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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

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 Racing Series.

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 event.

"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 into Sunday."

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.

NHRA Communications


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