9:30 a.m. - Welcome to NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals race day. Stay tuned for our coverage of today's event. 

11:55 a.m. - Good morning from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the first round of professional qualifying for the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. It is a beautiful day with only a slight breeze of about 4 mph from the north. It's 65 degrees and mostly sunny as Sportsman eliminations continue on the strip. The first professional qualifying runs begin at 1:30 p.m. (PDT), when the Pro Stock cars hit the track. The first of two Nitro qualifying sessions gets underway at 2 p.m.

Check back here often, as we'll be updating this blog throughout the weekend with news, results and driver interviews.

1:30 p.m. - Summit Racing driver Greg Anderson is at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend - his first visit to a track since undergoing off-season heart surgery.

"It is damn good to be back," Anderson said. "It almost feels like my first race ever because I've been sitting on the couch, watching on the Internet and on TV and it is tough as racer. I've never missed (a race) before so it feels fantastic to be back even though I'm not back in the racecar. I'm just more of a cheerleader this weekend but I couldn't be happier to be here."

Anderson, who has seven career Pro Stock victories at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said he expects to learn on April 7 exactly when he can return to the seat of his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. He said he hopes to be able to make his return either at Houston on April 25 or Atlanta on April May 16.

Jimmy Alund, a native of Sweden who has raced in Europe, is filling in for Anderson while the four-time Pro Stock world champion recovers from his surgery.

2:15 p.m. - Chris McGaha turned in the quickest pass during the first round of Pro Stock qualifying. McGaha's pass of 6.628 seconds at 208.46 mph put him atop the qualifying order this afternoon. Jason Line, the 2008 winner of this race, was second quickest at 6.633 at 208.71 and Dave Connolly was third quickest at 6.635 at 208.26. Allen Johnson, the defending race winner in Pro Stock, is qualified sixth at 6.654 at 208.26.

2:50 p.m. - Matt Hagan claimed the provisional Funny Car pole after one round of qualifying with a pass of 4.131 seconds at 306.74 mph. Ron Capps, a five-time Funny Car winner at The Strip, was second at 4.164 at 306.19 and John Force was third at 4.172 at 301.07. Cruz Pedregon, the defending race winner in Funny Car, was not qualified after one round.

3:25 p.m. - Steve Torrence, Tony Schumacher and Shawn Langdon were the top three qualifiers after the first round of Top Fuel qualifying. Torrence turned in a pass of 3.835 seconds at 322.27 mph, Schumacher was clocked at 3.837 at 322.11 and Langdon was third at 3.848 at 316.90.

The second round of professional qualifying is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. (PDT).

3:45 p.m. - Ron Capps is the most successful Funny Car driver in the history of The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with five victories. But don't ask Capps to explain his run of good luck in Las Vegas.

"I don't know why. It's one of those things you can't explain, but I'm not going to argue with it."

Capps is a native Californian, born in San Luis Obispo, and now lives in Carlsbad, Calif. His proximity to Las Vegas allows him to travel with his family in their motorhome to the Las Vegas races. Capps usually is met here by his parents and younger brother Jon, who lives in Las Vegas and is a part-time Funny Car racer.

"There are places where we have the luxury to get to the winner's circle and there’s nothing cooler than to be able to do it with your immediate family and close friends," Capps said.

"For me, Las Vegas is a track that has turned into a home race. I get a large contingent of my family there and a lot of friends from (sponsor) NAPA. It’s cool to win a race at a track where you really look forward to going there to race. It’s a great facility, great people run it and there’s no place better to celebrate than Vegas."

5:30 p.m. - Jeg Coughlin Jr. jumped from fourth to the top qualifying spot in Pro Stock with a pass of 6.625 seconds at 208.78 mph in the second round of qualifying. Chris McGaha, the top qualifier in round one, also ran a 6.625 in the second round but dropped to second. His speed in the second round was 208.07 - slower than Coughlin’s. Erica Enders-Stevens was the third qualifier after a second-round pass of 6.627 at 209.04.

6:15 p.m. - Matt Hagan, Del Worsham and Ron Capps were the top three qualifiers after the second of Funny Car qualifying. Hagan’s pass of 4.063 seconds at 317.05 mph put him atop the qualifying sheet after two rounds. Worsham moved from seventh to second with a run of 4.069 at 311.99 and Capps dropped from second to third with a pass of 4.075 at 314.61.

6:45 p.m. - Steve Torrence, Antron Brown and Doug Kalitta held the top three spots in qualifying after the second session. Torrence lowered his time from 3.835 seconds to 3.779 at 310.91 mph to grab the provisional pole. Brown’s pass of 3.797 at 322.96 moved him from ninth to second and Kalitta went from 10th to third with a second-session pass of 3.797 at 319.75. Richie Crampton was fourth and Tony Schumacher fifth going into Saturday’s final two rounds of qualifying.

6:50 p.m. - Comments from provisional Pro Stock pole-sitter Jeg Coughlin Jr. following the second qualifying session:

"This is an extremely important first day for us for a number of reasons. One, we haven’t been in this elevation with our new Dodge Darts and, two, we’ve got the K&N Horsepower Challenge tomorrow. We really wanted to get our game face on early in the weekend and see if we couldn’t carry that through for a strong Saturday, for starters, and then go into Sunday with the same mentality.

"The car felt phenomenal. This is a brand-new Dodge Dart that we unveiled at the Gainesville race just two weeks ago and it’s the passion and the fruits (of the) labor of the SRT engineers back in Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. They did a heck of a job with this new car and we couldn’t be happier to get a win in Gainesville and now be sitting on a provisional pole going into Saturday."

7:10 p.m. - Comments from provisional Funny Car pole-sitter Matt Hagan following the second qualifying session:

"At first, I thought the track would be pretty tricky out there and then after the first run, a lot of rubber filled in and the cars really started coming around. It was nice that we were at the back of the pack from being low first session to be able to see what a lot of those cars were doing.

"This is our old racecar that we won five races with last year. We’ve been running our new car the last three races and it was kind of hit or miss with it so (crew chief Dickie Venables) said 'let’s go back what we know.’ He did that, pulled it out of the box and it went right to the top. We’re just hoping to stay there. I love being here in Vegas. I love the track, I love the people - just the whole deal is a neat deal and I’m glad we get to come out here twice a year."

7:20 p.m. – Comments from provisional Top Fuel pole-sitter Steve Torrence following the second qualifying session:

“We’ve run really good all year; coming out and going to three semis in a row has probably been the best start of my Top Fuel career. To have that consistency definitely is a confidence booster not only to myself but the whole team. To go out today and run low for each session two times was huge for us.

“It really surprised me. The thing left really good, went down there and about 900 feet, it knocked the panels out of the blower and I could look up and see the (3.77) but it surprises you when it still goes that fast out of power. I’m hoping that 77 holds up but the track is really pretty good here and those other guys are going to hit it pretty hard."

7:45 p.m. – Just a reminder that racing will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday with Sportsman eliminations. Driver introductions for the K&N Pro Stock Horsepower Challenge begin at 12:30 p.m. (PDT) and Round 1 of the Challenge starts at 1 p.m., followed immediately by Pro Stock and Nitro qualifying

Good night from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and be sure to check here Saturday and Sunday for updates from the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals.