8:45 a.m. - Welcome to NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals race day. Stay tuned for our coverage of today's event.
10 a.m. - Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and final eliminations for the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. With an hour to go before the start of eliminations, it's 63 degrees and sunny with winds out of the southwest at 18 mph. The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 72.
Pre-race ceremonies are beginning down behind the starting line and pro eliminations will start at 11 a.m. (PDT).
Make sure to check back here throughout the day for the latest news, results and driver interviews.
10:30 a.m. - Courtney Force established a track speed and elapsed time record for a Funny Caron Saturday with her top qualifying run of 4.006 seconds at 325.37 mph. If Force can back up that speed today within 1 percent (322.1 mph), she would lay claim to the national Funny Car speed record (currently 320.66 mph by Matt Hagan).
"You can just tell when it is on that smooth, clear run," Force said of her pass. "Everything just goes perfect. I think I glanced over at (Ron) Capps on the starting line. I was trying to see if he was staged and he was trying to get in there shallow like everyone on the last session. I glanced over and made a mistake being late. It bummed me out a little but it was better to do that (Saturday) than on race day," said Force.
"My team gave me a good car. It is tunnel vision all the way down there. My team was telling me in the staging lanes that it was going to go on a good run. That just gets you so pumped up. Ron (Douglas, crew chief) came on the radio and was excited. It is always a good feeling when you hop out of your race car and your guys are cheering for you."
10:55 a.m. - Here are the first-round pairings for today's professional eliminations:
Top Fuel: 1. Antron Brown, 3.768 seconds, 325.14 mph vs. 16. Mike Strasburg, 4.138, 279.85; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.775, 323.19 vs. 15. Steve Faria, 4.038, 289.63; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.779, 324.28 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 3.936, 309.98; 4. Spencer Massey, 3.794, 323.81 vs. 13. Clay Millican, 3.874, 295.59; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.797, 324.28 vs. 12. Troy Buff, 3.858, 305.08; 6. Richie Crampton, 3.798, 320.13 vs. 11. J.R. Todd, 3.841, 310.34; 7. Brittany Force, 3.799, 315.86 vs. 10. Bob Vandergriff, 3.831, 319.52; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.815, 324.05 vs. 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.824, 313.22.
Funny Car: 1. Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 4.006, 325.37 vs. 16. Jon Capps, Chevy Impala, 4.245, 278.23; 2. John Force, Mustang, 4.017, 317.87 vs. 15. Paul Lee, Dodge Charger, 4.124, 306.81; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.023, 317.87 vs. 14. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.115, 310.13; 4. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.041, 315.71 vs. 13. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.100, 309.77; 5. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.046, 318.17 vs. 12. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.090, 309.84; 6. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.052, 315.34 vs. 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.090, 312.13; 7. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.059, 317.49 vs. 10. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.081, 311.70; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.067, 313.00 vs. 9. Chad Head, Camry, 4.076, 309.20.
Pro Stock: 1. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.625, 209.17 vs. 16. Mark Wolfe, Ford Mustang, 6.724, 205.76; 2. Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.625, 208.46 vs. 15. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.699, 206.95; 3. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.627, 209.04 vs. 14. Larry Morgan, Mustang, 6.696, 206.99; 4. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.627, 208.26 vs. 13. Matt Hartford, Dodge Avenger, 6.695, 207.46; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.630, 208.94 vs. 12. Deric Kramer, Avenger, 6.686, 207.59; 6. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.632, 208.94 vs. 11. Steve Kent, Camaro, 6.657, 207.56; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.632, 209.17 vs. 10. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.657, 209.07; 8. Jimmy Alund, Camaro, 6.639, 208.49 vs. 9. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.647, 207.72.
11:50 a.m. - First-round winners and second-round matchups in Top Fuel:
First round: J.R. Todd def. Richie Crampton; Tony Schumacher def. Troy Buff; Doug Kalitta def. Steve Faria; Antron Brown def. Mike Strasburg; Steve Torrence def. Terry McMillen; Bob Vandergriff def. Brittany Force; Spencer Massey def. Clay Millican; Shawn Langdon def. Khalid alBalooshi.
Second round: Brown vs. Langdon; Massey vs. Schumacher; Kalitta vs. Vandergriff; Torrence vs. Todd.
12:10 p.m. - Antron Brown established a track record for Top Fuel elapsed time with his first-round pass of 3.758 seconds.
12:20 p.m. - First-round winners and second-round matchups in Funny Car:
First round: Robert Hight def. Jeff Arend; Ron Capps def. Tim Wilkerson (foul); Jack Beckman def. Tommy Johnson Jr.; Courtney Force def. Jon Capps (foul); Paul Lee def. John Force; Tony Pedregon def. Del Worsham; Alexis DeJoria def. Matt Hagan; Cruz Pedregon def. Chad Head.
Second round: Courtney Force vs. Cruz Pedregon; Tony Pedregon vs. DeJoria; Lee vs. Hight; Beckman vs. Ron Capps.
1:20 p.m. - Because the wind has picked up, NHRA officials have decided to alter the schedule. They have pulled the Pro Stock cars off the staging lanes and are running Sportsman classes until the wind dies down a bit.
2 p.m. - Second-round winners and semifinals matchups in Top Fuel:
Second round: Doug Kalitta def. Bob Vandergriff; Tony Schumacher def. Spencer Massey; Antron Brown def. Shawn Langdon; Steve Torrence def. J.R. Todd.
Semifinals: Brown vs. Schumacher; Kalitta vs. Torrence.
2:28 p.m. - Second-round winners and semifinals matchups in Funny Car:
Second round: Ron Capps def. Jack Beckman; Cruz Pedregon def. Courtney Force; Robert Hight def. Paul Lee; Alexis DeJoria def. Tony Pedregon.
Semifinals: Cruz Pedregon vs. DeJoria; Hight vs. Ron Capps.
2:33 p.m. - As you can tell, NHRA officials elected to run Nitro qualifying after some Sportsman classes in the interest of safety. The Pro Stock cars and some Sportsman classes are more sensitive to the wind than the Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars, so NHRA opted to go ahead with second-round eliminations in those two classes while continuing to hold the Pro Stock cars, which have yet to run first-round eliminations.
3:08 p.m. - Nick Januik of Las Vegas won his Top Alcohol Funny Car semifinal this afternoon and will face Jay Payne of Claremont, Calif., in the final.
Other local Sportsman racers still competing include Stock Eliminator drivers Richard Ariotti of Boulder City and Las Vegans Earl Blake Jr. and Curtis Coulter.
3:25 p.m. - Semifinals winners and final-round matchup in Top Fuel:
Semifinals: Doug Kalitta (3.785 at 325.37) def. Steve Torrence (4.941 at 178.66); Tony Schumacher (3.812 at 327.43) def. Antron Brown (3.875 at 300.46).
Final: Schumacher vs. Kalitta.
3:39 p.m. - Semifinals winners and final-round matchup in Funny Car:
Semifinals: Alexis DeJoria (4.090 at 309. 34) def. Cruz Pedregon; Robert Hight (4.073 at 315.86) def. Ron Capps (4.133 at 310.84).
Final: DeJoria vs. Hight.
4:10 p.m. - First-round winners and second-round matchups in Pro Stock:
First round: Jimmy Alund def. Vincent Nobile; Shane Gray def. V Gaines; Steve Kent def. Allen Johnson; Jason Line def. Deric Kramer; Dave Connolly def. Matt Hartford; Chris McGaha def. Rodger Brogdon; Jeg Coughlin def. Mark Wolfe; Erica Enders-Stevens def. Larry Morgan.
Second round: Coughlin vs. Alund; Connolly vs. Line; McGaha vs. Gray; Enders-Stevens vs. Kent.
4:40 p.m. - Nick Januik of Las Vegas earned his first national title by defeating Jay Payne of Claremont, Calif., in the Top Alcohol Funny Car final. Januik ran a 5.631-second pass at 256.65 mph in his 2009 Chevrolet Monte Carlo while Payne crossed the center line midway down the track.
4:57 p.m. - Final results from the Nitro classes at the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Top Fuel: Tony Schumacher (3.797 at 326.16) def. Doug Kalitta (3.814 at 321.12).
Funny Car: Alexis DeJoria (4.026 at 309.98) def. Robert Hight (4.083 at 310.84).
5 p.m. - The second round of Pro Stock eliminations is coming right up and the Pro Stock champion will be crowned later.
5:10 p.m. - Second-round winners and semifinals matchups in Pro Stock:
Second round: Jimmy Alund def. Jeg Coughlin; Jason Line def. Dave Connolly; Erica Enders-Stevens def. Steve Kent; Chris McGaha def. Shane Gray.
Semifinals: Alund vs. Line; McGaha vs. Enders-Stevens.
5:15 p.m. - Stay tuned for comments from the Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher and Funny Car winner Alexis DeJoria.
6:10 p.m. - Semifinals winners and final-round matchup in Pro Stock:
Second round: Jason Line def. Jimmy Alund; Erica Enders-Stevens def. Chris McGaha.
Finals: Line vs. Enders-Stevens.
6:20 p.m. - Comments from Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher, who earned his eighth victory at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the 73rd of his career Sunday at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals:
"That final round was fantastic - I could hear (Doug Kalitta) the whole way. I think we're a better high-pressure team. We've won this race eight times - four times in the spring -- and the beginning of the year is high pressure; we've got to win. It's one of those situations where we know that there is pressure. The end of the year comes, you have to win because you're usually fighting for a championship and you're fighting for something big and we’re just a great, high-pressure team.
"This is hard out here. To get this trophy, we had to go through great teams and great drivers. Two Top Fuel Dragsters, making 10,000 horsepower, separated at the finish line by two-thousandth of a second: You can’t ask for anything more than that. It was a phenomenal race. In that final round, both drivers did a great job, both teams did a great job and the fans got their money’s worth. I was not angry we hadn’t won in a long time (since last June), I’m disappointed when we don’t win, like everyone else. There are a lot of great teams out there … and we’ve got to keep forcing this issue and make this car work."
6:48 p.m. - Comments from Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria, who earned her second victory of the season and the second pro title of her career Sunday at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals:
"It was definitely a great day at the office and to get the win for the Patron Spirits Company, based right out here. It was huge. We’ve been to a few semifinals but never made it past the semis in Nitro Funny Car here at this track. All the rounds were very tough. The first round was tough against Matt Hagan and I definitely had my work cut out for me. I always felt that we could (win). I know our team, they work so hard and it’s so frustrating to go out first round and not do well over and over again, but I try to uplift everybody and keep them motivated and focused a let them know how appreciative I am of everything they do. It’s a big deal.
"I was having a pity party for myself this morning and my husband was getting (upset) at me. I’m competitive. We wanted to be number-one qualifier, we want to be the fastest every time and we want to be in the top half of the field every time. If you don’t have that fire in you, I don’t think you’re going to win. I just needed to get past that first round and to get that was huge. It was one of those races that you want to win so bad for your guys, especially for your crew chief. This is amazing. It proves that (the win in Phoenix) wasn’t just a fluke. We definitely earned our spot on that podium in Phoenix and we definitely earned it today."
7:05 p.m. - Final results from the Pro Stock class at the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Final: Erica Enders-Stevens (6.612 at 208.78) def. Jason Line (6.633 at 208.23).
Check back shortly for comments from Enders-Stevens.
8:13 p.m. - Comments from Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens, who earned her first victory of the season and the seventh of her career Sunday at the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals:
"I couldn’t be more proud. I struggled putting it into words when we won the (K&N Horsepower) Challenge last night. This is storybook. I have the best team in the business and I couldn’t be more proud and so honored to be their driver. In the 10 years I’ve been driving Pro Stock or trying to make it happen … definitely more lows than highs. I mean, 10 years and only seven wins says what we’ve been through. It’s just about putting your head down and plugging away at it. It would have been easy to quit but that’s not part of our vocabulary. This is definitely a highlight. I’ve never won a championship but I’d say next to winning a championship, this weekend is probably the coolest thing ever in the history of the world."
8:15 p.m. – Good night from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The stars of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will return to Las Vegas Oct. 30-Nov. 2 for the 14th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-644-4444 or visit www.lvms.com.
Thank you for stopping by.