Morgan Lucas continued to make Top Fuel headlines Friday as he raced to the qualifying lead
at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Lucas, who won two weeks ago in Gainesville, Fla. with a dominating performance, rallied from a 10th place effort in the opening round of qualifying to vault to the No. 1 spot during the day’s final session with a leading run of 3.817 seconds at 321.96 mph in his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster.
“The first session we were a little overcenter, and Aaron [Brooks, crew chief] just went back and was going to back it down, but we went back up there with generally the same setup,” Lucas said. “We just made a couple of small tweaks, and it went right down there. I’m really proud of the whole team, and it’s been a lot of fun to drive this car.
“If somehow we can make it through tomorrow and stay No. 1, it would be a really cool thing for us to start the season with three out of four races being No. 1 qualifier.”
Spencer Massey was second with a 3.825 at 322.88 in his FRAM dragster and Clay Millican was third in his Parts Plus dragster with a 3.844 at 318.77. Series points leader Tony Schumacher was fourth overall with a 3.849 at 318.09 in his U.S. Army dragster.
In Funny Car, Robert Hight, winner of the last two races, powered his Auto Club Ford Mustang to a leading performance of 4.132 at 310.41.
“Everybody struggled the first run, so I think everybody was erring on the side of caution for the night run,” Hight said. “Based on what everybody ran the first run, you’ve got to be cautious and make sure you get down there. Jimmy [Prock, crew chief] told me he thought it would run a .12 or .13, so it’s really cool right now because he definitely has a handle on this race car. It says a lot when you can go from a place like Gainesville and then we’re here and we’re halfway in elevation to Denver from sea level and make the changes and have it respond and run that close to what you think it will run. Good job to Jimmy Prock, and you can see the confidence in him. He’s just so confident in all the moves he’s making, and it’s a lot of fun to drive this thing right now. The confidence is there when you can see your crew chief and how confident he is. Maybe that 4.13 won’t stick, but for today it was No. 1, and we’re happy.”
Two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon was second in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry with a 4.159 at 306.19, while Bob Tasca III was second in his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang with a 4.165 at 303.23.
Defending world champion Line raced to the top of the order in Pro Stock, covering the distance in 6.659 at 207.34 in his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GXP.
“This is probably the nicest run I’ve made this year,” Line said. “To be able to outrun Mike Edwards, who always runs well here, is an accomplishment. And because it is a Summit-sponsored race and we’re in [team owner] Ken Black’s home town, it makes it all the better. We were a little bit soft in the first round, and I still think there’s at least a hundredth or more left in the car. It was important for us to qualify well today because of the forecasts for winds tomorrow.”
Edwards, who won both races here last season and holds both ends of the track record, was second with a 6.669 at 207.30 in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac and Allen Johnson was third in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger with a 6.679 at 206.92.
Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday’s eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
LAS VEGAS -- Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 13th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, fourth of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Morgan Lucas, 3.817 seconds, 321.96 mph; 2. Spencer Massey, 3.825, 322.88; 3. Clay Millican, 3.844, 318.77; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.849, 318.09; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.851, 321.81; 6. Bob Vandergriff, 3.871, 322.81; 7. Doug Kalitta, 3.894, 315.78; 8. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.897, 316.45; 9. Brandon Bernstein, 3.933, 311.56; 10. Terry McMillen, 3.959, 280.66; 11. Steve Torrence, 3.960, 308.99; 12. Troy Buff, 3.981, 299.20. Not Qualified: 13. Antron Brown, 3.994, 309.98; 14. Cory McClenathan, 4.008, 303.23; 15. Damien Harris, 4.232, 270.00; 16. David Grubnic, 4.318, 194.30; 17. Steven Chrisman, 4.333, 279.96; 18. Steve Faria, 4.450, 229.08.
Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.132, 310.41; 2. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Solara, 4.159, 306.19; 3. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.165, 303.23; 4. Gary Densham, Dodge Charger, 4.181, 300.00; 5. Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.186, 296.70; 6. John Force, Mustang, 4.196, 305.77; 7. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.196, 299.06; 8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.211, 302.82; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.212, 292.20; 10. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.244, 304.39; 11. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.274, 291.70; 12. Terry Haddock, Chevy Impala, 4.282, 292.01. Not Qualified: 13. Tony Pedregon, 4.347, 242.76; 14. Jon Capps, 4.366, 258.07; 15. Alexis DeJoria, 4.382, 253.71; 16. Bob Bode, 4.501, 248.57; 17. James Day, 4.846, 173.29; 18. Todd Lesenko, 5.050, 167.05; 19. Jim Head, 5.953, 118.33; 20. Ron Capps, 6.689, 92.68; 21. Jeff Arend, 7.293, 83.71.
Pro Stock -- 1. Jason Line, Pontiac GXP, 6.659, 207.34; 2. Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.669, 207.30; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.679, 206.92; 4. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.693, 206.10; 5. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.697, 206.35; 6. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.706, 205.98; 7. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.713, 206.54; 8. Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.721, 205.57; 9. Chris McGaha, Avenger, 6.721, 204.45; 10. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.722, 206.07; 11. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, 6.725, 205.66; 12. Greg Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 6.727, 204.88. Not Qualified: 13. Kurt Johnson, 6.728, 205.10; 14. Steve Kent, 6.741, 205.04; 15. Shane Gray, 6.766, 204.73; 16. Gordie Rivera, 6.874, 200.83; 17. Larry Morgan, 6.968, 176.95; 18. V. Gaines, 8.413, 116.59.
The first day of qualifying for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals is in the record books and Morgan Lucas is the day’s No. 1 Qualifier in the Top Fuel Dragster ranks.
Lucas went to the head of the class with a 1,000-ft. run of 3.817 sec./321.96 mph.
“I’m really proud of this crew,” said Lucas. “It would be really cool to be No. 1 (Qualifier) in three of the first four races so far this year.”
Tony Schumacher dropped to No. 4. Antron Brown are on the outside looking in, sitting outside the top 12 at 13th and 14th, respectively.
Pro qualifying (Top Fuel Dragster, Funny Car and Pro Stock) resumes Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Second round of Pro Stock qualifying hit the track at 4:40 p.m. Jason Line still sits atop the heap. And still on the outside looking in are: Kurt Johnson, Steve Kent, Shane Gray, Gordie Rivera, Larry Morgan and V Gaines. They’ll have two more opportunities to improve their lot on Saturday.
The second round of Funny Car qualifying saw Johnny Gray drop from No. 1 to 10th place as the field picked up speed and his second qualifying run went up in tire smoke. Robert Hight currently is the No. 1 Qualifier at 4.132 sec./310.41 mph.
“Based on what everyone ran in the first run you had to be cautious. You had to be sure you got down there. Jimmy told me he thought it would run 4.12 or 4.13. It is really cool right now because he really has a handle on this Funny Car. It says a lot when you can go from a place like Gainesville and Phoenix and then here where we are half way in elevation to Denver here,” said Hight. “Good job to Jimmy Prock and my guys. You can see the confidence in him. As a driver you feel good because you are not sitting in the car watching someone make a lot of changes and being nervous. He goes in there and makes a change and boom it runs good. It is a lot of fun to run this thing right now.
“All four of our Ford Mustangs are qualified. With the winds coming who know what tomorrow will bring. I really hope we get to run because we have (crew chief legends) Dale Armstrong and Ron Armstrong and we have some things we want to test. We are going to use the first run tomorrow to do some testing. We are definitely going to test on Monday. We have some things that maybe will catapult us out here a little bit,” added Hight.
Ron Capps still struggling with his qualifying runs: He currently sits 20th in a 21-car field. Jeff Arend is struggling too: he’s at the bottom of the list at 7.293 sec. Courtney Force moved up to 11th and Alexis DeJoria dropped to 15th after a hair-raising ride on her second pass. Jon Capps made his first pass of the day and is 14th with a pass of 4.366 sec.
First round of Top Fuel Dragster qualifying: Tony “Sarge” Schumacher is No. 1 in the first round at 3.915 sec./309.34 mph. Steve Torrence is second, Spencer Massey is third. Completing the top 12: Bob Vandergriff, Antron Brown, Cory McClenathan, Shawn Langdon, Khalid Albalooshi, Doug Kalitta, Morgan Lucas , Brandon Bernstein and Steve Chrisman. On the outside looking in: Clay Millican, Terry McMillen, Steve Faria, David Grubnic, Troy Buff and Damien Harris. No-show: Maier.
Next round of Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying is in the water box now and the pro classes are scheduled to make their second qualifying attempts at 5 p.m.
First round of Funny Car qualifying: Surprise! Johnny Gray tops the list of 20 cars. Gray toured the track at 4.244 sec./304.39 mph. Beckman is second, Hagan is third. Nice run for Alexis DeJoria – she’s fourth with a pass of 4.382 sec./253.71 mph. Completing the top 12 are: Bode, Hight, T. Pedregon, Wilkerson, Lesenko, Day, Densham, J. Force. Outside the top 12 so far are: C. Force, Neff, Tasca, C. Pedregon, Capps, Haddock, Arend and Head. No-show: Jon Capps.
First round of Pro Stock qualifying: Jason Line (Summit Dodge) tops the list in the first round (6.679 sec./206.99 mph).Completing the top 12 in the first round are: Allen Johnson, Mike Edwards, Greg Anderson, Ron Krisher, Roger Brogden, Ronnie Humphrey, Jeg Coughlin, Greg Stanfield, Steve Kent, Vincent Nobile and Chris McGaha. Outside the top 12 so far: Kurt Johnson, Erica Enders, Shane Gray, Gordie Rivera, V Gaines and Larry Morgan.
Local racers entered in this weekend’s NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals include:
Jon Capps (Las Vegas, Funny Car), Justin Lamb (Henderson, Comp and Super Gas classes), Robert Cruzen (Las Vegas, Super Stock class), Jeff Davison (N. Las Vegas, Super Stock class), Dwight Machael and Earl Blake (both Las Vegas and Stock class), John and Jon Irving (Boulder City, Stock class), Errol Farmer and Paul Wong (both Las Vegas and Stock class), George Garbiso and Bill Koski (both Las Vegas and Super Comp class), Meaghan Henderson (Boulder City, Super Comp class), Greg Hicks (N. Las Vegas, Super Comp class), 2011 LVMS Super Pro champion Roger Kato (N. Las Vegas, Super Gas class), Don Kruse and Chris Naffziger (both Las Vegas and Super Gas class), Jimmy Lintz and Jeff Farrar (both Las Vegas and Super Gas class) and Gary Reust (Pahrump, Super Gas).
Friday, 1:35 p.m.
Today’s first round of Top Fuel Dragster, Funny Car and Pro Stock qualifying is going to be hectic.
Top Fuel Dragster – which Antron Brown referred to yesterday as the toughest field in the history of the sport in reference to drivers with a realistic chance of winning – has 23 entries.
The Funny Car class has 19 entries, which means only three drivers will not qualify. Everyone will be watching the two female rookies: Courtney Force and Alexis DeJoria.
The Pro Stock category has 21 entries, including Erica Enders and Grace Howell.
The first round of pro qualifying begins at 2 p.m. today.
The final round of Top Alcohol Dragster eliminations from last weekend’s NHRA LucasOil Series meet will be re-run during this weekend’s NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals. Chris Demke of Sunland, Calif. was paired against Jim Whiteley. A gust of wind blew an object through the timing beams and stopped the clock in Whiteley’s lane. With a storm front coming in from the west that pushed gusts to more than 40 mph, both drivers agreed to re-run the final during the third round of Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying on Saturday afternoon.