NHRA Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta captured his sixth No. 1 qualifier of the season Saturday at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis. John Force (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also earned No. 1s in their respective categories.
Kalitta’s fast pass of 3.758 seconds at 325.45 mph took the top spot in Top Fuel; he’ll face Chris Karamesines in round one of eliminations on Sunday. Richie Crampton is No. 2, followed by Tony Schumacher, J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon.
“We kinda struggled in the first two Countdown races, but we know we can go rounds,” said Kalitta. “We’re real confident about that and now we need to go out there and prove it. We’re real excited for tomorrow. The car is running good, the track is holding up good, the lanes are both pretty even and the conditions are really good. I’m looking forward to it.”
Force earned his sixth No. 1 of the season with his Friday run of 4.022 seconds at 319.52 mph. Force faces Brian Stewart in the opening round of eliminations. Cruz Pedregon, Robert Hight, Courtney Force and Del Worsham round out the top five in Funny Car.
“I choked it last week and gave away 20 points,” said Force. “I got 16 back here during qualifying and I owe that to my team. We are really focused. You can look at history and see where people made mistakes, dropped the ball and fumbled it and you don’t want to live with that. Last week it was just driver error and I screwed up. I did that years ago and made that mistake. There’s four races to go starting tomorrow. I am going to keep my act together and see if I can pull it off.”
Enders-Stevens looks for her third consecutive victory in the Midwest Nationals after claiming her fourth No. 1 of the season with a pass of 6.511 seconds at 213.03 mph; she faces Larry Morgan in the first round. Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualified No. 2, followed by Jason Line, Dave Connolly and Shane Gray.
“We’ve had four really nice runs that we are proud of,” said enders-Stevens. “We’ve got a stout group of players out there and we’ve got our work cut out for us. Our side of the ladder is packed with all of the Gray Motorsports cars. I know I say this all the time, but we’re just going to focus on one round at a time. You can’t get ahead of yourself.”
Krawiec took the PSM No. 1 spot with a pass of 6.810 seconds at 194.60 mph for his ninth No. 1 of the season. He faces Shawn Gann in the first round. Jerry Savoie, Hector Arana Jr., Andrew Hines and Seve Johnson round out the PSM top five.
“Every run you make down the track you learn,” said Krawiec. “Sometimes you go backwards and sometimes you go forwards. We got after it a little harder (today) and we sort of overpowered the track (in the final session). On our first run of the day, we killed it. We picked up a lot early and powered to a 6.810 so I know I have a great motorcycle. Now we have our threshold of what the track will take. We have our window. We know where we need to be and that should make for some great racing.”
Eliminations for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals get underway Sunday 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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