6:40 p.m. - Comments from Robert Hight, the top qualifier in Funny Car:  

"That was probably the most confusing run I've ever made, having to do the burnout, it's raining, I see the water on the side windows, I get back past the tree and then have to shut it off. That kind of scenario throws you all off and we can't have that - it can be dangerous.  


"Right now, for this Auto Club Ford team, we have to make every point count. We could be perfect from here on out and still not win this championship. Number-one qualifier here, win this race, go to Pomona and be number one and win the race and that still might not be enough. We've been number one here a lot and lost first round, too. We're still in this ballgame and we can do it."

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6:25 p.m. - Comments from Tony Schumacher, the 2008 Top Fuel World Champion and No. 1 qualifier for Sunday's eighth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals:  

"It's very gratifying to end up number one because after the whole season being as great as it was ... we show up and it's like ‘all you have to do is qualify (to win the championship).' We've got to remember we won 14 races, we didn't just have to qualify - we had to do all that to get here. So to be on the number-one spot, at least it goes out there a little bit of an exclamation point that we've clearly earned it. I don't think there's a question anywhere in the country that we left anything on the table.  

"To be able to do it in Vegas, I think it was great. There's just something special about Las Vegas. It's an amazing racetrack, amazing fans, amazing crowd and it has been a fun weekend. There are so many things are happening out here and to put this right in the middle of it and to cap off such a great year is perfect.  

"We've got the championship done, it's over now, and we're going to show up tomorrow and dig just as deep as we've done since the beginning of the year and do it for pride right now. If we get beat, it's not going to be because we left something on the table."

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5:55 p.m. -- Here are the 16 qualifiers in Funny Car for the eighth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals:   1. Robert Hight; 2. John Force; 3. Jerry Toliver; 4. Ashley Force; 5. Tony Pedregon; 6. Cruz Pedregon; 7. Melanie Troxel; 8. Tim Wilkerson; 9. Mike Neff; 10. Gary Scelzi; 11. Jack Beckman; 12. Bob Tasca III; 13. Ron Capps; 14. Gary Densham; 15. Jeff Arend; 16. Tony Bartone.

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5:09 p.m. -- Here are the 16 qualifiers in Top Fuel for the eighth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals:   1. Tony Schumacher; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Rod Fuller; 4. Larry Dixon; 5. Cory McClenathan; 6. Hillary Will; 7. J.R. Todd; 8. Brandon Bernstein; 9. Clay Milllican; 10. David Grubnic; 11. Doug Kalitta; 12, Morgan Lucas; 13. Terry McMillen; 14. Tom Boychuk; 15. Troy Buff; 16. Joe Hartley.

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4:58 p.m. - Tony Schumacher clinched the 2008 Top Fuel World Championship with a spectacular run of 3.806 seconds at 318.92 mph on his final qualifying run today. Stand by for comments from the champ.

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4:15 p.m. - Comments from Jeg Coughlin, the top qualifier in Pro Stock:

"We've had a great start thus far. The first two shots Friday, we were the number-one qualifier, running 6.70s both times. We got a little aggressive in the left lane this morning. I really felt like we could maybe try and tickle a (6.60) out of this thing and we didn't get away with it and we had to abort the run. But we came back and ran a nice (6.73) and tied for low of the round with Jason Line.

"The momentum we were looking for, the consistency we were looking for, is exactly what we accomplished. We didn't plan on aborting that run this morning but we've got that behind us and I really feel confident going into race day."

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3:51 p.m. - Here are the 16 qualifiers in Pro Stock for the eighth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals:

1. Jeg Coughlin; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Jason Line; 4. Allen Johnson; 5. V. Gaines; 6. Kurt Johnson; 7. Mike Edwards; 8. Warren Johnson; 9. Dave Connolly; 10. Jim Yates; 11. Richie Stevens; 12. Ron Krisher; 13. Vinnie Deceglie; 14. Greg Stanfield; 15. Justin Humphreys; 16. Rickie Jones.

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3:44 p.m. - Comments from Angelle Sampey, the top qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle:

"After the first round today, I was praying for a 20-mile-per-hour headwind because I really wanted to keep the number-one spot but I guess I didn't need it. The weather conditions worsened all day long ... so I thought I was pretty safe. I'm really excited - I haven't been number-one qualifier in so long I've forgotten what it feels like. I don't know what my chances are of finishing third, second or first - and it doesn't really matter at this point. What really matters at this point is that we get our first win for the season. That's what we'll be concentrating on tomorrow."

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3:26 p.m. - Here are the 16 qualifiers in Pro Stock motorcycle for the eighth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals:

 

1. Angelle Sampey; 2. Eddie Krawiec; 3. Hector Arana; 4. Chip Ellis; 5. Chris Rivas; 6. Matt Smith; 7. Karen Stoffer; 8. Andrew Hines; 9. Craig Treble; 10. Mike Berry; 11. Matt Guidera; 12. Michael Phillips; 13. Angie McBride; 14. Steve Johnson; 15. Shawn Gann; 16. Junior Pippin.

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2:21 p.m. - John Force and Cruz Pedregon held the top two spots in Funny Car qualifying and Force's teammate, Robert Hight, moved into third after today's third round. Hight made a 4.08-second, 303.23-mph pass and jumped four spots going into this afternoon's final round of qualifying.

Melanie Troxel, Ashley Force and points leader Tim Wilkerson were fourth, fifth and sixth after three rounds.

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1:45 p.m. - Tony Schumacher, who is on the cusp of clinching his fifth career World Championship, Antron Brown and Larry Dixon remained the three fastest qualifiers following today's third round. In fact, the top nine drivers after Friday's second round all held their positions. JR Todd, who was 14th coming into the session, moved to 10 with one qualifying run remaining.

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12:45 p.m. - Jeg Coughlin and Greg Anderson remained 1 and 2 after the third round of Pro Stock qualifying but Anderson's teammate, Jason Line, moved up three spots to third with a run of 6.716 seconds at 205.13. Allen Johnson, who was third after two rounds, sits fourth going into the final round of qualifying.

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 12:28 p.m. - Tim Wilkerson Racing and Tasca Racing announced today that they would form a two-car Funny Car alliance for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.

"It just seems you can't get enough data out here (as a single-car team)," Wilkerson said. "We know that the multi-car teams really have us with our backs against the wall in that aspect, so the discussions we've had through the year with Bob (Tasca) had us thinking it might be a possibility that we could get together for next season."

"I'm elated to be associated with Tim," Tasca said. "He's proven this year is one of the more remarkable championship runs and may go down as THE most remarkable championship runs as a single-car team in the day and age of these multi-car empires. Tim Wilkerson and I really feel that we're creating our own little mini empire here and it's going to be a force to be reckoned with next year."

Wilkerson holds a 51-point lead over Jack Beckman in the Funny Car standings with two races remaining on the schedule.

 

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12:10 p.m. - Angelle Sampey, who is looking for her first victory of the season, remained the top qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle after three rounds. Eddie Krawiec still is the No. 2 qualifier and Chip Ellis moved from seventh to third with a 7.042-second, 187.05-mph run. Class points leader Matt Smith is sixth going into this afternoon's final round of qualifying.

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11:35 a.m. - Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where it looks as if another great day is on tap for the final two rounds of professional qualifying for the eighth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. It's partly cloudy and about 76 degrees with just a hint of a breeze. The forecast is for a high of 82 this afternoon. Professional qualifying is set to begin shortly, with Top Fuel and Funny Car qualifying sessions scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (PDT).

Check back here often, as we'll be updating this blog throughout the weekend with news, results and driver interviews.