Vincent Nobile earned his first No. 1 qualifier in the Pro Stock division for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also earned No. 1 qualifiers.
Nobile, who will face Lewis Worden in the first round of eliminations on Sunday, held on to the top spot following four rounds of qualifying with his pass of 6.548 seconds (211.03 mph). “My team and I are ecstatic for our first No. 1,” Nobile said. “The car is just running really good. Like I said yesterday and today it performed just as well. Honestly, today we were No. 1 for the first session and Q 4 I actually goofed up a little bit with the burnout, which we might have even been No. 1 for that session as well. We still took the pole position for the weekend, so we’re happy about that and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Jason Line, Greg Anderson, Allen Johnson and Mike Edwards complete the Pro Stock top five.
Langdon earned his second consecutive No. 1 with his fast pass of 3.807 seconds (324.12 mph); he’ll be up against Chris “The Greek” Karamesines in the opening round of Top Fuel eliminations. “We made a pretty good run on Friday night and got acclimated to a hotter racing surface today,” said Langdon. “I think tomorrow will be a lot like it was today. We have some work to do to run better in the warmer weather, but (teammate) Khalid alBalooshi made a couple of nice runs today that give us some good info. Sheikh Khalid (Al Thani, owner) built this team around winning, and we’re hoping to achieve that in a short amount of time. We’re heading in the right direction.”
Spencer Massey, Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta and Brandon Bernstein round out the top five in Top Fuel.
Wilkerson put in a strong qualifying performance with his Friday pass of 4.048 seconds (309.70 mph), earning his first No. 1 of the season and 17th of his career. “Starting the Countdown with a couple of points and a No. 1 qualifier is a big step in the right direction,” said Wilkerson. “You go into the Countdown in 10th place, and there’s nowhere to go but up. We’re real excited to be here. I told my guys when we started this deal that we need to win two rounds per weekend. All those rounds will add up to where they’ll have to contend with us in Pomona.”
Wilkerson goes against Todd Lesenko in the first round on Sunday. The rest of the top five in Funny Car: Jack Beckman, Mike Neff, Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon.
Hines will have a bye in the first round of PSM eliminations as only 15 bikes participated in qualifying. His fast pass of 6.851 seconds (195.82 mph) put him ahead of Ed Krawiec, Hector Arana Jr., Hector Arana and Matt Smith.
“I have never had a planned bye run in the first round,” Hines said. “I’ve had opponents break before staging a couple of times and the starter would walk over and give you the No. 1 finger. To actually know going into tomorrow that we have a bye run is kind of nice. It’s unfortunate for the class that we didn’t have a full field, but to have the chance to learn for a tune-up first round and take a stab at something that we may not try first round on Sunday is going to be beneficial to us.”
Sunday’s eliminations begin at noon ET. Follow this weekend’s action at www.nhra.com and on the NHRA Twitter page.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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