Local Pros make the show;

Anderson sets track record in qualifying for ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals



Two of three local racers and riders entered in Pro categories made the final cut Saturday evening to advance to first-round eliminations Sunday at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Sean Connor, a familiar face in the Motorcycle category in The Strip¿s Jerry¿s Nugget Championship Drag Racing Series, qualified 12th (against a field of 30 bikes) with a pass of 7.343 sec.  The Boulder City resident will face two-time 2003 winner Reggie Showers in the first round.


Jay Matthews, a 47-year-old motorcycle mechanic for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept., qualified 14th and will meet Geno Scali in Round 1.  The Henderson resident posted a best run of 7.360 sec. on his ¿98 Suzuki to make the cut.


The 2003 NHRA Pro Stock season has been tough on Las Vegan George Marnell.  Despite showing encouraging signs of turning his luck around, the two-time winner qualified a heart-breaking 17th ¿ just one position shy of making it to tomorrow¿s elimination races.


Greg Anderson, driver of the Vegas General Construction Pontiac and 2003 NHRA Pro Stock champion, continued his rout by qualifying first in a field of 31 cars and setting a new track elapsed time record of 6.866 sec. (200.44 mph).


Tony Pedregon inched closer to the 2003 POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car crown by topping a field of 22 Funny Cars with an E.T. of 4.753 sec. (322.88 mph).


Expectant father Tony ¿Sarge¿ Schumacher nipped Kenny Bernstein for Top Fuel qualifying honors.  The U.S. Army dragster posted a 4.503 sec./331.45 mph pass on Saturday evening.


Craig Treble of Chandler, Ariz., earned No. 1 Qualifier status in the Pro Stock Bike ranks with a run of 7.246 sec.


After four rounds of qualifying, some big names were headed home early.  Warren Johnson, Darrell Alderman, Allen Johnson, Scott Geoffrion and Mark Pawuk were among the DNQs in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock ranks.  Doug Herbert and 73-year-old Chris ¿The Greek¿ Karamesines were among those who failed to reach the Top 16 in Top Fuel Dragster qualifying.  Cruz Pedregon suffered an engine explosion during the third round of qualifying, which caused him to contact the left-side retaining wall. Although he was alert, awake, and got out of the car on his own power, he was transported to University Medical Center for evaluation. Pedregon didn't return in time for Round 4 and was bumped from the field.


Pit and spectator gates will open at 7 a.m. Sunday, with opening ceremonies (featuring Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS) set to go at 10 a.m.


Karp retires after failing to qualify

Courtesy NHRA.com/Rob Geiger


Arnie Karp failed to qualify for the AC Delco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, ending the day in a side-by-side qualifying pass next to teammate Del Worsham. At the conclusion of the run, Karp crossed the center line and took out the top end timing blocks on the track.

"You've seen my last run in a Nitro Funny Car. I've worked hard to be a good driver, but it's clear that the car is ahead of me and on that run I put my teammate and my best friend in all of drag racing in peril. I can't do that again, and I won't. I'm stepping down. I did the absolute best I could, but I have to be man enough to stand up and say I'm walking away.

"We turn the page a lot in our lives, and I turned the page on this when I got out of the car at the other end. I'm happy with it, in my heart, because I know it's the right decision. I'm very sorry to have hurt the car, and by doing that we also DNQ'd, which I also feel badly about. But, the key part is just doing the right thing and that's what I'm doing. There are more important things than the car and the DNQ. There are people involved and these cars can hurt you. I don't want that to happen, so we're moving on now.

"I've had a great career, with a million great memories, and this comeback was a dream for me. I'm so proud of my son Michael for making this all happy, and I could not possibly be any prouder of every member of this team. As far as I'm concerned, they're the best team in the sport. I thank everyone for giving me this chance, and now I'll be standing there with them as we move forward. The Worshams are the best, and I thank Del and Chuck from the very bottom of my heart."

The Artisan "T2" team will compete in Pomona at the season's final race, with Cory Lee in the driver's seat.