Clay Millican piloted his dragster to the Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier on Saturday at the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals.
Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 23rd race of 24 on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. The NHRA Toyota Nationals is the fifth event of the of the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
Millican raced to a track elapsed time record pass of 3.689-secods at 327.87 mph in his Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster during the fourth qualifying session to secure his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and fourth of his career at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Millican will line up against Terry Haddock in the first round of eliminations.
"We know we are capable of running with anyone, and we simply have to put together four good runs on Sunday," said Millican who was also the No. 1 qualifier at the U.S. Nationals. "We've made good runs, and we will continue to make more good runs. For the little single-car team that we are, I am unbelievably happy with everything.
"It's going to be great. It's just going to keep getting better. It really is. I truly believe that."
Leah Pritchett is qualified in the No. 2 spot and will face Shawn Reed during eliminations. Doug Kalitta is in third, followed by points leader and reigning World Champion Antron Brown in fourth. Kalitta will race Scott Palmer and Brown will race Terry McMillen.
Beckman secured his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 20th of his career with the track elapsed time record run of 3.871 at 327.43 in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T during the fourth qualifying session. In the first round of eliminations, Beckman will race against Jeff Arend.
"We got our act together with that .871," Beckman said. "It was a sigh of relief. I told the guys when they picked me up at the top end in the tow vehicle, 'That should at least keep us in the top four.'
"No way I would have bet that would have stayed No. 1. It's pretty gratifying to leave with the green hat for being No. 1."
Matt Hagan has the No. 2 spot and a matchup with John Hale in the first round, while 16-time World Champion John Force is third and will face John Bojec for the first time in his career. Points leader Ron Capps is in the fourth position and will race Paul Lee in the first round.
In Pro Stock, four-time world champion Anderson took over the No. 1 qualifying position with a 6.677 pass 205.72 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro during the third qualifying session. It is Anderson's seventh No. 1 qualifier of the season and 87th of his career. He will take on Seattle winner Aaron Strong in the first round.
"We made some adjustments overnight and came out this morning and hit the bullseye," Anderson said. "My car made two great runs today, and I think it's ready for race day. Great recovery after yesterday.
"We grabbed some of those small points and those are very important this time of year. So, I feel great. I feel great on Saturday night."
Drew Skillman is in the No. 2 spot facing Shane Tucker, followed by Alex Laughlin, who will see Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the first round. Points leader Jason Line holds the No. 6 spot and will race veteran Allen Johnson in eliminations.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Savoie improved to a 6.880 at 193.96 mph on his Savoie's Alligator Farm Suzuki in the third qualifying session to secure his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and seventh of his career. Savoie will face Scott Pollacheck in the first round of eliminations.
"Every year this time of the year, we usually step up," Savoie said. "Hopefully this year, we can give them a run for their money. The points are collecting.
"We qualified No. 1 all four rounds. I said yesterday we should have run an .88, and today we came back and ran an .88. It's exciting, it really is."
Points leader Eddie Krawiec is in the No. 2 spot and will race rookie Melissa Surber in the first round. Defending World Champion Andrew Hines is third and is going to race against Joey Gladstone in eliminations.
Eliminations for the NHRA Toyota Nationals is set to begin Sunday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will have live coverage at 4 p.m. ET.
In other action, Rickie Smith secured his third NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series championship by qualifying for the series event during the NHRA Toyota Nationals. This is the final NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series race of the 2016 season and is presented by Aeromotive Inc.
Smith, who won the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series championship in 2013 and 2014, raced to a strong start of the season to propel himself to the series crown. In his IDG '15 Camaro he opened the season with a win at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornational in Gainesville, Fla., defeating Danny Rowe in the finals. He raced to a runner-up finish at the next event in Houston and won the third race of the season at Atlanta.
He most recently raced to a runner-up finish in St. Louis. He was also the No. 1 qualifier at two events.
"We only have 10 races, and when you only have 10 races, you can’t get behind as it is hard to catch up," Smith said. “Luckily, we got off to a heck of a run this year. We went to three finals and won two of them, and that got us a good cushion. We kept making rounds and just trying to be consistent on Sunday.
“I was going to retire three years ago, because I was ready. But you hate to quit when you are winning and doing this good. I know I’m going to have to quit one day, but you can always quit, but you can’t always keep winning.”
Eliminations for the race will take place on Sunday and Smith, who qualified seventh with a pass of 5.909 seconds at 245.00, will face Danny Rowe in the first round.
Sidnei Frigo was the No. 1 qualifier for the event with his run of 5.829 seconds at 250.92 mph. This was his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season. He will face Jim Whitely in the first round.
First round of racing of the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series begins Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 23rd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Troy Buff, 4.010, 308.92; 18. Morgan Lucas, 4.456, 170.00.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Dave Richards, 4.121, 305.91; 18. Bob Bode, 4.146, 298.40; 19. Brandon Welch, 4.204, 292.58; 20. Jim Campbell, 4.348, 293.28; 21. Jon Capps, 4.491, 206.42; 22. Gary Densham, 5.024, 308.50; 23. Anthony Begley, 5.183, 164.35; 24. Phil Burkart, 8.750, 285.77.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Alan Prusiensky, 6.793, 202.30.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jim Underdahl, 7.041, 189.84; 18. Freddie Camarena, 7.054, 189.58; 19. Chaz Kennedy, 7.116, 188.23; 20. Mike Berry, 7.145, 182.62; 21. Joe DeSantis, 7.183, 183.29; 22. John Hall, 7.187, 185.66; 23. David Hope, 7.189, 182.43; 24. Gunner Courtney, 7.196, 182.80; 25. Lance Bonham, 7.260, 183.92; 26. Brian Bognuda, 7.358, 178.50; 27. Kristen Ashby, 7.417, 280.19.
Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the final of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Pairings are based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Rick Snavely, 5.970, 250.55; 18. Eric Latino, 5.979, 243.19; 19. Kenny Lang, 6.004, 241.84; 20. Mike Knowles, 6.036, 237.92; 21. Mike Castellana, 6.040, 198.88; 22. Clint Satterfield, 6.073, 241.28; 23. Ray Martin, 6.124, 231.56.