Ron Capps became the first Funny Car driver to dip into the three-second bracket at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois on Saturday during qualifying for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries. Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) topped their respective fields.
Capps was the first of four drivers to dip into the three-second category with a fast pass of 3.988 seconds (320.28 mph), joined by Bob Tasca III (3.988 seconds), Jack Beckman (3.993 seconds) and Del Worsham (3.999 seconds).
“I really didn’t think it would hold since we ran so early in the session,” said Capps, who faces Bob Bode in the first round of eliminations. “It was a great run. I thought (Matt) Hagan or (Jack) Beckman would go quicker than that, but we’ll take it. I’ve been hit or miss at this place, so maybe we can get one tomorrow. It’s great for the fans to have two night sessions. Funny Cars racing at night; it doesn’t get a lot better than that.”
Lucas claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season in Top Fuel with a track record time of 3.737 seconds (322.19 mph). He’ll face Terry McMillen in the first round. Tony Schumacher and Bob Vandergriff qualified second and third, respectively.
“This was really big for our team,” said Lucas. “I was thinking while I was sitting in the car before the run that I would be happy with anything in the 3.7s because of the way we had been running lately and also because our car doesn’t always respond well to night time tune-ups. Afterwards, we had to see if it would stick. And when Tony (Schumacher) made his run, I was sweating it out, especially when (announcer) Alan Reinhart paused before giving out the last digit. We’ve made a ton of changes to our car, and hopefully things are starting to turn around for us. I have to thank everyone on our team for all their hard work and great efforts.”
Edwards earned his 10th No. 1 qualifier of the season with a track record performance of 6.542 seconds (210.64 mph). Teammates Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualified second and third in the Pro Stock field.
“We made some good calls and made another good run and it was a great job by all my guys,” said Edwards. “It was a phenomenal job by the guys at the engine shop. We came here with a totally different combination and it looks like it runs really good. It’s so hard to do that in this class and to continue to do it. I can’t believe that’s 51 number ones for me.”
Smith earned his second No. 1 of 2013 with a 6.908-second pass (193.82 mph); he faces Eddie Krawiec in the first round. Scotty Pollacheck qualified second, while Hector Arana qualified third.
“We’ve had top speed on every run, but we needed the 60-foot times to go with it,” said Smith. “This track is so good that we were bogging the bike, but I made a lot of changes to both my bike and (wife) Angie’s bike for the last run, and we ended up 1 and 2 for that session.
“This track has a lot of teeth, and you need to get after it,” Smith continued. “You need to make a lot of changes, like gear and fuel, to take advantage of it. John [Hall, teammate] won last weekend, and I’ve been running really good lately, so we decided to work on Angie’s bike and try to see if we can get her in the top 10. She has a fast bike, and she made a good run that time. I’m excited about our whole deal.”
Eliminations for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals get underway Sunday, June 30th at 11 a.m. CT. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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