 234.25; 4. Doug Kalitta, 4.754, 309.49 vs. 13. Darrell
Russell, 4.872, 282.36; 5. Paul Romine, 4.788, 299.20 vs. 12. Yuichi
Oyama, 4.862, 299.20; 6. Clay Millican, 4.802, 308.78 vs. 11. Rhonda
Hartman-Smith, 4.853, 249.26; 7. David Grubnic, 4.804, 253.61 vs. 10.
Kenny Bernstein, 4.839, 262.44; 8. Cory McClenathan, 4.817, 289.76 vs. 9.
Melanie Troxel, 4.830, 298.73.
Funny Car -- 1. Scotty Cannon, Pontiac Firebird, 4.964, 302.14 vs. 16.
Bob Gilbertson, Firebird, 5.218, 282.90; 2. Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro,
4.969, 303.37 vs. 15. Todd Paton, Camaro, 5.181, 280.19; 3. Del Worsham,
Firebird, 4.977, 311.85 vs. 14. Bruce Sarver, Toyota Celica, 5.163,
284.09; 4. Gary Densham, Ford Mustang, 4.989, 294.88 vs. 13. Tim
Wilkerson, Firebird, 5.106, 289.88; 5. John Lawson, Firebird, 4.991,
295.40 vs. 12. Whit Bazemore, Firebird, 5.060, 299.86; 6. John Force,
Mustang, 4.991, 296.18 vs. 11. Tony Pedregon, Mustang, 5.059, 298.21; 7.
Johnny Gray, Firebird, 4.998, 309.20 vs. 10. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird,
5.054, 286.19; 8. Frank Pedregon, Firebird, 5.029, 295.21 vs. 9. Dale
Creasy Jr., Firebird, 5.048, 297.09.
Pro Stock -- 1. Jim Yates, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.848, 200.59 vs. 16.
Jamie Yates, Grand Am, 6.925, 198.90; 2. Ron Krisher, Chevy Cavalier,
6.874, 201.01 vs. 15. Tom Hammonds, Cavalier, 6.923, 199.52; 3. George
Marnell, Grand Am, 6.885, 199.20 vs. 14. Mark Osborne, Grand Am, 6.918,
200.00; 4. Mark Whisnant, Cavalier, 6.890, 200.38 vs. 13. Larry Nance,
Cavalier, 6.913, 199.35; 5. Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.893, 200.44 vs.
12. Tom Lee, Dodge Neon R/T, 6.911, 199.49; 6. Arturo Delgado, Grand Am,
6.895, 199.61 vs. 11. Darrell Alderman, Neon R/T, 6.908, 200.14; 7. Troy
Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.896, 200.23 vs. 10. Greg Anderson, Cavalier, 6.905,
200.35; 8. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.897, 199.58 vs. 9. Bruce Allen, Grand
Am, 6.900, 199.23.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Angelle Savoie, Suzuki, 7.171, 187.05 vs.
16. Sam Hurwitz, Suzuki, 7.399, 182.82; 2. Matt Hines, Suzuki, 7.209,
187.18 vs. 15. Fred Camarena, Suzuki, 7.388, 181.76; 3. Shawn Gann,
Suzuki, 7.223, 190.14 vs. 14. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.387, 183.59; 4.
Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.255, 186.28 vs. 13. Michael Phillips, Suzuki,
7.364, 179.90; 5. Antron Brown, Suzuki, 7.263, 185.82 vs. 12. Thomas
Miceli, Suzuki, 7.362, 180.55; 6. Geno Scali, Kawasaki, 7.297, 186.30 vs.
11. Mike Berry, Suzuki, 7.355, 185.26; 7. Reggie Showers, Suzuki, 7.305,
188.07 vs. 10. Chris Reuter, Suzuki, 7.336, 182.62; 8. John Smith, Suzuki,
7.319, 186.48 vs. 9. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.323, 182.90.