5:45 p.m. - Enders-Stevens, Force, Crampton win titles at The Strip - The final dusting of rubber has settled, and three pros have claimed championships at the 2015 SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after a trio of thrilling final races. Erica Enders-Stevens successfully defended her title in the Pro Stock division, John Force outdueled teammate Robert Hight in Funny Car, and Richie Crampton earned his first Top Fuel victory in Las Vegas.
Enders-Stevens, who qualified second, and No. 12 Vincent Nobile made identical 6.674-second passes, but her reaction time of .024 to his .040 was the difference. Enders-Stevens has now won her last 18 rounds at The Strip at LVMS and became the first Pro Stock driver to win a K&N Horsepower Challenge and an NHRA feature event two years in a row since Bob Glidden from 1987-88.
It was Enders-Stevens' third consecutive NHRA title in Las Vegas, as she swept the two races in 2014. She woke up on Sunday feeling under the weather and was even given intravenous fluids by track doctors, but was able to perform when it mattered most.
"It's just really surreal," said Enders-Stevens, the reigning NHRA Pro Stock world champion. "Winning is hard to do and is very, very challenging, and to be able to do it on Saturday and do it again on Sunday with as tough competition as we have in the Pro Stock class says a lot about our team. We had a lot of tough competition yesterday in the K&N Horsepower Challenge and today in the race, but this seems to be our lucky race track and I love coming here."
Force, a 16-time Funny Car world champion, clocked a pass of 4.148 seconds, just ahead of Hight's 4.154-second run, and was the first Funny Car victory for a Chevy Camaro since Ron Capps won in Phoenix in 2003. It was Force's first NHRA victory since Seattle last year.
"They told me when I was about 40 it was about over, when I turned 50, they said it was about over, and when I turned 60 it was about over, but it ain't over until I say it's over," said the 65-year-old Force, who now has five career NHRA wins in Las Vegas. "John Force just about wasn't going to be here, but some great people stepped up. I had a lot of luck today, but I'm building a brand new machine.
"I’m back where I belong - in a Chevrolet."
Crampton ended the surprising run of No. 15 qualifier Larry Dixon - himself a five-time champion in Las Vegas - with a pass of 3.902 seconds in the Top Fuel final.
"It was a great day of racing," Crampton said. "There’s never and easy round, so I knew it was going to be tough. To be doing as well as we are this early in the season is just a huge boost for the team."
COMPLETE SUNDAY RESULTS
2015 CHAMPIONS, all divisions
Top Fuel - Richie Crampton, 3.902 seconds, 301.33 mph def. Larry Dixon, 4.466 seconds, 201.73 mph.
Funny Car - John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.148, 312.35 def. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.154, 306.05.
Pro Stock - Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.674, 207.24 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.674, 207.91.
Top Alcohol Dragster – Joey Severance, 5.416, 267.16 def. Megan McKernan, 5.416, 269.51.
Top Alcohol Funny Car – Annie Whiteley, Chevy Camaro, 5.617, 261.98 def. Doug Gordon, Camaro, foul.
Competition Eliminator – Tony Mandella, Chevy S-10, 8.528, 155.94 def. Alan Ellis, '23-T Ford, 6.643, 204.54.
Super Stock – Jimmy DeFrank, Chevy Cobalt, 9.070, 148.79 def. Les Norton, Dodge Challenger, 9.394, 140.25.
Stock Eliminator – Jimmy DeFrank, Chevy Camaro, 10.941, 118.93 def. Brad Burton, Pontiac Firebird, 10.926, 116.93.
Super Comp – Tommy Phillips, Dragster, 9.060, 164.93 def. Ryan Cook, Dragster, 9.058, 159.87.
Super Gas – Michael Miller, '27-T Ford, 10.082, 146.70 def. John Whitmore, Chevy Cavalier, 10.033, 159.08.
Top Sportsman – Richard Okerman, Chevy Beretta, 7.334, 177.46 def. Bob Cornine, dodge Stratus, 7.018, 187.47.
Top Dragster – Andy Spiegel, Dragster, 6.824, 169.06 def. Aaron Steinkey, Dragster, 17.266, 32.12.
Top Fuel Harley – Len Darnell, Harley, 6.413, 215.07 def. Mike Pelrine, Harley, 6.766, 167.05.
PRO DIVISION RESULTS
1. Richie Crampton; 2. Larry Dixon; 3. J.R. Todd; 4. Spencer Massey; 5. Steve Torrence; 6. Shawn Langdon; 7. Clay Millican; 8. Dom Lagana; 9. Doug Kalitta; 10. Tony Schumacher; 11. Brittany Force; 12. Antron Brown; 13. Steve Faria; 14. Dave Connolly; 15. Terry McMillen; 16. Troy Buff.
1. John Force; 2. Robert Hight; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4. Alexis DeJoria; 5. Matt Hagan; 6. Del Worsham; 7. Cruz Pedregon; 8. Tim Wilkerson; 9. Jack Beckman; 10. Ron Capps; 11. Courtney Force; 12. Tony Pedregon; 13. Gary Densham; 14. Jeff Arend; 15. John Hale; 16. Chad Head.
1. Erica Enders-Stevens; 2. Vincent Nobile; 3. Greg Anderson; 4. Allen Johnson; 5. Jason Line; 6. Chris McGaha; 7. Jimmy Alund; 8. V. Gaines; 9. Rodger Brogdon;10. Drew Skillman; 11. Shane Gray; 12. Deric Kramer; 13. Joey Grose; 14. Larry Morgan; 15. Jonathan Gray; 16. Matt Hartford.
ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS (Pro classes)
Round 1 – Richie Crampton, 3.821, 322.27 def. Troy Buff, 5.346, 128.58; Spencer Massey, 3.796, 328.78 def. Doug Kalitta, 3.807, 322.65; Larry Dixon, 3.795, 318.09 def. Tony Schumacher, 3.828, 319.29; J.R. Todd, 3.825, 320.81 def. Steve Faria, 3.957, 307.02; Steve Torrence, 3.837, 320.81 def. Terry McMillen, 4.022, 304.12; Shawn Langdon, 3.866, 305.84 def. Antron Brown, 3.901, 310.77; Clay Millican, 3.815, 315.12 def. Brittany Force, 3.846, 323.66; Dom Lagana, 3.866, 286.25 def. Dave Connolly, 4.004, 261.27.
Quarterfinals – Todd, 3.916, 308.64 def. Lagana, 9.168, 73.27; Crampton, 3.838, 315.78 def. Torrence, 3.899, 301.81; Dixon, 3.889, 318.77 def. Millican, 3.984, 311.05; Massey, 3.858, 324.98 def. Langdon, 3.957, 304.74.
Semifinals – Dixon, 4.402, 247.93 def. Massey, 5.496, 126.23; Crampton, 3.828, 318.32 def. Todd, 3.837, 321.73;
Final – Crampton, 3.902, 301.33 def. Dixon, 4.466, 201.73.
Round 1 – Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.114, 308.99 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.439, 212.39; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.106, 309.20 def. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 4.243, 299.53; Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.110, 312.71 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.211, 291.95; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.093, 305.01 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.138, 299.00; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.115, 301.40 def. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.165, 304.12; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.080, 314.53 def. John Hale, Charger, 5.661, 124.28; Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.087, 312.50 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.156, 305.08; John Force, Camaro, 4.138, 312.57 def. Chad Head, Camry, DQ.
Quarterfinals – J. Force, 4.158, 314.17 def. Hagan, 4.436, 296.89; DeJoria, 5.852, 239.06 def. Worsham, 5.885, 160.61; Hight, 4.102, 311.99 def. C. Pedregon, 8.806, 86.34; Johnson Jr., 4.093, 302.89 def. Wilkerson, DQ.
Semifinals – J. Force, 4.165, 312.35 def. DeJoria, 12.689, 70.85; Hight, 4.145, 310.34 def.
Johnson Jr., 4.164, 305.56;
Final – J. Force, 4.148, 312.35 def. Hight, 4.154, 306.05.
Round 1 – Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.699, 206.20 def. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.679, 206.99; Jimmy Alund, Pontiac GXP, 6.695, 206.42 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 12.972, 65.81; V. Gaines, Dart, 6.690, 207.18 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.687, 207.05; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.677, 207.18 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.669, 207.53; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.650, 208.49 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 21.940, 25.94; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.656, 206.83 def. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.742, 205.35; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.672, 207.75 def. Joey Grose, Camaro, foul; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.654, 207.62 def. Matt Hartford, GXP, broke.
Quarterfinals – Johnson, 6.716, 205.44 def. Line, foul; Nobile, 6.684, 206.73 def. McGaha, 6.686, 206.35; Enders-Stevens, 6.661, 207.27 def. Alund, 6.697, 206.70; Anderson, 6.655, 208.17 def. Gaines, 21.477, no speed.
Semifinals – Nobile, 6.695, 207.62 def. Johnson, 17.215, 68.60; Enders-Stevens, 6.673, 207.53 def. Anderson, 6.671, 208.71.
Final – Enders-Stevens, 6.674, 207.24 def. Nobile, 6.674, 207.91.
SEASON POINTS STANDINGS
1. Antron Brown, 385; 2. Tony Schumacher, 375; 3. Shawn Langdon, 370; 4. Spencer Massey, 358; 5. Richie Crampton, 349; 6. Steve Torrence, 273; 7. Doug Kalitta, 272; 8. Larry Dixon, 263; 9. J.R. Todd, 261; 10. Clay Millican, 241.
1. Matt Hagan, 369; 2. Del Worsham, 360; 3. Robert Hight, 323; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 316; 5. Ron Capps, 313; 6. John Force, 287; 7. Alexis DeJoria, 271; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 257; 9. John Hale, 256; 10. Jack Beckman, 249.
1. Jason Line, 426; 2. Erica Enders-Stevens, 391; 3. Greg Anderson, 379; 4. Rodger Brogdon, 352; 5. Chris McGaha, 338; 6. Drew Skillman, 300; 7. Vincent Nobile, 285; 8. Larry Morgan, 268; 9. Allen Johnson, 249; 10. Shane Gray, 233.
3:30 p.m. - Championship finals set for three pro classes - Well folks, the championship finals for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals' three pro classes are set.
Pro Stock drivers kicked off the semifinals, with No. 2 Erica Enders-Stevens using a .001 reaction time to edge No. 3 Greg Anderson. She crossed the line in 6.673 seconds and will face No. 12 Vincent Nobile in the championship round.
The final is a rematch of Saturday's championship matchup in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, won by Enders-Stevens. The reigning NHRA Pro Stock world champion, Enders-Stevens has won 17 straight rounds at The Strip at LVMS.
Pro Stock finals (4:15 p.m.)
No. 2 Erica Enders-Stevens vs. No. 12 Vincent Nobile
The Funny Car final will feature No. 8 John Force against No. 10 Robert Hight after Force topped No. 4 Alexis DeJoria and Hight got past No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. in 4.145 seconds. Force’s victory was even more impressive considering Force’s crew had to change out his motor in 30 minutes and push the car to the starting line after the tow strap also snapped.
DeJoria had car trouble, while Force crossed the line in 4.165 seconds. The final will be an all-Chevrolet affair, marking the first time a Chevy Camaro will win a NHRA Funny Car title since Phoenix in 2003.
Funny Car finals (4:15 p.m.)
No. 8 John Force vs. No. 10 Robert Hight
Larry Dixon’s Cinderella run continued when the No. 15 qualifier beat Spencer Massey in the Top Fuel semifinals with a 4.402-second pass. He will meet No. 5 Richie Crampton (3.828 seconds), who nipped top qualifier J.R. Todd by .009 of a second in the other semifinal.
Top Fuel finals (4:15 p.m.)
No. 5 Richie Crampton vs. No. 15 Larry Dixon
3 p.m. - Phillips falls in Top Sportsman quarters - Ken Phillips will have bragging rights for being the last Las Vegas-area driver to race at this year's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, but that will have to be it for the Top Sportsman competitor. He fell to Chris Newman in the quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon and is done for the day.
2:15 p.m. - Las Vegas locals compete in afternoon session - Las Vegas' Ken Phillips advanced to the quarterfinals in the Top Sportsman class after edging Gary Forkner by .007 of a second in the Round of 16. Phillips will guide his 1969 AMX against Chris Newman for a chance to go to the semifinals.
The quarterfinal round turned out to be the last stop for a pair of Las Vegas-area drivers in other divisions. Earl Blake Jr. fell to John Calvert in the Stock Eliminator class, while Ryen Lamb was edged by .001 of a second by Tommy Phillips in the Super Comp quarters.
On another note, celebrity sightings at The Strip on Sunday have included TV host and chef extraordinaire Guy Fieri, a sponsor of Shawn Langdon's Top Fuel dragster. Former mixed-martial arts champion Randy Couture was also seen roaming around the property and taking in the action.
1:40 p.m. - Semifinals set for pro divisions - Track temperatures hit 120 degrees for the quarterfinals, and the action was also red-hot. Top Fuel top qualifier J.R. Todd got past No. 8 Dom Lagana with a pass of 3.916 seconds and will face No. 4 Steve Torrence, who bested fifth-seeded Richie Crampton with a 3.838-second pass.
Five-time Las Vegas winner Larry Dixon, who qualified 15th, defeated No. 10 Clay Millican with a pass of 3.889 seconds, while No. 11 Spencer Massey claimed the other semifinal spot by beating No. 3 Shawn Langdon with a 3.858-second pass.
Top Fuel semifinal matchups (3 p.m.)
No. 1 J.R. Todd vs. No. 4 Steve Torrence
No. 11 Spencer Massey vs. No. 15 Larry Dixon
John Force qualified eighth in Funny Car advanced to the semifinals after top qualifier Matt Hagan smoked his tires and will face No. 4 Alexis DeJoria, who defeated No. 5 Del Worsham by a hair after both drivers smoked the tires during their passes. Force finished with a 4.158-second time, while DeJoria - the Spring race's defending champ - came across in 5.852 seconds.
In the other two quarterfinals, 10th-seeded Robert Hight had a 4.102-second pass that easily put him by No. 15 Cruz Pedregon, who had car trouble. Hight will face No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr., whose 4.093-second pass easily bested No. 6 Tim Wilkerson, who smoked his tires and crossed the center line.
Funny Car semifinal matchups (3 p.m.)
No. 4 Alexis DeJoria vs. No. 8 John Force
No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. vs. No. 10 Robert Hight
The Pro Stock class finished things up for the NHRA pros in the quarterfinals, with top qualifier Jason Line falling to No. 8 Allen Johnson after leaving the line .009 second early. Johnson had a pass of 6.716 seconds and gets No. 12 Vincent Nobile in the semifinals.
Nobile edged No. 4 Chris McGaha by .002 of a second with a 6.684-second pass.
No. 2 Erica Enders-Stevens ran her round victory win streak to 16 by edging 10th-seeded Jimmy Alund by a nose with her 6.661-second pass. She will face No. 3 Greg Anderson, a winner over No. 11 V Gaines with a pass of 6.655 seconds.
Pro Stock semifinal matchups (3 p.m.)
No. 8 Allen Johnson vs. No. 12 Vincent Nobile
No. 2 Erica Enders-Stevens vs. No. 3 Greg Anderson
12:30 p.m. - Januik's title defense ends in quarterfinals - Las Vegas' Nick Januik ran into trouble in his Top Alcohol Funny Car quarterfinals matchup against Annie Whiteley, getting sideways off the start and crossing the center line around the 330-foot mark. Januik, who won the division title last Spring, is done for the competition in his 2009 Monte Carlo.
12:20 p.m. - Favorites make it through in Pro Stock – The Pro Stock class stayed mostly in line, with the top four qualifiers moving on to the quarterfinals. No. 1 Jason Line bested 16 seed Joey Grose with a 6.672-second pass, while No. 2 Erica Enders-Stevens had a walkthrough after Matt Hartford's team could not get his ailing car to the line.
Enders-Stevens made a pass of 6.654 seconds anyway and is looking strong as she tries to defend her 2014 title. Third-seeded Greg Anderson (6.650 seconds), No. 4 Chris McGaha, No. 8 Allen Johnson (6.699), No. 10 Jimmy Alund (6.695), No. 11 V Gaines (6.690) and No. 12 Vincent Nobile (6.677) also moved on to the quarterfinals.
Pro Stock drivers eliminated were: No. 5 Rodger Brogdon, No. 6 Shane Gray, No. 7 Larry Morgan, No. 9 Drew Skillman, No. 13 Deric Kramer, No. 14 Jonathan Gray, Hartford and Grose.
Pro Stock quarterfinal matchups (1 p.m.)
No. 1 Jason Line vs. No. 8 Allen Johnson
No. 4 Chris McGaha vs. No. 12 Vincent Nobile
No. 2 Erica Enders-Stevens vs. No. 10 Jimmy Alund
No. 3 Greg Anderson vs. No. 11 V Gaines
11:50 a.m. - Hagan, DeJoria advance in Funny Car – Funny Car's first-round action is now complete, and top qualifier Matt Hagan began with a 4.114-second pass that bested No. 16 Jeff Arend. No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. (4.106 seconds), No. 4 Alexis DeJoria (4.115), No. 5 Del Worsham (4.110), No. 6 Tim Wilkerson (4.080), No. 8 John Force (4.138) and No. 10 Robert Hight (4.087) all advanced to the quarterfinals.
No. 15 Cruz Pedregon edged second-seeded Jack Beckman by .002 with his 4.093-second pass in the second big upset of the day. DeJoria is the class' defending champion and will face season points leader Worsham in the quarterfinals.
Funny Car drivers who lost and are done for the day are: No. 7 Ron Capps, No. 9 Chad Head, No. 11 John Hale, No. 12 Tony Pedregon, No. 13 Courtney Force, No. 14 Gary Densham, Beckman and Arend.
Funny Car quarterfinal matchups (1 p.m.)
No. 1 Matt Hagan vs. No. 8 John Force
No. 4 Alexis DeJoria vs. No. 5 Del Worsham
No. 15 Cruz Pedregon vs. No. 10 Robert Hight
No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. vs. No. 6 Tim Wilkerson
11:25 a.m. - Top Fuel kicks off pro ladder battles - NHRA pro drivers took to the track at 11, with Top Fuel starting things off. Top qualifier J.R. Todd (3.825 seconds), No. 3 Shawn Langdon (3.866), No. 5 Richie Crampton (3.821), No. 6 Steve Torrence, No. 8 Dom Lagana, No. 10 Clay Millican, No. 11 Spencer Massey (3.796) and No. 15 Larry Dixon (3.795) won their head-to-head matchups.
Dixon, a five-time Las Vegas race winner, upset defending Las Vegas and World Champion Tony Schumacher, the No. 2 qualifier, by .033 of a second in the day's first upset. Other drivers eliminated were No. 6 Doug Kalitta, No. 7 Brittany Force, No. 9 Dave Connolly, No. 12 Troy Buff, No. 13 Terry McMillen, No. 14 Antron Brown and No. 16 Steve Faria.
Top Fuel quarterfinal matchups (1 p.m.)
No. 1 J.R. Todd vs. No. 8 Dom Lagana
No. 4 Steve Torrence vs. No. 5 Richie Crampton
No. 15 Larry Dixon vs. No. 10 Clay Millican
No. 3 Shawn Langdon vs. No. 11 Spencer Massey
10:15 a.m. - Early birds get the worm – The Sportsman classes kicked off racing on Sunday, and a number of local drivers were in action beginning at 8:30 a.m. Area drivers Earl Blake Jr., Ryen Lamb and Ken Phillips moved on in their classes and will race later today.
Driving his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda, Blake Jr. defeated Jim Storms by .142 of a second with a pass of 11.274 and will face John Calvert in the Stock Eliminator quarterfinals around 1:30 p.m.
Lamb, of Henderson, edged Las Vegas' Elden Lacer by .013 in the Super Comp division with his 9.086-second pass in his 2014 Chevrolet 598 Racetech. Lamb moves on to square off against Tommy Phillips in the quarterfinals this afternoon.
Ken Phillips defeated David Armstrong in their Top Sportsman matchup and will face Gary Forkner this afternoon. Melvin Uechi, however, fell to Jeff Gillette and is done for the event.
Justin Lamb left early in his Super Stock race against Dave Bridgewater, ending his day earlier than he would have liked and costing him a spot in the quarterfinals. He also competed in the Competition Eliminator division, but lost to Mark Wolfe in the Round of 16.