Cowin, Pedregon and Krisher Have Top
Qualifying Spots at O'Reilly Fall Nationals
By NHRA Communications
ENNIS, Texas - Andrew Cowin would gladly trade in the
No. 1 qualifying position that he earned Saturday for a win on Sunday
during the 17th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by
Castrol Syntec at the Texas Motorplex.
Tony Pedregon and Ron Krisher also will lead their
respective categories into tomorrow's 11 a.m. eliminations at the $1.9
million race, the 21st of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag
Cowin picked up his fourth top qualifying position of
the season with a 4.550-second run at 321.19 mph in the NY Yankee
Dragster. The 22-year-old Australian however, has yet to win a national
"Getting the No. 1 spot for the fourth time is good
and it gives us something to work off of for Sunday," Cowin said.
"But that doesn't mean we are going to get any breaks on race day. We
need to be consistent and make four more good runs."
After a slow first half of the season, Cowin has picked
up steam, qualifying in the top half of the field in the last 11 races.
His run Saturday was his third top qualifying effort during that stretch.
"We dropped a cylinder early in the run," said
Cowin, who is 0-for-3 in career finals, his last coming at St. Louis
earlier this season. "Otherwise, we really should have run a little
quicker. This team has been more consistent in the last two months and I
think we are due a win."
Pedregon topped the Funny Car class with a 4.789 pass at
323.50 in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to pick up his seventh No. 1
spot of the season and 17th of his career. With the qualifying
points allotted, Pedregon cut John Force's lead from 18 to 13 points.
Force, going for his 12th Funny Car title, is leading the
standings. Force qualified in the No. 7 spot with a run of 4.854 at 315.34
in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.
"I'd rather be 13 points ahead of him, but at least
we ended up on opposite sides of the ladder so we wouldn't face each other
until the finals," Pedregon said. "We just need to stay away
from each other."
Pedregon is coming off three consecutive victories and
is looking to become only the fifth Funny Car driver in NHRA history to
record four or more straight wins. He would join Force, Kenny Bernstein,
Cruz Pedregon, and Don Prudhomme in that category. More importantly to
him, Pedregon can move into first place of the Funny Car standings with a
victory on Sunday. Pedregon is seeking his first Funny Car championship
and only two races remain after Sunday.
"We came here knowing that we had to absolutely
qualify for the race," Pedregon said. "Earning the top qualifier
is just the icing on the cake. This car hasn't ceased to amaze me. No
matter what the conditions have been, hot, cold or whatever, the car goes
quick on every run.
"I really like the attitudes of (crew chiefs) John
Medlen and Dickie Venables. They are not going to ease up."
Krisher went 6.850 at 201.88 in his Eagle One Chevy Cavalier to lead the
Pro Stock category. It is the eighth No. 1 of the season for Krisher and
13th of his career. Krisher has one victory this season, and
four in his career.
"The car is running real good right now,"
Krisher said. "We struggled for a couple of races and now I think we
are back on track. We made some weight changes. We had to change the
center of gravity on the car. We're pretty excited where we are at going
ENNIS, Texas -- First-round pairings for professional
eliminations Sunday for the 17th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented
by Castrol Syntec at Texas Motorplex, the 21st 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, 4.550 seconds, 323.74 mph
vs. 16. Scott Weis, 4.798, 269.05; 2. Doug Herbert, 4.595, 308.32 vs. 15.
Mike Smith, 4.793, 311.20; 3. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 4.608, 318.24 vs. 14.
Jim Head, 4.750, 295.17; 4. Larry Dixon, 4.611, 324.20 vs. 13. Jim
Cavalieri, 4.721, 307.37; 5. Kenny Bernstein, 4.612, 322.69 vs. 12. John
Smith, 4.720, 314.79; 6. Darrell Russell, 4.615, 320.97 vs. 11. David
Grubnic, 4.662, 318.80; 7. Tony Schumacher, 4.621, 326.67 vs. 10. Cory
McClenathan, 4.651, 314.46; 8. Doug Kalitta, 4.625, 325.73 vs. 9. Clay
Millican, 4.632, 314.57.
Funny Car -- 1. Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.789,
323.50 vs. 16. Todd Paton, Pontiac Firebird, 5.180, 282.92; 2. Bruce
Sarver, Toyota Celica, 4.798, 320.39 vs. 15. Dale Creasy Jr., Firebird,
4.997, 293.06; 3. Whit Bazemore, Firebird, 4.817, 322.92 vs. 14. Dean
Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T, 4.954, 293.44; 4. Del Worsham, Firebird, 4.823,
319.82 vs. 13. Bob Bode, Firebird, 4.932, 305.18; 5. Frank Pedregon,
Firebird, 4.853, 309.70 vs. 12. Johnny Gray, Firebird, 4.910, 312.06; 6.
Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.854, 320.97 vs. 11. Bob Gilbertson, Firebird,
4.891, 312.50; 7. John Force, Mustang, 4.854, 321.88 vs. 10. Scotty
Cannon, Firebird, 4.872, 315.01; 8. Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro, 4.867, 313.69
vs. 9. Tommy Johnson Jr., Camaro, 4.870, 313.91.
Pro Stock -- 1. Ron Krisher, Chevy Cavalier, 6.850,
201.92 vs. 16. Steve Schmidt, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.891, 200.26; 2. Jeg
Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.854, 201.47 vs. 15. George Marnell, Grand Am, 6.888,
199.64; 3. Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.855, 201.79 vs. 14. Mike Edwards,
Cavalier, 6.886, 200.40; 4. Brad Jeter, Cavalier, 6.862, 201.07 vs. 13.
Tom Martino, Grand Am, 6.883, 200.35; 5. Kurt Johnson, Cavalier, 6.865,
202.47 vs. 12. Larry Nance, Cavalier, 6.882, 200.98; 6. Jim Yates, Grand
Am, 6.865, 200.49 vs. 11. Tom Hammonds, Cavalier, 6.877, 200.62; 7. Greg
Anderson, Cavalier, 6.870, 201.43 vs. 10. Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.877,
200.93; 8. Gene Wilson, Dodge Neon R/T, 6.870, 201.11 vs. 9. Tom Lee, Neon
R/T, 6.875, 201.29.