SONOMA, Calif. – Track records went down faster than Napa Valley wine Friday at the dragstrip in Sonoma.
All eight records – for elapsed time and mph – were broken across the four professional classes on a cool early evening in the Sonoma wine country.
The fastest of the fast Friday were Doug Kalitta in Top Fuel, Cruz Pedregon in Funny Car, Allen Johnson in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
California native Pedregon wasn't sure the Sonoma track had any records in it, but, boy, was he wrong.
"You know what's weird, I walked the track yesterday, and it didn't look all that good," Pedregon said. "It reminded me of Baylands Raceway (in Freemont, Calif.). The old track there is scarred and beat up, but it held some good runs. This track, maybe it's the air up here. What do you guys think?"
Conditions were terrific, as Pedregon's lap was 4.028 seconds at 307.30 mph and lowered the track record for ET. Ron Capps, who was provisional No. 3, broke the track mark for mph with his run of 4.046 seconds at 317.57 mph.
"It was nice to be able to run towards the back," Pedregon said of his order in Q2. "Every time I listened to the PA, there would be some kind of record, so we knew the track was pretty good. We made a last-minute adjustment and kind of pushed the envelope a little bit, and that made the difference.
"I was thinking it was going to go or smoke the tires. But it hung on."
Pedregon joked that he couldn't see most of the run, as the sun was setting in drivers' eyes during the session.
"It was sure nice to get there in a hurry," Pedregon said. "That thing set me back in the seat. It's just fun to drive when they do that."
Kalitta broke Antron Brown's three-year-old ET record with a lap of 3.785 seconds at 321.65 mph to lead a 1-2 sweep by Kalitta Racing. Teammate David Grubnic was second with a pass of 3.790 at 318.02 mph.
"It feels great," said Kalitta, whose last No. 1 qualifier was at Brainerd in 2010. "We definitely always like coming to Sonoma here. It's beautiful country, and my car has run good here in the past. ... I have to admit, it was one of the best speed sessions that we've had in a while."
Tony Schumacher (3.792 at 321.19 mph) was third, though Spencer Massey broke the track speed record with his pass of 3.811 seconds at 324.90 mph.
Johnson, interestingly, did not set any records Friday, though he was still atop the Pro Stock class. Johnson and Mike Edwards ran the same ET, with Edwards getting the record because his lap of 6.527 seconds came first.
Johnson got the provisional No. 1 based on a higher speed, 212.06 mph to Edwards' 211.53. Provisional No. 3 Greg Anderson actually set the track speed record with his pass of 6.539 seconds at 212.59 mph.
"Anytime you go anywhere and be No.1, it's awesome," Johnson said. "If this holds it will be four in a row for the Mopar Dodge Avenger. We've got a good package here, not quite as good as we should be yet. We've still got a few rounds to dial the Hemi in, and that's what we're going to do.
"Tonight the air was exactly the same as it was for the first run. Tonight we just made a little better run. Tomorrow at noon could be the best atmospheric conditions we'll have - not by a lot, but enough."
Krawiec lowered the ET record on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson with a lap of 6.801 seconds. But it was his record speed that raised eyebrows, as Krawiec went 198.35 mph, begging the question of whether a 200-mph run is possible.
"That's a good question," Krawiec said. "I'd love to say yes, but you can't just ask for it to happen. Everything has to play out just right. We had a tailwind the first session. The second session, man, about a half-hour before the run, the flag all of a sudden starts going 180. I was like, 'Aw, man, it's a headwind.'
"Tomorrow morning, for us, is usually a fast session. It's just whether the wind's playing with us in our favor or against us. You never know here. Could it happen? Absolutely, if everything was right, if we had these air conditions, with the wind helping us. It would never happen without the wind, so we need Mother Nature to cooperate and turn the flag the other way."
Teammate Andrew Hines was second at 6.848 seconds at 195.28 mph, with Hector Arana Sr.'s Lucas Oil Buell third at 6.879 at 194.86 mph.