Force Continues Resurgence In Ohio
But Kalitta topped everyone under the lights, setting the track records on the final pass of the night.
“It was just a good capper to a great night and I’m just real proud of everyone,” Kalitta said. “We are all just real hungry to do well. We’re making great strides and that’s starting to show. We’ve been working real hard on things and we’re getting it narrowed down to where we can continue to run more consistent.”
In Pro Stock, Johnson, the defending world champion, took command in the second qualifying session, running 6.592 at 209.75 in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger. If it holds, it would be the first No. 1 qualifier this season and 29th of his career.
“After the sun went down, the track just got awesome,” said Johnson, who was the No. 1 qualifier at Norwalk in 2012. “Last year we ran really well here and the car just loves this track.”
Mike Edwards managed to break the track speed record in his I AmSecond/Interstate Batteries Chevy Camaro, running 6.601 at 209.92, but Johnson snuck past the current points leader in what was the next to last pair of the second session.
Jeg Coughlin, coming off a win in Chicago, is currently in the third spot, going 6.614 at 208.91 in his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger. With teammate Coughlin also running well, Johnson, who has three wins in 2013, is excited for the remainder of the weekend.
“We’re gaining on (Edwards) a little bit and I think we made some progress (Friday night),” Johnson said. “The last few races we’ve pretty much matched him engine-wise and we’re figuring out some things on the car. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag out for a while.
“It’s going to take consistency. You have to do your job as a driver, but everything has to be perfect in Pro Stock.”
Ray ran a 6.926 at 193.68 on his Sovereign-Star Racing Buell to take the initial top spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Should that run maintain the top spot, it would be the second No. 1 qualifier of 2013 for Ray, who is the most recent event winner in the class.
Steve Johnson, who had the best run in the second qualifying session, went 6.941 at 193.16 on his Suzuki to surge to second. John Hall is currently third on his Viper Motorcycle Company Racing Buell after his pass of 6.593 at 192.96.
Ray has jumped to second in points, winning two of the last three races in the class. If he remains the No. 1 qualifier, it will be the second time in three races that has happened for a rider who continues to build momentum in his breakout season.
“We were surprised that it ran well with the broken valve springs,” Ray said. “At first, we weren’t planning on running the second session, but [team owner] George [Bryce] decided to go for it to gain some data for Saturday morning’s first session, which is expected to have cooler conditions.”