7:42 p.m. - Just a reminder that racing will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday with competition in the Sportsman classes. Pro qualifying sessions will be at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., followed by a jet dragster exhibition. Tickets are still available for both Saturday and Sunday and can be obtained by visiting www.lvms.com or by calling 800-644-4444.
Make sure to check out our coverage of the NHRA Toyota Nationals at our Facebook pages (/LVMotorSpeedway and /TheStripatLVMS).
Good night from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and be sure to check here Saturday and Sunday for updates from the 14th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals.
7:34 p.m. - Comments from provisional Top Fuel pole-sitter Richie Crampton following two rounds of qualifying:
"It's pretty exciting to leave here Friday night sitting on top of the ladder there but we've done that before and ended up getting bumped on Saturday. We'll see how tomorrow pans out. I think we’re going to have fantastic weather again tomorrow to lend itself to some great ETs again. We’ll see how we do tomorrow but for now, I’m just real proud of my guys. To do so well for Toyota at a Toyota event like this is also a pretty big bonus for us.
"After (Tony) Schumacher ran so good in Q1, I felt like he for sure was going to be able to put a pretty stellar number down this evening. With that many good cars behind us there tonight, I thought that for sure we were going to get bumped back a little but that (3.764) was a good run but I knew just how good that Al Anabi team and the Army team can be and I really didn’t think it was going to hold up. I think we just hit everything right."
7:17 p.m. - Comments from provisional Funny Car pole-sitter John Force following two rounds of qualifying:
"We took our racecar out there because (this team) is a brain trust - Jimmy (Prock) put that car together but they all work on it so they know what that car is all about. But we've got guys who we feel good about. You’ve got to get every point you can; when it gets down to the end, points do count. Tomorrow is supposed to be cool, so I think they’ll all step up like that.
"I’ve got my focus back; I’ve got my head where it needs to be. My sponsor deals are starting to talk and I feel real good. I’m going to make some announcements tomorrow. Knowing I can stay in the game and my kids can stay in and, naturally, Robert Hight … no complaints. Now I can get back to racing. All my focus is on my heart being right and it’s right today because I know where I’m going in the future and I can’t deal when I don’t know where I’m going. Win or lose, I know I gave it my all. Hey, it’s nighttime racing in Vegas, it don’t get any better than this."
7:02 p.m. - Comments from provisional Pro Stock pole-sitter Erica Enders-Stevens following two rounds of qualifying:
"I'm really proud of my entire Elite Motorsports team. I couldn't be more proud (of the three bonus points) because those baby points are going to matter. They’re very significant - especially with as tight as Jason (Line), myself and Dave (Connolly) are right now. I’m glad to end the day with four (points). We were really conservative the first session and if you look at our 60-foot time, we were ninth and then went straight to the top of the page. We’ll throw something at it tomorrow and see what happens.
"We’ll just have to see what it’s like tomorrow when we get out here to the race track and have the guys go down and read the surface and see what it’s like. I’m excited about the weekend. I felt good when we walked in the gate here today and it’s just a really exciting time for us in my career, and my guys. This is the first time any of us have been in this position and it’s really exciting. We’re going to try to execute the best we can and try to not focus on what’s out there – we all know the championship is at stake and, of course, I want that more than anything and so does my team."
6:48 p.m. - Comments from provisional Pro Stock Motorcycle pole-sitter Jerry Savoie following two rounds of qualifying:
"You have to give all the credit to Vance & Hines and also Tim Kulungian, who is the crew chief. He's really been working hard. We struggled at the first of the year. Fuel injection is a really funny thing – it can help you and it can hurt you. At the beginning of the year, we were hurt and now we’re helped.
“First session, we were actually kind of solid for a tune-up and we knew we could probably run like a (6.92) and the bike went left when I started first gear. The second pass, we tuned it up a little bit and with the headwind we had, we actually did not lose on the back half. Being self-employed for just about all my life, you go through tribulations where things don’t work out the way you planned. I just thank God for being out here. I’d love to be in the (Countdown to the Championship) but we’re getting ready for next year is what we’re doing now. So, hold on fellas, we’re working hard."
6:10 p.m. - Richie Crampton vaulted from 13th to the provisional pole with a pass of 3.764 at 322.42 mph in the second round of Top Fuel qualifying. Larry Dixon rebounded with a 3.766 pass at 326.71 mph and is second and Doug Kalitta moved from eighth to third with a pass of 3.772 at 322.81 mph.
5:30 p.m. - John Force, Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman are the top three qualifiers after the second round of Funny Car qualifying. Force grabbed the provisional pole with a pass of 4.039 at 318.54 mph, Hagan moved up from third to second with a 4.044 at 318.02 and Beckman climbed one spot with a pass of 4.045 at 318.84.
4:51 p.m. - Erica-Enders Stevens moved to the top of the Pro Stock qualifying chart with a second-round pass of 6.647 at 208.01 mph. Jeg Coughlin Jr. remained second and Jason Line moved up to third with a pass of 6.655 at 207.59.
4:30 p.m. - Jerry Savoie, Michael Ray and Matt Smith are the top three qualifiers after two rounds of Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying. Ray jumped from 22nd to second with a pass of 6.956 at 193.82 mph in his second qualifying run.
4:10 p.m. - Antron Brown knows he has a nearly impossible task of overtaking Tony Schumacher in the Top Fuel points standings, but the likeable driver still has goals with two races remaining in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
"It's the U.S. Army team and Tony Schumacher's championship to lose," said Brown, who was in sixth place in points, 174 points behind Schumacher coming into the NHRA Toyota Nationals. "They are in a really good spot and all the other teams wish they could be in their spot. They have a good shot at winning it. We can't worry about where the U.S. Army or any other team is. We have to go out do what we do and that's race to the best of our ability.
"We plan to tackle it like every other race we go to: we'll get after it. We’ll go out and run as hard as we can and then let everything else fall where it falls. (Finishing the season with eight event titles) would be huge and that’s what we’re shooting for. We want to win Las Vegas and Pomona. That would be a good way to end the year."
3:41 p.m. - Gumout announced today an expansion of its sponsorship with Leah Pritchett, who was the sixth qualifier in the first round of Top Fuel qualifying. In addition to their Top Fuel relationship with Pritchett and Dote Racing in 2015, Gumout will expand its marketing partnership with NHRA and again support the NHRA sportsman racers with its NHRA Gumout contingency program.
"We keep growing here as a team and with Gumout returning and stepping up, I'm already seeing 2015 as a big year," Pritchett said. "I'm looking at the top 10 and feeling like, with the improvements we are making and where we have come from last year to this year, that putting the Gumout dragster in the Countdown (to the Championship) is very real."
3:30 p.m. - Tony Schumacher, Steve Torrence and Shawn Langdon were the top three qualifiers after the first round of Top Fuel qualifying. Schumacher turned in a pass of 3.784 seconds at 326.63 mph, Torrence was clocked at 3.820 at 323.04 and Langdon was third at 3.837 at 320.66.
The second round of professional qualifying is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. (PDT).
2:25 p.m. - Ron Capps claimed the provisional Funny Car pole after one round of qualifying with a pass of 4.121 seconds at 311.34 mph. Del Worsham was second (4.127 at 308.57) and Matt Hagan was third (4.140 at 311.13).
1:49 p.m. - Dave Connolly was the quickest driver in the Pro Stock category after one round of qualifying with a pass of 6.655 seconds. Jeg Coughlin Jr. was second-quickest at 6.658 and Erica Enders-Stevens was third at 6.659.
1:30 p.m. - Jerry Savoie sits atop the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying sheet after one round. Savoie's pass at 6.946 seconds was one of only two sub-7-second runs in the round. Hector Arana was second quickest at 6.992 seconds and Matt Smith was third at 7.005. Points leader Andrew Hines had a problem at staging and did not make a run.
11:25 a.m. - Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the 14th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series teams have made the trip Las Vegas for the next-to-last race of the season and we've got a full day of qualifying on tap. Pro qualifying sessions will take place at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. today.
Tickets are still available for all three days, so come on out and join us!
Be sure to check back throughout the day for news, notes and quotes from today's activities.