Robert Hight and his Auto Club Mustang, which posted a track record speed of 318.77 on Friday, qualified second behind his John Force Racing teammate with a 4.030. Sitting in the third slot is Ron Capps, who powered his Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger to a 4.040 at 316.82.
“Every track is a little different, but we’ve got good race cars,” Force said. “Robert is running well and (daughter) Courtney (Force) has a good car. I just love racing here. It’s a cool deal.”
In Pro Stock, nobody could match Johnson’s run of 6.592 at 209.75 from Friday, giving the defending world champion in the class the No. 1 qualifying spot for the first time in 2013 and 29th time in his career. The driver of the Team Mopar Dodge Avenger also qualified No. 1 in Norwalk for the second straight year.
“I think we’ve closed the gap performance-wise on (points leader Mike Edwards),” said Johnson, who has three wins in 2013. “This is what I call ‘getting after it time.’ Hopefully we can do well (Sunday) and keep pushing to try and secure that No. 1 position going into the (Countdown to the Championship).”
Edwards kept the track speed record of 209.92 in his I AmSecond/Interstate Batteries Chevy Camaro, and his 6.601 gave him the No. 2 position as well. Jeg Coughlin, the most recent event winner in the class, finished as the No. 3 qualifier in his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger with his run of 6.614 at 208.91.
Defending Norwalk winner Vincent Nobile, who qualified No. 6, will take on Steve Kent in the first round.
“We made one good run (Saturday) and one bad run, and I think you’ll see pretty close to the same conditions Sunday,” Johnson said. “We will have to adjust accordingly, but I think we’ve got a pretty good set-up and we feel good about (Sunday).”
Ray improved on his No. 1 time from Friday, going 6.912 at a track-record speed of 194.77 to take the top spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle on his Sovereign-Star Racing Buell. Ray, who is also the most recent winner in the class, earned his second No. 1 qualifier in 2013 and will meet Sean Gann in the first round.
“The tune-up was just flawless and (crew chief and team owner) George (Bryce) said I good job riding on that pass,” Ray said. “We’re just really, really clicking right now and when you keep seeing the momentum moving forward, it’s an awesome thing.”
Hector Arana Jr. broke through on his Lucas Oil Buell, running a 6.939 at 192.69 in the final qualifying session to finish as the No. 2 qualifier. Steve Johnson’s 6.941 at 193.16 on his Suzuki from Friday kept him in third, while defending event winner Andrew Hines will meet Scott Pollacheck in an opening-round matchup.
Ray, seeking his second win in three races, continued to have a productive weekend in Norwalk with a pass he hopes to replicate during eliminations.
“We went up there with a first-round of eliminations tune-up and it was an awesome performance,” Ray said. “To see the team going in this direction, it’s an awesome feeling and we’re just going to try to bring back another Wally on Sunday.”