Route 66 Raceway continues to play host to national record times and speeds as two champions put their name in the record books again Saturday during the fourth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. Just a week after he clinched his second consecutive NHRA POWERade Pro Stock world championship, Greg Anderson set the national records for time and speed, running a 6.661-second pass at 207.75 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am. John Force - the current Funny Car points leader - is aiming for his 13th career NHRA world championship. He turned in the quickest pass in Funny Car history with a 4.697 at 325.30 for the 123rd No. 1 qualifying award of his career. Force needs to run a 4.744 pass on Sunday to set the national record and earn the 20-point bonus. Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel) also led qualifying at the $1.8 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event. Anderson set both ends of the national record at Englishtown, N.J. in 2003 before David Connolly ran the quickest pass during the first round Saturday. Connolly went 6.667, but didn't back it up before Anderson laid down quicker numbers, earning the 31st No. 1 qualifying spot of his career. "We've absolutely been thinking about records ever since we got here and saw the forecast," Anderson said. "We only get conditions like this maybe once or twice a year so you have to be ready to take full advantage of it. We got one chance last year in E-town (Englishtown) and this is the first chance we've had since then, really. It sure gets your heart pumping when you see how good it is out there." Force has a 233-point lead over second-place Gary Scelzi, who qualified in the No. 7 spot. Third place driver Del Worsham qualified second after four rounds, but was in the No. 1 spot after the first three qualifying sessions. "That was an important pass because Del Worsham was No. 1 up until that point and he's right behind us in the points," Force said. "If he had jumped up a little bit then he'd have the E.T. record and he'd get the extra 20 points. It still might happen but at least we can try to one-up whatever he does. At this point in the chase, 20 points is big." McClenathan ran to the top of his category with a 4.490 pass at 328.62 in his CARQUEST dragster for his 29th career top qualifier. "This is just awesome for the team," McClenathan said. "[Co-crew chief] John Stewart came back on board two races ago and we're right back to the way we were running before. The guys did a great job. I'm just the lucky guy who gets to wheel the car. When you race under conditions like this you know you can just throw the trailer at it and it will probably stick. That's what we did and the car was perfect. "The NHRA made some rule changes to make us safer and it threw everyone off for a little while but I knew it wouldn't take us long to get right back to the times and speeds we were running before. Sure, the conditions are perfect here, but a 4.4 is a 4.4 no matter how you slice it." Final eliminations are set for 11 a.m. on Sunday.
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Joliet, IL 60433
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