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Brandon Bernstein leads Winternationals qualifying

Thursday - 2/14/2013, 8:56pm  ET

In this photo provided by NHRA, Top Fuel driver Brandon Bernstein performs a burnout in his dragster before launching down the track during the first NHRA auto racing qualifying session at Auto Club Raceway, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Fontana, Calif. (AP Photo/NHRA, Jerry Foss)

POMONA, Calif. (AP) -- Brandon Bernstein led Top Fuel qualifying Thursday in the NHRA's season-opening Winternationals with a run of 3.761 seconds at a top speed of 325.22 mph.

Bernstein won the season finale last year at the track.

"The car came out of the gates real good," Bernstein said. "It felt like a really good run. It's nice to be in that No. 1 spot right now. There's a lot of racing left. That win at the end of the year gave us a tremendous boost of confidence. The competition is so tight. This weekend is going to be even tougher."

Tony Schumacher was second at 3.777 and 326.08, and defending series champion Antron Brown was sixth at 3.834 and 322.19.

Gary Densham topped the Funny Car field at 4.053 and 307.09, and V. Gaines had the Pro Stock lead at 6.538 and 211.49.


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