Winston champion Kenny Bernstein took the No. 1 Fun
SOMONA, Calif. (AP) _ Winston champion Kenny Bernstein took the No. 1 Funny Car position in the final round of qualifying Saturday for the National Hot Rod Association California Nationals at Sears Point International Raceway.
Top Fuel racer Gene Snow and Pro Stock champion Bob Glidden lead their respective categories for the $575,650 inaugural event.
Bernstein drove his Buick Regatta to a track-record elapsed-time of 5.405 seconds at 255.17 mph in the final round of qualifying to take the No. 1 spot. John Force, driving an Olds Firenza, fell to second with his best time, 5.435 seconds at 270.92 mph.
Mike Dunn ran his Olds Cutlass to the top speed of the event, 276.49 mph, but is in sixth place with his elapsed time, 5.477 seconds.
″We changed a few things today. We added more power to the engine and added more weight to the clutch,″ Bernstein said. ″We were gambling for low e.t. and we did it.″
Snow led the Top Fuel field with a track-record time of 5.139 seconds at 268.57 mph. Defending Winston champion Dick LaHaie was second with a time of 5.209 seconds at 272.89 mph. Eddie Hill posted the top speed of the event, 277.09 mph.
″We haven’t run very consisently here,″ Snow said. ″Sunday, we will race a little more conservatively. Today, we were going for the low elapsed time. Sunday, we’ll go for the win.″
Glidden held onto the No. 1 spot by driving his Ford Thunderbird to a track-record time of 7.353 seconds at 189.19 mph. Jerry Eckman, driving a Pontiac Firebird, was second with a time of 7.405 seconds but ran the top speed of the event, 190.55 mph.
″We’re running pretty well here,″Glidden said. ″But the field is tight, so Sunday, it’ll be anyone’s race.″
Single-round eliminations will be held Sunday.