Despite unfavorable weather conditions, eight new track records were set during qualifying for the second annual Garrett Turbos NHRA Sport Compact Nationals.  Although rain never fell at the track, qualifying was delayed due to lightning and winds in the area.

New track records:

Pro RWD -- E.T.: Steph Papadakis 6.779 sec.

Pro RWD -- Top Speed: Matt Hartford 205.22 mph.

Pro FWD -- E.T.: Nelson Hoyos 7.752 sec.

Pro FWD -- Top Speed: Lisa Kubo 191.54 mph.

Modified -- E.T. and Top Speed: Paul Efantis 7.908 sec./171.03 mph.

Hot Rod -- E.T.: Marty Ladwig 8.372 sec.

Hot Rod -- Top Speed: Kenny Tran 172.78 mph.


Dana Westover, winner of last year's Sport RWD finale, is this year's No. 1 Qualifier (9.941 sec./144.30 mph).



By Rob Brender, NHRA P.R.

LAS VEGAS - Stephan Papadakis led a weather-delayed night of qualifying Friday at the Garrett Turbos NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Nelson Hoyos, Paul Efantis, Marty Ladwig and Scott Mohler also will lead their respective categories into Saturday's 7 p.m. (PT) eliminations during the sixth of 10 events in the $2.1 million NHRA Summit Sport Compact Series.

Papadakis, from Redondo Beach, Calif., in the AEM/Driver FX 2003 Honda Civic, recorded a track record 6.779 E.T. at 203.19 mph on his final pass of the evening to capture his third career qualifying award and third in a row in Pro RWD.

"We take everything one race at a time and try to be as consistent as possible," Papadakis said. " We had some problems the first pair of runs but got things squared away for the last pass. It was a good run, and one we know that we can better tomorrow."

Pro RWD star Matt Hartford propelled the Summit Racing 2004 Chevy Cavalier to a 205.22 mph setting The Strip track record.

Hoyos, from Hollywood, Fla., recorded a track record time of 7.752 at 176.53 in the GM Racing Chevrolet Cavalier for the seventh No. 1 qualifying award of his career and third of the season in Pro FWD. The run was the quickest in Pro FWD history and will need to be backed-up tomorrow to set the new national E.T. record.

"There is no question that the GM Racing Team is on the roll that we have been waiting for since the season began," said Hoyos, who is coming off his first win of the season in Denver last month and is the defending winner at Las Vegas. "We plan on winning ever race the rest of the season and getting rid of the awful taste we had in our mouths from the first four races. Sometimes it takes a little while to get things running on the right track, and when there is a lot of pressure to win, especially because of all the success we had last year, it can make things twice as tough. We think that that is all behind us at this point and we are ready to taste success from now on."

Lisa Kubo, in the APC Saturn Ion Quad Coupe, recorded the fastest run in Pro FWD history posting a 191.54 mph pass on her first pass of the evening. She will need to run within 1-percent of that mark tomorrow to certify it as a national record.

Efantis, from Ijamsville, Md., driver of the 2003 Lucas Oil Toyota Solara, took home his fifth career qualifying award and fourth of the season in Modified, clocking a track record 7.908 at 171.03.

"This was a great day for the Lucas Oil team," Efantis said. "To bring back the second car and then to qualify No. 1 was a great accomplishment for us. We feel like it's our time to overtake Gonzalez Sr. in the points and that will start with a win tomorrow."

Ladwig, from San Antonio, Texas, in the GM Racing Pontiac Sunfire, earned the ninth top qualifying position of his career and fourth of the season in Turbo Magazine Hot Rod, storming down the quarter-mile with a track record run of 8.372 at 165.78.

"It's great to come into the desert and run as well as we did today, especially considering the conditions," said Ladwig, who also qualified No. 1 at Las Vegas last year. "The Ecotech engine has performed well all season and the team has really gelled to the point where we feel confident that a win is in the cards each time we race. Hopefully, tomorrow we can collect another win and get closer to capturing the season series."

Kenny Tran, driver of the Quaker State/ Precision Turbo 1993 Honda Civic, recorded the new track mph record with a 172.78 blast during his first pass of the evening.

Mohler, from Frederick, Md., collected the third qualifying award of his career and first of the season with a track record pass of 10.383 at 128.48 in the Mopar 1998 Dodge Neon to lead the Honda Tuning Magazine All Motor category. In the process, he ended a streak of four consecutive top qualifying awards for Jesus Padilla.

"I am so proud of the way the car has performed the past two events," said Mohler, who won in Denver last month. "If we run this well tomorrow we should have a good chance of getting back to the winners circle again."