ST. LOUIS, MO. (Sept. 23, 2016) The second race in the Countdown for the championship is underway under the arch. All teams are bringing their A-game, even the ones not in the fight for the championship. With hot track conditions the cars made straight and narrow passes down the racetrack.
Every dragster in the top 12 made a run of 3.80 or quicker. With bonus points up for grabs for the three quickest runs of each qualifying session, teams and drivers are under pressure to make sure every run counts. Between the first two qualifying sessions the order changed drastically as the track cooled and crew chiefs found their groove. Richie Crampton nabbed the top spot at the end of the day with a 3.733 at 323.50 mph run. Doug Kalitta, Tony Schumacher, J.R. Todd, Leah Pritchett, Shawn Langdon, Brittany Force, and Clay Millican rounded out the top 8 going into the last two sessions on Saturday.
Robert Hight was able to hold on to the top spot from the get-go despite making two separate runs that got him there. His first was a 3.941; his second was a speedy 3.893 at 328.38. Hight was the only driver in Funny Car to make it in the 3.80s. Jack Beckman, Tim Wilkerson, Matt Hagan, Courtney Force, Del Worsham, Ron Capps, and Alexis Dejoria are in the top half of the field and will be looking to take the pole away from Robert Hight tomorrow.
KB Racing powerhouse, Greg Anderson took the top spot away from Shane Gray in Q2. His 6.607 was just two-thousandths better than Gray’s 6.609. Since summer began, other teams have been making gains to match the dominating performance that KB Racing has brought to the table since the start of the EFI program at the beginning of this year. In Q2, Alex Laughlin and Vincent Nobile ran 6.610 and 6.611 respectively. That just goes to show how close the performance is now in Pro Stock. Bo Butner, Jason Line, Allen Johnson, and Drew Skillman close out the top 8 going into the last two sessions of qualifying on Saturday.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Carolina Nationals winner, Chip Ellis, came out swinging in Q1 with a 6.850 and held on to the top spot through Q2. Hector Arana showed to be making gains on his Buell with a 6.880. Jerry Savoie ran a 6.881, making the two wheel class nearly as tight knit as Pro Stock. Eddie Krawiec, Angelle Sampey, Andrew Hines, Karen Stoffer, and Cory Reed round out the top 8 with two sessions left on Saturday.