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Results courtesy NHRA Communications
DRO file photo by Jeff Burk

MOHNTON, Pa. - Doug Kalitta captured his first victory in more than a year Monday at the rain-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Tony Pedregon, Jim Yates and Angelle Savoie also were winners in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the 18th of 23 events in the NHRA POWERADE Drag Racing Series.

Kalitta claimed his ninth career NHRA victory by defeating Kenny Bernstein in the final round. Kalitta clocked a run of 4.560 seconds at 320.51 mph in his Mac Tools dragster to hold off Bernstein's Budweiser King dragster that posted a run of 4.581 at 322.11.

"It's real big for the team to get this win," said Kalitta. "It's been quite a while that's for sure. (Crew chiefs) Connie (Kalitta) and Jim Oberhofer and the whole team had that thing running good. You wish you could go to every race and have the car running like that."

Kalitta, who used a consistent 4.5-second tune-up, defeated Bruce Litton,
Larry Dixon and Darrell Russell before knocking off Bernstein in the final round.

With his runner-up finish, Bernstein cut Dixon's points lead to 65 points in the Top Fuel points chase.

Pedregon used a starting line advantage to earn his fourth win of the season when he powered his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to a run of 4.829 at 318.62 to hold off Whit Bazemore's quicker but losing pass of 4.814, 318.69 in his Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird.

"If you look at the ladder, we beat some pretty stout cars today," said Pedregon of his 17th career victory. "The end result, it was a good race. The people who showed up here today got their money's worth, that's for sure. "

Pedregon defeated Dean Skuza, Bruce Sarver and Ron Capps en route to the victory. His fourth win of 2002 is the most victories in one season for Pedregon.

With the victory, Pedregon now trails his team owner, John Force, by 122 points for the Funny Car championship.

Yates captured his first win since May 2001 by defeating Mike Edwards in the final round. Yates clocked a run of 6.870 at 199.67 in his SplitFire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am, but was handed the victory as Edwards fouled at the start behind the wheel of his Young Life Chevy Cavalier.

"It seems like the longer you wait the better it feels when you get it," said Yates. "After Indy, we went home and worked really hard. I'm not even thinking about leading the Pro Stock points by three rounds. I want to enjoy this win. We beat a bunch of tough people today and I don't want to think about the points chase."


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