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VIDEO: Doug Kalitta leads Top Fuel field on Friday in Bristol

Doug Kalitta raced to the top of the sheet in a wild Top Fuel session at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
14 Jun 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Race coverage
Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta drove his Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster to the top of the field with a time of 3.755-second and a speed of 324.67 mph during the second qualifying session at Bristol Dragway. 

Steve Torrence took over the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel and it appeared the matter was settled early during the second qualifying session at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Not so fast, said seemingly everyone else. The No. 1 qualifier baton was handed off again and again on Friday evening during ideal conditions until it finally ended up in the hands of Kalitta. 

Torrence, to his credit, opened the session in his Capco Contractors dragster on the back of a 3.768-second pass at 326.00-mph. He stayed No. 1 for all of two minutes before Leah Pritchett snatched it away in her bid for her first pole position since the Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in July of 2018. Her hold on the No. 1 spot was also short lived. 

Kalitta took it over for good a few moments later by just .002-second. He is looking for his first pole position of the season. He earned his first victory of the year at the season opener, the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona. Since then he has not reached a final, though he has a 3-2 round record in the past two races and is second in points – perhaps making the Mac Tools team best poised to take down Torrence. 

Mike Salinas also made a strong run in his Scrappers Racing and Alan Johnson-tuned machine. He ran a 3.774 to qualify No. 4. Richie Crampton is the No. 8 qualifier, holding down the quick half of the field with a 3.807, while the seven drivers ahead of him are all in the 3.7-second range. 

The third qualifying session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern. You can catch it on NHRA.tv. The next television window is at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.