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Saturday, May 17, 2008
Pro Stock star Johnson qualifies first for NHRA-record 138th time

Associated Press

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Pro Stock star Warren Johnson added another No. 1 qualifying performance to his career stats, picking up his NHRA-record 138th Saturday in the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Johnson powered his Pontiac GXP to a track-record performance of 6.674 seconds at 207.43 mph for the top spot, his second of the season and third at the track. Defending event and POWERade Series champion Jeg Coughlin failed to qualify in his Chevy Cobalt, ending a 70-race qualifying streak dating to 2004.

Tony Schumacher and Mike Neff also were No. 1 qualifiers in the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

In Funny Car, Neff's run in his Ford Mustang of 4.783 at 321.04 from Friday was enough to stay in the top spot and give the rookie his first No. 1 qualifying position of his career. Defending event winner and NHRA legend John Force qualified in the seventh spot, while points leader Tim Wilkerson sat No. 4 in the field.

Defending POWERade Series champion Schumacher piloted his dragster to a 4.502 at 327.59 and the No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel. It's Schumacher's second No. 1 qualifier of the season, 49th of his career and third at Bristol Dragway. Defending event winner Brandon Bernstein qualified in the sixth spot, while second-place driver Antron Brown qualified fourth.