5:55 p.m. – Comments from Top Fuel driver Antron Brown, who earned his 26th career NHRA victory (10 in Top Fuel and 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle) Sunday in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals:
“It feels incredible (to win) – especially here at Vegas. I’ve been to the final I don’t know how many times here and came up short. I always get to the final and roll the dice and I had snake-eyes come up on me. This weekend here, everything just fell right into our groove. Our team just stepped up. When the track was out there – we knew it was going to be a little cooler (today) – the guys just stepped this Aaron’s car up this weekend and it really showed through. We had to give it all we got and we duplicated it and kept it throughout eliminations and it got us in the winner’s circle. This race right here, it always tries to kick you down because so much is riding on it but we got it done. It was just an incredible weekend and I give it all up just by being blessed with the team that I’m on right now.”
(How eager were you to get back to the track after ending last season with a win?) “We were definitely ready because we learned a lot last year. It was a transition year because we basically were starting to run a car totally different than we ever ran before. We started running (Don Schumacher Racing) stuff – the chassis, their clutch program, their engine program – and their stuff made quite a bit more power than we were used to running and it took a little bit to (get used to). Once we started getting our bearings together like probably halfway through the year, and in the last four races we did good, we just got beat by better cars. That’s how tough our class is. In the offseason, the guys worked harder on our dragster and it just turned around when we got out there testing and we were running with the other DSR cars. We were gung-ho to get to Pomona so it was carrying out but we put it all together this weekend.”
5:28 p.m. – Comments from Funny Car driver Robert Hight, who earned his second win of the season and the 29th of his career Sunday in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals:
“It’s not getting any easier. It’s a lot of hard work – that’s really what’s doing it and what’s paying off. You let your guard down just one little bit and you’re going to get beat. I had close, side-by-side races in every round. Johnny Gray stepped up in the final and made his best run of the weekend against us. If you looked at it on paper, you’d say ‘back it off a little, be safe, go down the track and get the win.’ We would not have been up here right now (if we had done that). That even makes it feel better when you can get a win like this and it be the third of the year for (John Force Racing). In this day and age and with this competition, it’s awesome.
“People always ask me, ‘Is it tough, a lot of pressure, with the team you’re on?’ I always say no, it makes it easier for me as a driver because you just go out there and you don’t have to worry about anything else. You know the car is right and the people are right. It just makes it easier for the driver so hat’s off to John (Force) and the team he’s put together.
“We’ve got to keep it going, though. We go to (Charlotte) next week. This was the 199th career win for John Force Racing and nothing would be better than getting 200 there in Charlotte. It’s another Bruton Smith track. We love their facilities; they’re top-notch, they’re the best. NHRA did such a great job with the track this weekend to get this live TV deal off.”
5:10 p.m. – Comments from Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards, who earned his 29th career victory Sunday and his second in a row at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals:
“It really is (the start to the season I’ve wanted). We started off pretty slow for us – actually pretty bad for us, really. We regrouped and came in here with a new car that had a few runs on it and just made some tremendous runs, starting right off with Friday and just continued on through today. It’s just a total team effort. My guys just did an awesome job all weekend – all of them. It’s a great win (and) we just want to try to build on this and try to improve as much as we can and keep trying to run good and make good decisions.”
(What’s made you so good here at The Strip?) “I think it’s the conditions. We run better when it gets hot in the middle of the summer. We just came here and we started off so well and we just kind of build on it. This place is pretty special. John Kite, I used to work for him years and years ago and he used to live here. We teamed up together years ago and he basically gave me my start a long, long time ago so it’s a pretty special place for me.”
(Were you concerned about the weather cooling off today?) “I was. I thought we actually slipped up a little bit on Saturday and then today, especially there in the middle of the day, we ran really, really well. We were real fortunate to get a win there in the final because we made our worst run in the final. We spun up real hard … so we were real fortunate to come away with the win.”
4 p.m. – Final results from the 12th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Top Fuel: Antron Brown (3.887 at 318.84) def. Brandon Bernstein (3.947 at 311.13).
Funny Car: Robert Hight (4.149 at 307.79) def. Johnny Gray (4.169 at 301.81).
Pro Stock: Mike Edwards (6.695 at 205.98) def. Vincent Nobile (6.713 at 205.69).
Check back shortly for comments from the winning drivers.
2:46 p.m. – Semifinals results and final-round matchup in Pro Stock:
Vincent Nobile (6.697 at 205.88) def. Greg Stanfield (foul); Mike Edwards (6.662 at 206.95) def. V Gaines (6.704 at 205.41).
Final: Edwards vs. Nobile.
2:39 p.m. – Semifinals results and final-round matchup in Funny Car:
Johnny Gray (4.210 at 300.33) def. Tony Pedregon (no show); Robert Hight (4.155 at 309.13) def Cruz Pedregon (4.152 at 304.80).
Final: Gray vs. Hight.
2:33 p.m. – Semifinals results and final-round matchup in Top Fuel:
Brandon Bernstein (3.937 at 306.81) def. Del Worsham (4.025 at 269.03); Antron Brown (3.843 at 320.51) def. Doug Kalitta (3.940 at 314.46).
Final: Brown vs. Bernstein.
2 p.m. – Mike Edwards, in Pro Stock, is the lone defending SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals winner with a chance to repeat. Larry Dixon, the reigning event champion in Top Fuel, was knocked out in the second round by Doug Kalitta and John Force, the 2010 Funny Car winner here, was eliminated in the second round by Tony Pedregon.
Dixon, the top qualifier in Top Fuel, has five career victories at The Strip while Force, the No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car, has won three times in Las Vegas – including twice last year.
1:38 p.m. – Second-round results and semifinals matchups in Pro Stock:
V Gaines def. Shane Gray; Greg Stanfield def. Jason Line; Vincent Nobile def. Allen Johnson; Mike Edwards def. Erica Enders.
Semifinals: Edwards vs. Gaines; Stanfield vs. Nobile.
1:25 p.m. – Second-round results and semifinals matchups in Funny Car:
Cruz Pedregon def. Ron Capps; Tony Pedregon def. John Force; Robert Hight def. Jack Beckman; Johnny Gray vs. Jeff Arend.
Semifinals: T. Pedregon vs. Gray; C. Pedregon vs. Hight.
1:10 p.m. – Second-round results and semifinals matchups in Top Fuel:
Brandon Bernstein def. David Grubnic; Doug Kalitta def. Larry Dixon; Del Worsham def. Spencer Massey; Antron Brown def. Tony Schumacher.
Semifinals: Kalitta vs. Brown; Bernstein vs. Worsham.
12:30 p.m. – First-round results and second-round matchups in Pro Stock:
Mike Edwards def. Richard Freeman; Jason Line def. Larry Morgan; Allen Johnson def. Kurt Johnson; V. Gaines def. Ron Krisher; Shane Gray def. Ronnie Humphrey; Vincent Nobile def. Warren Johnson; Greg Stanfield def. Greg Anderson; Erica Enders def. Rodger Brogdon.
Second round: Edwards vs. Enders; Gaines vs. Gray; Line vs. Stanfield; A. Johnson vs. Nobile.
12:08 p.m. – First-round results and second-round matchups in Funny Car:
John Force def. Bob Bode; Cruz Pedregon def. Gary Densham; Robert Hight def. Jim Head; Johnny Gray def. Mike Neff; Jeff Arend def. Matt Hagan; Jack Beckman def. Paul Lee; Ron Capps def. Tim Wilkerson (foul); Tony Pedregon def. Bob Tasca III.
Second round: Force vs. T. Pedregon; Gray vs. Arend; C. Pedregon vs. Capps; Hight vs. Beckman.
11:40 a.m. – Tony Schumacher posted the quickest and fastest Top Fuel pass of the weekend with his first-round victory over Troy Buff. Schumacher ran 3.879 seconds at 318.17 mph and advanced to a second-round matchup against Antron Brown.
“It’s Vegas – this is the place to win,” Schumacher said after his run. “We’re early in the season and you’ve got to get the momentum now, carry it all year and be a dominant team. This Army car is as good as any car I’ve ever driven. I always talk about surrounding yourself with good guys and these nine (crew) guys are as great as any team – and I’ve worked with the best.”
11:25 a.m. – First-round results and second-round matchups in Top Fuel:
Larry Dixon def. Steve Torrence; Brandon Bernstein def. Steve Faria; Del Worsham def. Steve Chrisman; Tony Schumacher def. Troy Buff; Antron Brown def. Morgan Lucas; Spencer Massey def. Shawn Langdon; David Grubnic def. Terry McMillen; Doug Kalitta def. Bob Vandergriff.
Second round: Dixon vs. Kalitta; Schumacher vs. Brown; Bernstein vs. Grubnic; Worsham vs. Massey.
9:40 a.m. – Here are the first-round pairings for today’s professional eliminations:
TOP FUEL: 1. Larry Dixon vs. 16. Steve Torrence; 2. Brandon Bernstein vs. 15. Steve Faria; 3. Del Worsham vs. 14. Steve Chrisman; 4. Tony Schumacher vs. 13. Troy Buff; 5. Antron Brown vs. 12. Morgan Lucas; 6. Spencer Massey vs. 11. Shawn Langdon; 7. David Grubnic vs. 10. Terry McMillen; 8. Bob Vandergriff vs. 9. Doug Kalitta.
FUNNY CAR: 1. John Force vs. 16. Bob Bode; 2. Cruz Pedregon vs. 15. Gary Densham; 3. Robert Hight vs. 14. Jim Head; 4. Mike Neff vs. 13. Johnny Gray; 5. Matt Hagan vs. 12. Jeff Arend; 6. Jack Beckman vs. 11. Paul Lee; 7. Tim Wilkerson vs. 10. Ron Capps; 8. Bob Tasca III vs. 9. Tony Pedregon.
PRO STOCK: 1. Mike Edwards vs. 16. Richard Freeman; 2. Jason Line vs. 15. Larry Morgan; 3. Allen Johnson vs. 14. Kurt Johnson; 4. Ron Krisher vs. 13. V. Gaines; 5. Ronnie Humphrey vs. 12. Shane Gray; 6. Vincent Nobile vs. 11. Warren Johnson; 7. Greg Stanfield vs. 10. Greg Anderson; 8. Rodger Brogdon vs. 9. Erica Enders.
9:25 a.m. – Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and final eliminations for the 12th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals.
The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies today and a high of 80 degrees. Pre-race ceremonies for the 12th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals are scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m. (PDT) and pro eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. Make sure to check back here throughout the day for the latest news, results and driver interviews.