HARTLEY, HIGHT, ANDERSON SITTING NO. 1 AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA
Little known part-time racer Joe Hartley is the surprise Top Fuel leader at
Heartland Park Topeka Friday after one round of qualifying with a stunning 4.518
seconds at 323.12 mph.
In his first time as the No.1 qualifier in the Top
Fuel category, Hartley is joined by Funny Car heavyweight Robert Hight and Pro
Stock points leader Greg Anderson on the leader board..
Friday's action of the 19th annual O'Reilly NHRA
Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX was trimmed by on-and-off rain
showers. Only one round of nitro and about a round and a half of Pro Stock made
it into the books.
Blowing past the likes of four-time champion Tony
Schumacher, current points leader "Hot Rod" Fuller, and the rest of a stout Top
Fuel field, Hartley was the talk of the pits after what was easily the best run
of his career. Even Hartley was surprised when he climbed from his rail at the
top end of the racetrack.
"I can't believe it," the 30-year-old Hartley
said. "We were hoping for a low 4.60 so to go almost a tenth of a second quicker
is really exciting. It snapped the front end up right away and just went
straight down the track nice and easy. The smooth ones are definitely the
quickest ones and that one was very smooth."