Hight, Schumacher and Butner lead Friday at Pomona

Robert Hight raced to P1 in Funny Car on Friday at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) lead their respective classes.

Hight, Schumacher and Butner lead Friday at Pomona

Funny Car

Hight powered his Auto Club Chevy Camaro to a performance of 3.942 at 322.19 to take the qualifying lead in Funny Car at the season-opening NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event. Hight, a three-time Winternationals winner, was pleased with the effort right off the trailer.

“If you don’t get down the track on the first run you are usually behind the eight ball the whole weekend,” Hight said. “The whole Funny Car ballgame has changed in the last year. If you looked at Funny Car last year, this 94 I ran would’ve been a national record. As drivers, tuners and teams you have to adapt to that. You see all these teams running 80s last year. We weren’t competitive with the Beckmans and Worshams. At the end of the season last year we didn’t even have a chance to win the championship and that’s uncharted waters for us.”

Hight’s teammate Courtney Force was second in her Traxxas Camaro with a 3.945 at 322.88 and defending world champion Del Worsham was third in his DHL Toyota Camry with a 3.950 at 323.04. Jack Beckman, who won seven times and set the national record four times in a runner-up points finish last season, was fourth overall in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger, posting a Friday best of 3.959 at 308.07.

Top Fuel

Eight-time world champion Schumacher was quickest in Top Fuel with a 3.722 second run at 323.66 mph in his U.S. Army dragster.

“The second run was a good run,” said Schumacher, a two-time winner of the Winternationals. “We got the number one spot and earned a few points and I am proud of the guys. It’s a good start. I am excited and my crew chief [Mike Green] is excited. Everything is looking great. I’ve been blessed to drive a racecar for a living. I think we’ll go faster.”

Schumacher edged Clay Millican for the top spot late in the second round of qualifying. Millican was second with a 3.746 at 324.36 and Richie Crampton sits third in his Lucas Oil dragster with a 3.748 at 322.65. Brittany Force led after the first session with a 3.753 at 319.98 in her Monster Energy dragster.

Pro Stock

Butner was quickest in the new-look Pro Stock category, powering his Jim Butner Auto Chevy Camaro to a 6.606 at 209.43. This season NHRA mandated new rules for the Pro Stock category, which includes electronic fuel injection, 10,500 RPM rev limiters, no hood scoops and shortened wheelie-bars.

“We kinda joked in the staging lanes earlier that the guy that will win this race is someone who can start the car, and stage every round,” Butner said with a smile. “Everybody will slowly get better. I’ve driven a lot of EFI cars and just when you think you have a handle on it, it will shut off. You have to calm down and not get frustrated. These guys are the smartest guys out here and they will figure it out.”

Butner, who is teaming with the KB Racing program, was followed in the qualifying order by his teammate Jason Line, a four-time Winternationals winner, who drove his Summit Racing Camaro to a 6.618 at 209.43. His other teammate, Greg Anderson, posted a 6.647 at 209.43 in his Summit Camaro.

Defending champ Erica Enders is currently ninth in her Mopar Performance/Elite Motorsports Dart with a 6.660 at 208.68.

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday’s eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m.

POMONA, Calif. -- Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying 

Top Fuel -- 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.722 seconds, 323.66 mph; 2. Clay Millican, 3.746, 324.36; 3. Richie Crampton, 3.748, 322.65; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.750, 326.24; 5. Brittany Force, 3.753, 319.98; 6. Antron Brown, 3.782, 315.05; 7. Dave Connolly, 3.791, 291.32; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.798, 319.98; 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.804, 314.46; 10. Morgan Lucas, 3.806, 318.39; 11. Doug Kalitta, 3.817, 321.27; 12. Terry McMillen, 3.844, 313.00.  Not Qualified: 13. Troy Buff, 3.921, 306.05; 14. J.R. Todd, 4.655, 163.29; 15. Steve Faria, 6.014, 104.54; 16. Scott Palmer, 8.001, 82.32.

Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.942, 322.19; 2. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.945, 326.87; 3. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.950, 323.04; 4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.959, 308.07; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.971, 322.58; 6. John Force, Camaro, 4.017, 314.83; 7. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.028, 313.22; 8. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.029, 316.97; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.041, 312.93; 10. Chad Head, Camry, 4.047, 310.34; 11. Gary Densham, Charger, 4.092, 307.79; 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.124, 281.07.  Not Qualified: 13. Bob Bode, 4.133, 283.37; 14. James Campbell, 4.348, 220.76; 15. Tommy Johnson Jr., 4.496, 187.96; 16. John Hale, 5.318, 155.79; 17. Terry Haddock, 9.317, 86.61.

Pro Stock -- 1. Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.606, 209.75; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.618, 209.95; 3. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.641, 208.62; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.645, 208.55; 5. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.647, 209.43; 6. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.651, 208.68; 7. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.653, 208.33; 8. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.660, 208.68; 9. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.669, 208.62; 10. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.684, 207.88; 11. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.684, 207.59; 12. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.686, 207.75.  Not Qualified: 13. V. Gaines, 6.689, 207.11; 14. Matt Hartford, 6.702, 206.61; 15. Aaron Strong, 6.721, 206.29; 16. Vincent Nobile, 16.748, 51.88.


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