ENNIS, Texas - Kenny Bernstein is looking to make his final race
outside of Dallas worth his while. The Texas native took a good first step
on Friday, earning the provisional No. 1 qualifying position at the 17th
annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec at the Texas
Bernstein has yet to win a Top Fuel event at his home track, and has
picked up just one victory in the Funny Car class. He drove his Budweiser
King Dragster to a 4.612-second run at 322.69 mph to pace the category.
Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at noon and 3 p.m.
Tony Pedregon and Ron Krisher led their respective categories at the
$1.9 million race, the 21st of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade
Drag Racing Series.
The track opened in 1986 and Bernstein has earned one Funny Car victory
and three No. 1 qualifying spots. If the time remains the quickest, it
will be his fifth top qualifier of the season, and 66th of his
After the first session of the day, Bernstein was not qualified for the
16-car field that will race on Sunday. Surprisingly, his conservative run
in he second session was good enough for the top spot.
"In all honesty, I never thought the 61 was going to hold.
Sometimes it happens," Bernstein said. "I was really surprised.
That's what we had to do, get in the show. Tim (Richards, crew chief) made
a great call and did the right thing by making the car run in the 60s.
Tomorrow is going to be hot and sunny, so we needed to make a good run
(Friday night) that would put us well in the show."
Pedregon is looking to continue his recent hot streak. Pedregon has won
the last three races and is closing in on points leader John Force. With
six wins overall this season, Pedregon has moved up the point standings
and is only 18 points away from Force - less than one round of racing.
Looking to make it four consecutive victories, Pedregon topped the
Funny Car class with a 4.789 at 323.50 in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang.
If he can hang on to the top spot, it will be his seventh No. 1 qualifier
of the season.
"There were 4.70 conditions out there," Pedregon said.
"The first session threw us off because it was just one of those
sessions. I was beginning to think the track was a little suspect. Tonight
the first car went out there and ran a 4.89 and everybody just followed
with quicker times. When the conditions are good, this track really
produces some good results. I noticed (crew chief, John) Medlen keep
reading the conditions and making a few changes as the other teams
continued to improve."
The Texas Motorplex may be the only all-concrete quarter-mile on the
NHRA schedule, but it is also known to have a narrow groove. Knowing he is
trying to catch up to an 11-time champion helped Pedregon stay in the
middle of his lane.
"I just picked out a spot and drove the car to it," Pedregon
said. "The track has a really narrow groove, and I just tried to keep
the car in it. It felt like it was really moving around, but the crew said
the car was going straight. I told them I was working hard to make it go
straight. It felt like I was doing a lot of driving to keep it in the
groove. The one thing I am keeping in mind is what John is capable of. It
is one thing to catch him and another thing to pass him. I am glad Medlen
is staying aggressive. We are going to work for it instead of letting it
come to us."
Krisher went 6.850 at 201.88 in his Eagle One Chevy Cavalier to lead
the Pro Stock category. Krisher has seven top qualifiers going into this
"Some good air came around and there was two-hundredths in the
track this evening that wasn't there (during the early session),"
Krisher said. "The car got out of the groove and it rattled a little
bit on that run. It wasn't perfect. We left a little bit out there. I had
a good 60-foot time, but then (the car) went left. I tried to get it back
over, but I couldn't find the groove. The thing that saved the run is that
the NHRA has done a good job with the track prep by putting enough VHT
(traction compound) down and fortunately the car stuck."
Krisher has one victory this season and is looking to double that this
weekend. He also has the longest current qualifying streak in the Pro
Stock ranks. He has been in the top 16 on Sunday during the last 67 races.
He wants to make it 68.
"We got a little lost in Chicago (the previous national event) and
the car wasn't producing any top-end speed," Krisher said. "The
car is fixed and now the speed is back. Continuing this qualifying streak
is very important to me. This will be three years straight if we can keep
it going. I would be devastated if we didn't qualify. I think we're as
fast as anybody out here in good air."
ENNIS, Texas -- Results Friday after qualifying for the 17th annual
O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec at Texas Motorplex,
21st of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Kenny Bernstein, 4.612 seconds, 322.69 mph; 2. Darrell
Russell, 4.615, 320.97; 3. Tony Schumacher, 4.621, 326.67; 4. Andrew
Cowin, 4.627, 323.74; 5. Clay Millican, 4.634, 314.57; 6. Cory
McClenathan, 4.651, 314.46; 7. Larry Dixon, 4.672, 321.42; 8. Rhonda
Hartman-Smith, 4.693, 309.06; 9. David Grubnic, 4.726, 260.19; 10. Jim
Cavalieri, 4.730, 307.37; 11. Jim Head, 4.750, 295.17; 12. Scott Weis,
4.798, 269.05; 13. Doug Herbert, 4.818, 266.90; 14. Mike Smith, 4.842,
307.37; 15. Mitch King, 4.860, 262.23; 16. Scott Palmer, 4.924, 253.44.
Funny Car -- 1. Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.789, 323.50; 2. Bruce
Sarver, Toyota Celica, 4.798, 320.39; 3. Whit Bazemore, Pontiac Firebird,
4.817, 322.92; 4. Del Worsham, Firebird, 4.823, 319.82; 5. Frank Pedregon,
Firebird, 4.853, 309.70; 6. Scotty Cannon, Firebird, 4.872, 315.01; 7. Bob
Gilbertson, Firebird, 4.891, 312.50; 8. Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.903,
317.57; 9. Johnny Gray, Firebird, 4.910, 312.06; 10. John Force, Mustang,
4.957, 299.80; 11. Tommy Johnson Jr., Chevy Camaro, 4.957, 264.70; 12.
Dale Creasy Jr., Firebird, 4.997, 287.08; 13. Todd Paton, Firebird, 5.180,
282.92; 14. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird, 5.326, 198.54; 15. Ron Capps, Camaro,
5.823, 161.26; 16. Dean Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T, 7.215, 117.69.
Pro Stock -- 1. Ron Krisher, Chevy Cavalier, 6.850, 201.92; 2. Jeg
Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.854, 201.47; 3. Warren Johnson, Pontiac Grand Am,
6.855, 201.79; 4. Brad Jeter, Cavalier, 6.862, 201.07; 5. Jim Yates, Grand
Am, 6.865, 200.49; 6. Kurt Johnson, Cavalier, 6.866, 202.47; 7. Greg
Anderson, Cavalier, 6.870, 201.43; 8. Gene Wilson, Dodge Neon R/T, 6.870,
201.11; 9. Tom Lee, Neon R/T, 6.875, 201.29; 10. Tom Hammonds, Cavalier,
6.877, 200.62; 11. Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.877, 200.93; 12. Larry Nance,
Cavalier, 6.882, 200.98; 13. Tom Martino, Grand Am, 6.883, 200.31; 14.
Mike Edwards, Cavalier, 6.886, 200.40; 15. George Marnell, Grand Am,
6.888, 199.64; 16. Steve Schmidt, Grand Am, 6.891, 200.26.