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Robert Hight powered to the Funny Car No. 1 qualifier Saturday at the 32nd annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also earned No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the fourth of six events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
In the final Funny Car qualifying session, Hight made a 3.871-second pass at 332.84 mph in his AAA of Texas Chevrolet Camaro SS to overtake points leader Ron Capps for his eighth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 57th of his career.
“The last few races have been good,” said Hight, who now has three consecutive No. 1 qualifiers. “I wasn’t expecting that run. Jimmy Prock just has a good handle on this car hot or cold. I saw the scoreboard light up down there and I couldn’t believe it ran an .871. It blew me away. That was a back breaker and it was kind of a turning of the tables for the weekend for us. Capps was going to gain some points on us going into race day. As it turned out we gained two on him. It all adds up in the end.”
Hight will race Jim Campbell to open eliminations on Sunday. Qualified second is reigning world champion Capps who ran a 3.872 at 329.58 in his Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. He’ll race former world champion Del Worsham. Jack Beckman holds the third position.
East Texas native Torrence secured the Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier after piloting his Capco Contractors dragster to a 3.682 pass at 327.51 during Friday qualifying that held up through Saturday to earn Torrence his third No. 1 qualifier of the season, 16th of his career and first at his hometown track.
“This is huge to be able to come and perform well here in front of the hometown crowd,” said Torrence who lives in Kilgore, Texas. “We’ve got a lot of fans, a lot of family, a lot of people that we work with, and employees of Capco. To come out here and run well for them, that’s what it’s about. And being able to show the guys that are working hard out there every day that what they’re doing is paying off. We’ve got a really good racecar and it’s something that they can be proud of.
Torrence will face off against Blake Alexander in round one. The winningest driver in Top Fuel history, Tony Schumacher, piloted his U.S. Army dragster to the second qualifying position with a 3.692 at 327.66, earning himself a matchup against Terry Haddock to start eliminations. Three-time and reigning world champion Antron Brown is in third.
In Pro Stock, Butner raced a 6.588 at 208.94 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevrolet Camaro during the second qualifying round on Friday to secure his fifth No. 1 of the season and eighth of his career.
“We have a very good car and I think we should be able to go some rounds tomorrow, but my team has a lot of goals in mind and the main one is to get our three KB cars in the top three of the Pro Stock standings by the end of the year,” Butner said. “We know everyone is going to be fast tomorrow with the cooler conditions, but we know the importance of not trying to overpower the track and getting lane choice because that can be a huge factor on those cold weather days.”
Butner will line up against Shane Tucker to begin eliminations. Butner’s KB Racing teammate and reigning world champion Jason Line qualified in the No. 2 spot with a 6.622 pass at 208.59 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro and will take on Alan Prusiensky.
Krawiec, the Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader, secured his fourth No. 1 of the season and 37th of his career with his 6.860 pass at 196.53 from the first round of qualifying on Friday.
“This weather changes everything because you have to throw everything out the windows from the last few days since they produced some hot and greasy track conditions, and we are expecting much cooler weather tomorrow,” Krawiec said. “Ultimately, it’s about making clean, straight runs here at Texas Motorplex and I feel like I’ve gotten pretty close to getting my chassis where it needs to be and hopefully tomorrow’s conditions makes for some great racing.”
Krawiec will face David Hope in the first round. Reigning world champion Jerry Savoie is in the second spot with a 6.873 pass at 194.35 on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki and will line up with Gunner Courtney. Andrew Hines is third on his Screamin’ Eagle / Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.
Eliminations at the 32nd annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals begins Sunday at 11 a.m. Catch the action live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) at 2 p.m. ET.