CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 3, 2012) – At another new track on the 2012 American Drag Racing League (ADRL) schedule, Pro Extreme driver Jason Scruggs turned in another impressive performance.
After winning at the ADRL's debut at Bristol Dragway in April, the two-time world champion is off to a fine start at the ADRL's first visit to the incredible zMAX Dragway in Charlotte for Dragstock IX.
Scruggs went 3.677 at 206.67 miles per hour on a rain-soaked Friday, jumping to the No. 1 spot in Pro Extreme during the ADRL's most prestigious event at a track that drew rave reviews across the board.
"This is the nicest facility I've ever been to," Scruggs said. "Hopefully this will turn out as well as Bristol. I'd like to go out and run well every round and hopefully still have that same outcome.
"There's a lot of great fans out there and that's pretty neat to see. I always like racing in this area. It's in the heart of racing country."
Other provisional No. 1 qualifiers include Stan Allen (Pro Nitrous), Alan Pittman (Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5), Eric McKinney (Pro Extreme Motorcycle), Richard Penland (Extreme Pro Stock), Adam Flamholc (Aeromotive Pro Modified) and Travis Harvey (Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman).
Rain wiped away the third qualifying session for a number of classes on Friday.
The third qualifying session for Pro Extreme Motorcycle, Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5, the SuperCar Showdown, Pro Nitrous and Pro Extreme will now start action at 10 a.m. on Saturday at zMAX Dragway, with the fourth and final qualifying session to follow.
Eliminations for Dragstock IX are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.
Tommy D'Aprile trails Scruggs with a 3.706 and Frankie Taylor is currently No. 3 after his 3.713.
Scruggs struggled during the first qualifying session, but made rapid improvements before becoming the only driver on Friday to reach the 3.60s.
"I didn't want to get behind the eight-ball and it ended up running a little better than I thought," Scruggs said.
Stan Allen hasn't been a No. 1 qualifier in Pro Nitrous since 2006, but he's currently on top after two sessions with a 3.905 at 194.97 mph. Randy Weatherford (3.913) and Pat Stoken (3.914) followed closely behind.
"We slowed the car down a little bit and the car liked it. We've got a good hold on it and we're lining up to do well," Allen said.
The Bankston Boyz team has also made significant strides in recent weeks, and Allen praised the job the team has done to make those improvements.
"As far as the team, (team owner) Mike (Bankston) has this deal coming together. Everyone is meshing together and doing their jobs," Allen said. "We've gone through the car front to back and things are coming together."
For the first time in his ADRL career, Richard Penland can say he's a provisional No. 1 qualifier, thanks to his outstanding 4.107 at 176.12 mph. Racing less than an hour from home, Penland was thrilled about his debut performance at zMAX Dragway.
"This just took everything work correctly," Penland said. "We've had good power this season, but everything came together on that run. It was great."
Doug Kirk followed with a 4.110 and both Cary Goforth and Pete Berner ran 4.111, but Penland also had to overcome some adversity after his top engine didn't arrive until early Friday morning.
"The motor came in at 2:30 a.m. and we were panicking about even getting to race," Penland said. "I'm pretty sure a run like that will stand up."
McKinney overcame serious crank problems for a pair of strong passes in PXM, with his 4.119 at 174.71 mph currently holding onto the top spot after two sessions.
That run came with his backup motor, a good sign for the points leader who came to Charlotte with three wins in 2012. Ron Procopio is currently second with a 4.14.
"That's what we were hoping to do right out of the trailer," McKinney said.
McKinney also came away thoroughly impressed with zMAX Dragway.
"This was one of the smoothest tracks I've ever been down," McKinney said. "This place is awesome. I've never been any place like this."
Harvey and Ronnie Davis put on an incredible show in the final qualifying session in Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman, which already has its quickest qualifying field in ADRL history (4.305).
Harvey, who won Dragstock in 2011 in Summit Racing Top Sportsman, put together a marvelous pass in the third session, going 4.016 at 185.23 mph for the quickest and fastest pass in the history of the class.
"This is a great facility and a great track, and I was real happy with that. It was one of the smoothest passes I've made in the car this year. It was a really good run," Harvey said.
"Running that kind of makes we want to try to back it up, but I really want to win. That's my main focus. I'd rather have that winner's trophy than anything else."
Davis finished Friday as the No. 2 qualifier, but his 4.075 and 183.05 mph ended up as world E.T. and speed records in the class, as Harvey did not get a chance to back up his pass.
It was a thrilling moment for Davis, who set the speed record on his second pass and ended up with the E.T. record on his final run of the night.
"I went back to the way I normally race and I'm happy with that," Davis said. "When I don't go right, it's my fault. It's fast over here and you have to go fast to get in. There's some hitters out here for sure."
Flamholc was thrilled with his No. 1 qualifying spot in Aeromotive Pro Modified after running 3.891 at 193.54 mph. If it holds, it will be his first No. 1 qualifier in the ADRL.
Mike Janis jumped Rickie Smith's 3.93 with a 3.902 at 191.76 mph in the final qualifying session, but Flamholc, who flew in from his native Sweden a day early to work on the car, made a near career-best pass moments later.
"We made close to a perfect run under these conditions. I was very happy with that," Flamholc said. "We found a lot of small issues on the car that we were able to fix and it really paid off. I'm really glad for my crew."
Alan Pittman was the only driver in the 3-second zone in Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5 through two qualifying rounds, running a solid 3.981 at 195.65 mph as he tries to close in on his fourth win of 2012.
Chris Holbrook was the No. 1 qualifier in the SuperCar Showdown with a 5.931 at 119.03 mph.
In Pro Junior Dragster, Robert Vogler grabbed the top spot in the 32-car field with a 7.90.