7:30 p.m. -- Comments from Larry Dixon, the top qualifier in Top Fuel:

 

(On trimming Tony Schumacher's lead from 47 points to 41 points) "You can pick up the nickels and pennies and all those kind of points in qualifying but when you get to 20 points a round on race day, that's what makes up big chunks. At this point, I'm not looking any further than (first-round opponent) Morgan Lucas. He's got a great car, he's a Countdown car, so you've just go in there and race your race and don't ever get ahead of yourself. One round at a time."

 

(On The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he has won four times) "It's a great racetrack. You get to see some great numbers go up on the board whether the sun's out or it's nighttime. And the fans, there are just tons of people here. I signed so many autographs for people from Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and Europe - you don't get that at Richmond, you get it in Las Vegas so as far as the marketing group that puts on this race, it's great. We obviously love what we do but when you roll up to the starting line and you're sitting in the water and you look off to the side and you see the stands full, it makes you proud of what you do for a living. The credit goes to the Vegas track for promoting it and getting them in there. It's a good feeling."

 


 

7:15 p.m. -- Comments from Mike Edwards, the top qualifier in Pro Stock:

 

(On his chance to clinch his first world championship on Sunday) "It's gonna be a huge day for us. We're all excited about it. We look forward to it and hope we can do it. It's been a long, precious season, I can say that for sure, no matter what the outcome this weekend. We worked really hard and we're in a position now to do something we've never been able to do.

 

"We're going to go into tomorrow like it's another first round - like all season long. We just have to focus on that lane and hope for the best. It's just like any other race ... but there's a lot riding on it. We're definitely enjoying it. We're looking to seal the deal. It's been a great year and this is a great opportunity and we're just looking forward to it."


 

 

7:05 p.m. -- Comments from Hector Arana, the top qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle:

 "It's awesome. Everything has happened so fast this year. It has been an awesome year. All I need to do is stay consistent and I should prevail (in the championship). I worked hard for a long time and struggled. After I got home, my kids always would say, ‘hey dad, did you win ...dad, did you win?' After a while, they stopped asking. (Having success) was my biggest way to show my kids that if you work hard and sacrifice a lot (it pays off). Now they know if you believe, if you work at it and don't give up, it'll work out. That's what I want - I want respect from my kids."


 

 

6:45 p.m. - Here are the 16 qualifiers in Funny Car for the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:

1. Matt Hagan; 2. Ron Capps; 3. Robert Hight; 4. Tony Pedregon; 5. Bob Tasca III; 6. Cruz Pedregon; 7. Tim Wilkerson; 8. Jack Beckman; 9. Mike Neff; 10. Jim Head; 11. John Force; 12. Del Worsham; 13. Jeff Arend; 14. Ashley Force Hood; 15. Gary Densham; 16. Grant Downing.


 

6:20 p.m. -

Here are the 16 qualifiers in Top Fuel for the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:

1. Larry Dixon; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Antron Brown; 4. Tony Schumacher; 5. Cory McClenathan; 6. Brandon Bernstein; 7. Shawn Langdon; 8. Thomas Nataas; 9. Doug Kalitta; 10. Spencer Massey; 11. Bob Vandergriff; 12. David Grubnic; 13. Urs Erbacher; 14. Stig Neergaard; 15. Terry McMillen; 16. Morgan Lucas.


- Here are the 16 qualifiers in Pro Stock for the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:

1. Mike Edwards; 2. Vinnie Deceglie; 3. Ron Krisher; 4. Greg Anderson; 5. Johnny Gray; 6. Allen Johnson; 7. Rodger Brogdon; 8. Larry Morgan; 9. Jason Line; 10. Warren Johnson; 11. Jeg Coughlin; 12. Greg Stanfield; 13. Ronnie Humphrey; 14. Ryan Ondrejko; 15. Rickie Jones; 16. Kurt Johnson.

 

4:50 p.m.


4:05 p.m. - Here are the 16 qualifiers in Pro Stock Motorcycle for the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:

1. Hector Arana; 2. Andrew Hines; 3. Matt Smith; 4. Eddie Krawiec; 5. Karen Stoffer; 6. Junior Pippin; 7. Michael Phillips; 8. David Hope; 9. Craig Treble; 10. Douglas Horne; 11. Shawn Gann; 12. Steve Johnson; 13. Jim Underdahl; 14. Larry Cook; 15. Freddie Camarena; 16. Mike Berry.

 

3:20 p.m. - Rod Fuller, a Las Vegas resident and a seven-time winner on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, is watching this weekend's NHRA Las Vegas Nationals from the sidelines. Fuller said he is optimistic that he will be able to secure sponsorship to return to the Top Fuel ranks to start the 2010 season. Fuller won at least one Top Fuel national event from 2005 to 2008.

 

 

2:30 p.m. - Provisional pole-sitter Larry Dixon recorded the fastest pass (3.837 seconds) in third-round Top Fuel qualifying. Brandon Bernstein turned in a run of 3.853 at 317.27 mph) and improved from eighth to fourth. Dixon, Steve Torrence and Tony Schumacher remained first through third going into the final session later this afternoon.

 

In third-round Funny Car qualifying, provisional pole-sitter Matt Hagan's 4.153-second pass was fastest of the session and was followed by Cruz Pedregon (4.161) and Jim Head (4.168). Ashley Force Hood, second in Funny Car points and previously unqualified, now sits 15th with one round of qualifying remaining.

 

 

 

12:55 p.m. - Mike Edwards, Vinnie Deceglie and Ron Krisher remained atop the Pro Stock speed chart after three rounds of qualifying. Edwards posted the quickest run of the third round at 6.664 seconds.

 

 

12:30 p.m. - Hector Arena, Andrew Hines and Matt Smith retained the top three spots in Pro Stock Motorcycle after the third round of qualifying. Eddie Krawiec, the provisional fourth qualifier, posted the quickest third-round time at 7.023 seconds.


11:50 p.m. - Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where clear skies will greet racers today for the final two rounds of professional qualifying for the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals. Once again, it's a beautiful day today; the temperature is 63 degrees and there isn't a cloud in the sky.  

As soon as the Matco Tools Pro Mod Clash completes its first round, professional qualifying will get underway with Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock, followed immediately by the third round of Nitro qualifying.  

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