Rookie Andrew Tate edged out Jimmy Shane by less than one mile per hour to claim the top qualifying spot for this weekend’s HomeStreet Bank San Diego Bayfair on Friday.

Tate steered the U-9 RealTrac Performance to an average speed of 160.972 mph on the 2.5-mile Mission Bay race course. It marks the first top qualifier award for Tate in his young career and the first for the Jones Racing Team since Mike Hanson claimed the honor at Tri-Cities in 2001.

“I think the team’s happy. Crew chief Mike Campbell said he thinks this is the first time the boat has turned a lap over 160 mph,” Tate said. “The fastest boat doesn’t always win. We proved that in Seattle.”

Shane, driving the U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank/Miss Madison, was not far behind at 160.122 while J. Michael Kelly was third at 158.061 aboard the U-5 Graham Trucking. The extra 10 points Shane earned pushed his lead over Kelly in the National High Points to 594 points.

Cal Phipps was fourth at 156.813 aboard the U-27 Dalton Industries in that team’s first action since suffering severe damage in a blowover at Madison in early July.

“It feels great. We have some work to do. We’re going to double check everything. Safety is first, before speed. We were a little sluggish,” Phipps said. “The crew may have turned it down a little so I can’t go too crazy just yet.”

Rounding out the field was: Brian Perkins, U-21 All Access Equipment, 153.722; Jeff Bernard, U-7 Graham Trucking II, 149.422; Tom Thompson, U-11 Peters & May, 147.926; and Kevin Eacret, U-99.9 KISW Miss Rock, 141.783.

Before the qualifying session, H1 Unlimited Chairman Steve David announced that Mike’s Hard Lemonade has been signed to be the series sponsor. The company had previously been announced as the points sponsor last month.

The first set of heat racing is scheduled to begin today at 7:45 p.m. EST with Sunday racing starting at 4:45 p.m. EST. The final heat will be at 7:15 p.m. EST.

There is no video or radio streaming of the event, but a live stream of the public address announcer is available at www.h1unlimited.com.