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Chances for ‘hero’ runs washed out by storms Friday night; Capps, Brown lead DSR after one session at Topeka

The weather at Heartland Park Topeka Friday night might have been ideal for Dorothy and Toto, but it was not for fans attending the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and drivers wanting a last shot at “hero” runs in what could have been ideal conditions.

 Tornado warnings near Topeka, Kan., on Thursday night in the area west of Kansas City were followed by enough thunderstorms to delay racing on Friday and then returned to wipe out the second pro qualifying session of the NHRA Heartland Nationals.

 The Funny Car and Top Fuel categories completed the first session after a lengthy delay but have to wait for Saturday’s last two sessions to lock in positions for Sunday’s championship eliminations.

 Don Schumacher Racing’s 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars Powered by Pennzoil produced one of its best combined qualifying efforts led by reigning world champion Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team’s time of 3.870 seconds at 325.22 mph.

 But that only was good enough for the No. 2 provisional spot because Robert Hight of John Force Racing set a track record with a time of 3.826, which is the fourth quickest ever by a Funny Car. More staggering was Hight’s speed of 337.66 that took the world record away from DSR’s Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane team defending Topeka champion, the defending event champ, by 2.09 mph.

 Hagan, who set the speed record a year ago and matched it early this season, is qualified third with Terry Chandler-funded teammates Jack Beckman (Infinite Hero) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Make-A-Wish) fourth and sixth, respectively.

 In Top Fuel, two-time reigning world champ Antron Brown and the Matco Tools dragster was the only one of the DSR trio to complete a run and it was good enough to rank third with a 3.738 (326.87). Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army dragster lost traction early and points leader Leah Pritchett (Papa John’s Pizza) shut off at the starting line.

 The following are unofficial results from Friday’s qualifying in the NHRA Heartland Nationals:

TOP FUEL

Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors), 3.682 sec., 328.54 mph

 ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster

Provisional qualifying position: No. 3

FRIDAY: 3.748 sec., 326.87 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)

 TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster

Provisional qualifying position: No. 11

FRIDAY: 8.744 sec., 74.20 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)

 LEAH PRITCHETT, Papa John’s Pizza Top Fuel dragster

Provisional qualifying position: No. 14

FRIDAY: did not run due to track debris, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)

 FUNNY CAR

Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Robert Hight (John Force Racing), 3.826 sec.-track record, 337.66 mph-world record

 RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T

Provisional qualifying position: No. 2

FRIDAY: 3.870 sec., 325.22 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)

 MATT HAGAN,  Mopar Express Lane 2017 Dodge Charger R/T

Provisional qualifying position: No. 3

FRIDAY: 3.885 sec., 332.51 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)

 JACK BECKMAN, Terry Chandler’s Infinite Hero  Dodge Charger R/T

Provisional qualifying position: No. 4

FRIDAY: 3.899 sec., 324.59 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)

 TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish  Dodge Charger R/T

Provisional qualifying position: No. 6

FRIDAY: 3.990 sec., 323.43 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)