8:40 p.m. – Comments from Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher, who earned his sixth victory of the season and the 67th of his career Sunday at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:
“It was a fun car to drive this weekend. It almost brought a little pressure back. I was starting to feel a little bit of relaxation -- we're in Vegas and I'm not actually in the points lead and I'm not actually that close and all of a sudden we've got this fast car. The thing is amazing. We tested a couple of times this year and we've been working on a couple of different things and it was just an excellent combination.
“I'm looking forward to going to Pomona. (The championship) is kind of out of my hands. We had to go out and set the national record and win the race. It's one of those miraculous things but the most fun about it is that we're in this. We haven't been written off, we're a long way out and it's a super-big long shot but we're great at coming from behind, so it's our specialty. If I lose the championship, I'm still a seven-time champ...so it's OK.”
8:25 p.m. – Comments from Funny Car driver John Force, who earned his fifth victory of the season and the 131st of his career Sunday at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:
“We had the lead all year and then at Reading we had a clutch pedal fall off and couldn't get the car in reverse and didn't get a chance to race and (Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan) took advantage of it. He's a great racer -- I really love the kid. It's a long shot but we did good and then we got him in the finals.
“I've been 25 years with (primary Sponsor) Castrol. I've got another year left and I'm trying to get a five-year extension. That'll put me over 65 ... but as long as my ol' race car will do the running, I'm not leaving as long as I can do the job. I love it too much. I'm holding my own the young kids. It's all about energy. I won for so many years and after a while, you take it for granted. Then you're lying in a hospital bed (after my crash) and they're telling you you're not going to walk, possibly, or with a cane. But two and a half years go by and I stunk...maybe I should have quit. But I stuck with it and I can race again. That's been my whole life.”
8:05 p.m. – Comments from Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson, who earned his fifth victory of the season and the 65th of his career Sunday at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:
“That was pretty cool. We've got a lot of pride, Jason and I, and I think we’ve proved over many, many years now that we don't ever do any team orders or take any dives and we're not going to start now. If you're going to win, you've got to feel good about yourself and there just wasn't going to be any other way. It was a great race – a wonderful race – and I love racing Jason. He's a great competitor and he's a great teammate.”
(On winning the race in team owner Ken Black’s return to the track after a lengthy illness:) “I couldn't have drawn this weekend up on paper if I had asked the Lord for everything in the world. Every wish I could ever (ask for), they all came true today. It was a wonderful, wonderful day and I really hope this goes a long way to Ken's recovery; I can't think of a better medicine for the man. This is the best day I've ever had at a racetrack as far as the KB Racing goes – or any race team I've been with before. This is the coolest thing that's happened to me in a long, long time and what feels the best is that I know it's going to help Ken Black.”
7:50 p.m. – Comments from Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet, who earned his fifth victory of the season and the fifth of his career Sunday at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:
“I don't want to wake up. It's just been an awesome year since after Brainerd. We came into the Countdown seventh and after Indy we were number two. We've really been on a roll since Indy and we've just got to keep this momentum going and see what happens. That Harley team (of Andrew Hines) is going to be tough to beat. Andrew's been in this position before. He's a really good rider and we just need to keep our heads straight and if it happens, it happens.
“The pressure is there, I just try not to think about it. We came out here and I had a couple horrible lights in the first couple of rounds but, thankfully, we got the round wins and I was able to step up each round on the tree. That (6.948-second pass) in the semi really came out of nowhere – it was just crazy to see that and it really brought our confidence up.”
6:14 p.m. – Final results from the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Top Fuel: Tony Schumacher (3.845 at 316.60) def. Dom Lagana (3.987 at 274.39).
Funny Car: John Force (4.232 at 281.36) def. Matt Hagan (6.925 at 110.96).
Pro Stock: Greg Anderson (6.654 at 207.43) def. Jason Line (6.656 at 207.46).
Pro Stock Motorcycle: LE Tonglet (6.957 at 188.86) def. Matt Smith (6.983 at 189.07).
Check back shortly for comments from the winning racers.
4:49 p.m. – Semifinals winners and final-round matchup in Pro Stock Motorcycle:
LE Tonglet (6.948 at 190.22) def. Jim Underdahl (6.988 at 190.78); Matt Smith (7.037 at 187.73) def. Andrew Hines (7.041 at 189.82).
Final: Tonglet vs. Smith.
4:46 p.m. – Semifinals winners and final-round matchup in Pro Stock:
Greg Anderson (6.677 at 207.53) def. Shane Gray (foul); Jason Line (6.652 at 207.11) def. Greg Stanfield (6.664 at 206.32).
Final: Line vs. Anderson.
4:38 p.m. – Semifinals winners and final-round matchup in Funny Car:
John Force (4.130 at 307.72) def. Bob Tasca III (5.962 at 122.71); Matt Hagan (4.097 at 304.80) def. Ashley Force Hood (9.160 at 74.91).
Final: Hagan vs. J. Force.
4:31 p.m. – Semifinals winners and final-round matchup in Top Fuel:
Dom Lagana (3.892 at 312.06) def. Antron Brown (3.951 at 283.13); Tony Schumacher (3.808 at 323.12) def. David Grubnic (3.993 at 238.64).
Final: Schumacher vs. Lagana.
3:30 p.m. – Second-round winners and semifinals matchups in Pro Stock Motorcycle:
Jim Underdahl def. Shawn Gann; Matt Smith def. Karen Stoffer; LE Tonglet def. Hector Arana; Andrew Hines def. Eddie Krawiec (foul).
Semifinals: LE Tonglet vs. Underdahl; Hines vs. Smith.
3:23 p.m. – Second-round winners and semifinals matchups in Pro Stock:
Greg Stanfield def. Allen Johnson; Shane Gray def. Bob Yonke (foul); Greg Anderson def. Jeg Coughlin; Jason Line def. Ronnie Humphrey (foul).
Semifinals: Stanfield vs. Line; S. Gray vs. Anderson.
3:10 p.m. – Second-round winners and semifinals matchups in Funny Car:
Bob Tasca III def. Ron Capps; Ashley Force Hood def. Jack Beckman; Matt Hagan def. Jim Head; John Force def. Melanie Troxel.
Semifinals: Force Hood vs. Hagan; J. Force vs. Tasca III.
2:58 p.m. – Second-round winners and semifinals matchups in Top Fuel:
Dom Lagana def. Larry Dixon; David Grubnic def. Steve Torrence; Antron Brown def. Mark Mariani; Tony Schumacher def. Shawn Langdon.
Semifinals: Schumacher vs. Grubnic; Brown vs. Lagana.
1:38 p.m. – First-round winners and second-round matchups in Pro Stock Motorcycle:
LE Tonglet def. Bailey Whitaker; Eddie Krawiec def. Matt Guidera; Andrew Hines def. Craig Treble; Matt Smith def. Michael Phillips; Jim Underdahl def. David Hope; Shawn Gann def. Angie Smith; Karen Stoffer def. Steve Johnson; Hector Arana def. Scotty Pollacheck.
Second round: Arana vs. Tonglet; Underdahl vs. Gann; Krawiec vs. Hines; Stoffer vs. Smith.
1:27 p.m. – First-round winners and second-round matchups in Pro Stock:
Greg Stanfield def. Mike Edwards; Shane Gray def. Kurt Johnson; Greg Anderson def. Rodger Brogdon; Bob Yonke def. V Gaines (foul); Jeg Coughlin def. Dave Connolly; Jason Line def. Larry Morgan; Allen Johnson def. Johnny Gray; Ronnie Humphrey def. Ron Krisher (foul).
Second round: A. Johnson vs. Stanfield; Humphrey vs. Line; Yonke vs. S. Gray; Coughlin vs. Anderson.
12:56 p.m. – First-round winners and second-round matchups in Funny Car:
Melanie Troxel def. Tim Wilkerson; Jim Head def. Cruz Pedregon; Ashley Force Hood def. Paul Lee; Ron Capps def. Del Worsham; John Force def. Jeff Arend; Matt Hagan def. Tony Pedregon; Bob Tasca III def. Gary Densham; Jack Beckman def. Bob Bode.
Second-round: Force Hood vs. Beckman; Head vs. Hagan; J. Force vs. Troxel; Capps vs. Tasca III.
11:38 a.m. – First-round winners and second-round matchups in Top Fuel:
Shawn Langdon def. Brandon Bernstein; Antron Brown def. T.J. Zizzo; Dom Lagana def. Clay Millican; Steve Torrence def. Chris Karamesines; David Grubnic def. Scott Palmer; Larry Dixon def. Troy Buff; Tony Schumacher def. Bob Vandergriff; Mark Mariani def. Cory McClenathan.
Second round: Schumacher vs. Langdon; Grubnic vs. Torrence; Mariani vs. Brown; Dixon vs. Lagana.
9:55 a.m. – Here are the first-round pairings for today’s professional eliminations:
TOP FUEL: 1. Tony Schumacher vs. 16. Bob Vandergriff; 2. Cory McClenathan vs. 15. Mark Mariani; 3. Larry Dixon vs. 14. Troy Buff; 4. David Grubnic vs. 13. Scott Palmer; 5. Steve Torrence vs. 12. Chris Karamesines; 6. Clay Millican vs. 11. Dom Lagana; 7. T.J. Zizzo vs. 10. Antron Brown; 8. Brandon Bernstein vs. 9. Shawn Langdon.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ashley Force Hood vs. 16. Paul Lee; 2. John Force vs. 15. Jeff Arend; 3. Ron Capps vs. 14. Del Worsham; 4. Cruz Pedregon vs. 13. Jim Head; 5. Matt Hagan vs. 12. Tony Pedregon; 6. Bob Tasca III vs. 11. Gary Densham; 7. Tim Wilkerson vs. 10. Melanie Troxel; 8. Bob Bode vs. 9. Jack Beckman.
PRO STOCK: 1. Allen Johnson vs. 16. Johnny Gray; 2. V Gaines vs. 15. Bob Yonke; 3. Jeg Coughlin vs. 14. Dave Connolly; 4. Ron Krisher vs. 13. Ronnie Humphrey; 5. Jason Line vs. 12. Larry Morgan; 6. Rodger Brogdon vs. 11. Greg Anderson; 7. Shane Gray vs. 10. Kurt Johnson; 8. Greg Stanfield vs. 9. Mike Edwards.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Hector Arana vs. 16. Scotty Pollacheck; 2. Eddie Krawiec vs. 15. Matt Guidera; 3. Karen Stoffer vs. 14. Steve Johnson; 4. Jim Underdahl vs. 13. David Hope; 5. Shawn Gann vs. 12. Angie Smith; 6. Matt Smith vs. 11. Michael Phillips; 7. Andrew Hines vs. 10. Craig Treble; 8. Bailey Whitaker vs. 9. LE Tonglet.
9:35 a.m. – Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and final eliminations for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals. After a blustery day yesterday, today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, a high of 74 degrees and a light breeze not expected to exceed 5 mph.
Pre-race ceremonies for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals get underway at 10 a.m. and pro eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Make sure to check back here throughout the day for the latest news, results and driver interviews.
9:55 p.m. – Racing resumes at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 8 a.m. Sunday with Sportsman eliminations. Pre-race ceremonies for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals begin at 10 a.m. and final pro eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Good night from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and be sure to check back Sunday for updates throughout the day.
9:50 p.m. – Comments from Ashley Force Hood, the top qualifier in Funny Car:
“We’re really happy with the car and we’re really pumped for tomorrow. Of course, everybody wants to go for a (national record) but I’d rather take a good run any day than not get down the track. With the changing conditions here earlier, we were hoping to maybe get delayed a little to get to run in that cool temperature. Then we got really, really delayed and I worried, ‘is it getting too cold?’ You hate to wait all that time and go 10 feet on your run so I was really excited to know I was on a really good run. I’m surprised that more cars didn’t step up and run quicker. I was really proud of my team that despite all those distractions, we still managed to have a really good run.
“I’ve never been in this long of a session but you get past the point of being worried about it and it is what it is. I’m just glad we made a good pass, that it was worth it in the end to see a couple of good passes. It made it worth the wait for the handful of fans that stuck it out.”
9:30 p.m. – Here are the top 16 qualifiers in Funny Car for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:
1. Ashley Force Hood; 2. John Force; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Cruz Pedregon; 5. Matt Hagan; 6. Bob Tasca III; 7. Tim Wilkerson; 8. Bob Bode; 9. Jack Beckman; 10. Melanie Troxel; 11. Gary Densham; 12. Tony Pedregon; 13. Jim Head; 14. Del Worsham; 15. Jeff Arend; 16. Paul Lee.
8:25 p.m. – Comments from Tony Schumacher, the top qualifier in Top Fuel:
“(The delay) is not what you hope for but NHRA does the best they can do and I’m sure the guys that oil the track down, they’re not trying to do it. We’re supposed to be running at 3:30 and home having a nice dinner and watching the freaky people dress up in Vegas on Halloween … and here we are, it’s 8 o’clock at night and Funny Car has just started. Long day but tomorrow will be great.
“Now it’s cold. These guys in Funny Cars right now -- and most of us in Top Fuel -- the conditions are cold. The track is 68 degrees; it’s just a little bit too cold. I look forward to tomorrow. I wouldn’t want to race against my car tomorrow. I think we have an incredible car. We definitely have the tune-up for this racetrack in these conditions.”
8:15 p.m. – Jeff Diehl was involved in a serious crash early in the final round of Funny Car qualifying but he appears to have escaped injury.
Diehl’s car broke loose at half-track and slammed head-on into the right-hand wall. The body broke loose from the chassis as Diehl’s car burst into flames but Diehl climbed from the cockpit moments after it came to a stop beyond the finish line.
“It was a hit – it took my breath away,” a visibly shaken Diehl said several minutes after the incident. “It shook and I lifted the throttle but it hung wide open. I don’t know what it hung on. I just had to ride it out.
“I was scared I was going to hit Robert (Hight). What a mess. I’m just embarrassed – what can I say?”
7:50 p.m. – Here are the top 16 qualifiers in Top Fuel for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:
Tony Schumacher; 2. Cory McClenathan; 3. Larry Dixon; 4. David Grubnic; 5. Steve Torrence; 6. Clay Millican; 7. T.J. Zizzo; 8. Brandon Bernstein; 9. Shawn Langdon; 10. Antron Brown; 11. Dom Lagana; 12. Chris Karamesines; 13. Scott Palmer; 14. Troy Buff; 15. Mark Mariani; 16. Bob Vandergriff.
7 p.m. – Comments from Allen Johnson, the top qualifier in Pro Stock:
“We knew that this (last) run would be the best one (after the long delay earlier in the day). When the sun goes down, the track gets awesome here so we knew we had to get after it to keep (the pole) and that’s what we did – we stepped it up. This is the second race in a row where Dodges are one and two.”
6:54 p.m. – Comments from Hector Arana, the top qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle:
“As you can see, we’re going in the right direction. For me, it means everything to come back (after struggling this season). We had a problem, we fixed it and we came back. I’m going to try to relax so I can have a good night’s sleep and concentrate for tomorrow.”
6:15 p.m. – Here are the top 16 qualifiers in Pro Stock for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:
1. Allen Johnson; 2. V Gaines; 3. Jeg Coughlin; 4. Ron Krisher; 5. Jason Line; 6. Rodger Brogdon; 7. Shane Gray; 8. Greg Stanfield; 9. Mike Edwards; 10. Kurt Johnson; 11. Greg Anderson; 12. Larry Morgan; 13. Ronnie Humphrey; 14. Dave Connolly; 15. Bob Yonke; 16. Johnny Gray.
5:40 p.m. – Here are the top 16 qualifiers in Pro Stock Motorcycle for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals:
1. Hector Arana; 2. Eddie Krawiec; 3. Karen Stoffer; 4. Jim Underdahl; 5. Shawn Gann; 6. Matt Smith; 7. Andrew Hines; 8. Bailey Whitaker; 9. LE Tonglet; 10. Craig Treble; 11. Michael Phillips; 12. Angie Smith; 13. David Hope; 14. Steve Johnson; 15. Matt Guidera; 16. Scotty Pollacheck.
4:05 p.m. – Among the notable spectators at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday include Patrick Carpentier, a NASCAR driver and former open-wheel racer who lives in Las Vegas, and Rod Fuller, a seven-time winner in the NHRA Top Fuel category and a Las Vegas resident.
3:55 p.m. – Ashley Force Hood, John Force and Cruz Pedregon remained atop the Funny Car speed chart after three rounds of qualifying. Ron Capps posted the quickest run of the session at 4.092 seconds and moved up two spots to No. 6.
3:05 p.m. – After several lengthy delays for oil-downs and a track cleanup, the third round of Top Fuel qualifying has ended in spectacular fashion. Tony Schumacher backed up his national speed-record run from yesterday (325.14 mph) with a blistering pass of 3.816 seconds at 324.12 mph – within the 1 percent required to certify Friday’s run as the record. Schumacher remained the top qualifier, Cory McClenathan moved up to No. 2 and Larry Dixon is No. 3.
12:50 p.m. – Allen Johnson turned in the quickest and fastest pass of the weekend (6.651 seconds at 207.82 mph) and retained the No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock after three rounds. V Gaines moved up to No. 2 (6.665 at 206.39) and Mike Edwards is No. 3 (6.671 at 207.02).
12:30 p.m. – Hector Arana improved on his qualifying time in the third round with a 6.922-second pass (190.30 mph) and remained the top Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifier after three rounds. Karen Stoffer (6.956 at 192.22) improved to No. 2 and Jim Underdahl (6.961 at 193.24) moved up to No. 3.
12:20 p.m. – Matt Smith, commenting on his wild ride into the sand after his third-round qualifying run:
“I’m OK, but I hit my head pretty good. But I’m all right. I just got down there and I had no brakes whatsoever. There was nothing I could do but hold on.”
12:03 p.m. – Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Matt Smith had trouble stopping his bike at the end of his third-round qualifying run today and dumped his bike in the sand pit at the top end of the track. Smith walked away from his bike under his own power and appeared to have suffered no serious injuries, although he will be checked out by NHRA medical personnel.
11:30 a.m. – Jack Beckman knows he has his work cut out for him if he is to leapfrog John Force and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan and win the NHRA Funny Car world championship.
Beckman entered the weekend trailing Hagan by 93 points and second-place Force by 29 points and finds himself seventh in qualifying after two rounds. Force is the No. 2 qualifier and Hagan is No. 4 going into this morning’s action.
“It’s a tough situation to be in,” Beckman said. “We’re basically five rounds out of the points lead and the way that (Hagan) has been qualifying, we can’t let them out-qualify us because if they gain eight more points, that’s an extra round for us to have to make up and we’ve only got eight rounds left.
“We have to make the final round here and we have to hope they lose early – and that’s never the way that you want to win a championship. You don’t want to go in and rely on somebody else struggling; you want to do it off your performance. But that’s where we’re at. At the end of the day, we still have a realistic shot at the championship but to be able to say that going into (the season finale in) Pomona, we have to make a final round here.”
Beckman said he likes his chances this weekend because he counts Las Vegas as his favorite track on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
“Coming back to Vegas and Pomona to end the season are my two home tracks,” he said. “I taught at the drag-racing school (at Pomona) for 10 years and Vegas, of all the NHRA tracks, I definitely have the most amount of runs at Vegas because with my Sportsman car, I used to come out and race here all the time. It’s my favorite racetrack. It’s always safe, it’s always prepped well, it’s got an uphill shutdown area, it’s got paved pits, it’s got wonderful grandstands and it’s got great atmosphere with the town here. It’s my favorite place to race.”
10:50 a.m. – Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the final two rounds of professional qualifying for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals. It’s partly cloudy and 63 degrees with winds gusting to 20 mph out of the southwest. The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, a high of 74 degrees and wind gusts to 25 mph.
The third round of professional qualifying is scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m. with Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock, followed immediately by the third round of Nitro qualifying. The fourth and final round of pro qualifying is scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m.
Check back here throughout the day, as we’ll be updating this blog with news, results and driver interviews.
7:30 p.m. – Just a reminder that racing will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday with Sportsman Eliminations. Another beautiful day is on tap with a projected high of 75 degrees. Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 11:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. and Nitro qualifying will be at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Good night from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and be sure to check here Saturday and Sunday for continual updates from the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals.
7:10 p.m. – Comments from Tony Schumacher, the provisional pole-sitter in Top Fuel following two rounds of qualifying:
(Schumacher turned in the fastest pass in NHRA history at 325.14 miles per hour.) “It’d be real good if it came with 20 points – or 40, that’d be even better. The car is fast and we know it’s fast and we know we have a great racecar. It’s funny, we’ve won six championships in a row and it doesn’t look like we’re going to win (this) one. Everyone is, ‘Oh, my God, what are you going to do?’ Well, I’m going to wake up and race. I love racing and I don’t get down on it. We’ve won five races this year. (Larry) Dixon has won 12 and that’s an amazing accomplishment but we’ve won the second most. We’re just going to go out and try to win the last two races and not let Larry get all the money. (Dixon’s team) is having one of those years and you’ve got to respect that. They’re running good and we’ve had those years where nothing can go wrong. I wish it wasn’t happening and I’d love to be out there and giving a better battle than maybe we have but, in reality, they have that good of a team ... they’re going to go out and win a lot of races.”
7 p.m. – Comments from Ashley Force Hood, the provisional pole-sitter in Funny Car following two rounds of qualifying:
“Sometimes you just have that magic and it runs maybe even a little better than you thought it would. I’m excited and our team’s excited. We’re really pumped because we got down both runs today and that’s a great way to start a weekend here in Vegas. It’s been fun so far. We’re approaching each round just trying to run the best possible run we can. We’re not thinking about records, we’re not thinking about other people in the field … we’re just going to take each run as it goes. We had a good run today and we’d really love to get two more good ones tomorrow because then you feel confident for Sunday and that’s going to be similar conditions.”
6:45 p.m. – Comments from Hector Arana, the provisional pole-sitter in Pro Stock Motorcycle following two rounds of qualifying:
“Earlier, we struggled with the performance of the bike; there was something going on and we’ve found it – it’s back. We made that awesome run and we thought that we could probably improve a little bit but I downloaded the run and it’s lost. It’s lost and I can’t find it in the computer. That’s how it goes sometime. Hopefully we can download this one so tomorrow we can repeat what we did earlier. I’m still happy. We were totally blind and we did some things to guess at it and we went the wrong way.
“I’ve not considered knocking anyone out, only the ones that I’m racing against on Sunday. I’ve worked hard and I would like to finish the season with a win and that’s my goal, to see if I could grab two.”
6:18 p.m. – Tony Schumacher saved the best for last, turning in a pass of 3.812 seconds at a track-record speed of 325.14 mph and reclaiming the provisional pole in Top Fuel. Larry Dixon, who held the provisional pole briefly after his 3.825-second pass, is No. 2 and Steve Torrence is No. 3 after two rounds of qualifying.
5:34 p.m. – Ashley Force Hood knocked her father, John Force, off the provisional pole with a blistering run of 4.032 seconds at 309.70 mph in the second round of Funny Car qualifying. John Force is in the No. 2 spot after a second-round run of 4.059 at 311.70. Cruz Pedregon is third based on his first-round run (4.087 at 304.67).
4:45 p.m. – Allen Johnson grabbed the provisional pole with a pass of 6.660 seconds at 207.46 mph in the second round of Pro Stock qualifying. Mike Edwards is second and Roger Brogdon is third after two rounds.
4:01 p.m. – Hector Arana held onto the top qualifying spot after two rounds in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Eddie Krawiec remained No. 2 and Karen Stoffer made the quickest pass of the session (7.001 seconds at 190.46) and moved up one spot to third.
3:55 p.m. – John Force has won 14 Funny Car world championships and knows what it will take to win a 15th. Force, who has not won a season championship since 2006, said playing it safe is not the way to overcome his 64-point deficit to front-runner Matt Hagan.
“Our approach is very simple,” Force said. “I need to win these next two races. I need to eat up points in every round of qualifying and I’m hoping to get a shot at the national record. But if (Hagan) goes a couple rounds here and a couple rounds at Pomona, it’s over.
“We’re excited because we can’t go in and wait for him to fail; we have to go in and win every point that’s on the table or else it’s just his to grab. I’ve played this game for 33 years and you can’t go in this just hoping he’s going to get beat first round or he’s going to have a clutch pedal fall off like we did. It’s too good a team, too good a talent, too good a driver to make mistakes so we’re just going to outrun him. We’re going to go after him and hit him out of the box. We’ve got a big task but we’ve done our homework in the last two weeks and we’re ready.”
It is a lean Castrol GTX Ford Mustang that Force has brought to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s NHRA Las Vegas Nationals.
“We’ve put our car on a diet – we’ve pulled everything but safety off of it and we’ve got it down 30 pounds and about 10 pounds with me,” he said.
3:30 p.m. – Six-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher knows he has his work cut out for him if he is to win a seventh consecutive world championship.
Schumacher is third in points, 154 points behind Larry Dixon, with two races remaining, and isn’t hopeful that he’ll be able to pass second-place Cory McClenathan and Dixon in the final two races.
“I hope I have several more (championships) in me but we’re a long way back,” said Schumacher, who has five victories this season. “Unfortunately, we’re not going to pull this one off. It would take every miracle – and then some – and it’s just impossible.
“We’re still going to show up try to win the race (but) it doesn’t matter; the championship is too far away from me and that’s a fact. But the sixth win (of the season) is not. The sixth win comes from winning the next four rounds and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Although the local oddsmakers have installed Dixon as the favorite to win this weekend’s NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, it wouldn’t be smart to bet against Schumacher. The driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster has won this event three times and has five career victories (as does Dixon) at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
3:08 p.m. – Tony Schumacher wrapped up the first round of pro qualifying by posting the quickest time in Top Fuel with a pass of 3.871 seconds at 321.73 mph. Cory McClenathan was second at 3.892 (316.01) and Clay Millican was third at 3.932 (301.20). Top Fuel points leader Larry Dixon did not make a full pass and was ninth.
1:52 p.m. – Cruz Pedregon snagged the provisional pole with a pass of 4.087 seconds at 304.67 mph in the first round of Funny Car qualifying. Bob Tasca III was second quickest at 4.092 (309.20) and Ashley Force Hood was third at 4.105 (306.40). Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan was No. 8 while John Force, who trails Hagan by 64 points going into the weekend, did not make a full pass and was 13th.
1:20 p.m. – Mike Edwards, who trails points leader Greg Anderson by 36 points going into the weekend, grabbed the provisional pole after the first round of Pro Stock qualifying with a pass of 6.667 at 206.42 mph. Rodger Brogdon was second quickest at 6.670 (206.01) and Allen Johnson was third at 6.671 (207.08).
Nitro qualifying is underway.
12:43 p.m. – Hector Arana holds the provisional pole after the first round of qualifying in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Arana’s pass at 6.929 seconds (192.30 mph) put him atop the chart, ahead of No. 2 qualifier Eddie Krawiec (6.933 at 194.13) and No. 3 Andrew Hines (7.002 at 192.19).
11:55 a.m. – Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where it’s shaping up as a gorgeous day for the first two rounds of professional qualifying for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals.
It’s sunny and 64 degrees with a slight breeze (3 mph) as the Pro Mod racers are beginning their first qualifying session.
Professional qualifying will begin shortly with Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock, followed immediately by the first round of Nitro qualifying. The second round of pro qualifying is scheduled to begin at 3:45 p.m.
Check back here often, as we’ll be updating this blog throughout the weekend with news, results and driver interview
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and it has nothing to do with Andy Williams, carols or sleigh bells. This is about drag racing at more than 300 mph in Las Vegas on Halloween Weekend.
The treat is everything offered to drag racing fans. The trick is to take it all in during the five-day speed spree.
The weekend actually kicks off on Wednesday, with the seventh annual Cards for Kids Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament at the Cannery Hotel & Casino on Craig Rd. at 6 p.m. You can play poker against some of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series’ biggest stars, including Jack Beckman, Brandon Bernstein, Cory McClenathan, Morgan Lucas, Melanie Troxel and Shawn Langdon. All money raised goes to a great cause: The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Join the fun, rub elbows with some of the biggest names in professional drag racing – and maybe take home some cash.
Three – count ‘em – three free driver autograph sessions will take place on Thursday, enabling fans to meet just about every top driver in all four pro classes. Check our schedule for locations and times.
On Friday, the Funny Car, Top Fuel Dragster, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle action begins at America’s Greatest Drag Strip. The NHRA Las Vegas Nationals is the next-to-last race on the 2010 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule and several heated points battles are coming our way.
John Force trails Funny Car leader Matt Hagan but just 64 points and can make up some ground if things go his way. Cory McClenathan is battling past Las Vegas winner Larry Dixon for the Top Fuel Dragster title. Greg Anderson has salvaged his season and finds himself just 36 points ahead of last year’s pro Stock champion Mike Edwards.
The competition will be fierce. While the aforementioned drivers are battling for championships, a near-record number of drivers will be gunning for precious qualification berths and victories. The Top Fuel Dragster entry list has swelled to 27, all hoping to make the 16-car field. The usual suspects will be joined by international entries, including Lex Joon of the Netherlands, Australia’s Mark Mariani and Stig Neergaard of Denmark. Twenty-one Funny Cars are entered and the Pro Stock roster is bulging at the seams with 27 cars.
If you do not already have your tickets you can obtain an $8 discount simply by bringing an empty Full Throttle can to the ticket office.
This is one NHRA you won’t want to miss.