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NHRA FINALS : Dixon sets record in qualifying at Pomona

November 14, 2009|Tim Haddock

Larry Dixon set a track record at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona and took over the lead in the National Hot Rod Assn. top-fuel standings.

Dixon has a one-point lead over Tony Schumacher after recording the fastest top-fuel time in qualifying Friday for the season-ending NHRA Finals. His speed of 318.99 mph was a track record and his time of 3.801 seconds was 0.008 of a second better than Spencer Massey, the second-fastest qualifier.

"The last time I was in Pomona, I didn't race on Sunday," said Dixon, a Van Nuys High graduate and two-time NHRA top-fuel champion. "We definitely got a better start to the weekend. I'm excited to see how it turns out."

Schumacher was third-fastest on the second day of qualifying.

John Force posted the top time in funny car qualifying at 4.060 seconds, 0.009 better than Robert Hight, the leader in the funny car standings and the top qualifier on Thursday.

"They'll run quicker out there," said Force, a 14-time NHRA champion from Yorba Linda. "Right now, there's a lot of focus just trying to get me back in the game. We just haven't done our job all year. Been probably the second-worst season that I've had in my career since I started.

"We're not getting any younger, so it's tougher. I'll take it. It'll be gone tomorrow without a doubt."

Ron Capps was the third-fastest qualifier in funny car at 4.076 seconds.

Mike Edwards, the leader in the pro stock standings, was the fastest qualifier at 6.575 seconds. Allen Johnson was second in pro stock at 6.611 seconds, followed by Rodger Brogdon at 6.621 seconds.

Edwards was asked if he thinks he can improve his time.

"I think I'll have to if I want to stay No. 1," he said.

Edwards added three points to his lead in the pro stock standings by being the top qualifier on the second day. Greg Anderson, the second-place driver in the pro stock standings, was the fourth-fastest qualifier and received no points.

Karen Stoffer held on to the top spot in pro stock motorcycle. Her time of 6.982 seconds from Thursday held up on the second day of qualifying. But she said her time probably won't be the fastest after qualifying today.

"I don't think the 6.98 is going to hold," said Stoffer, a graduate of St. Genevieve High in Panorama City. "I think we are going to definitely have to better ourselves. There's definitely room for me to improve."

Four riders are in the 6.98-second area after two days of qualifying. Andrew Hines is second at 6.986 seconds, Larry Cook is third at 6.987 and Douglas Horne fourth at 6.989.

Hector Arana, the leader in the pro stock motorcycle standings, was the sixth-fastest qualifier.

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sports@latimes.com

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