Larry Dixon opened defense of his NHRA Nationals title by claiming the top qualifying position in Top Fuel after two rounds of qualifying at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also led their categories after two rounds of qualifying.

Dixon, who won here last spring en route to his third Top Fuel world championship, captured the No. 1 qualifying position with a pass of 3.904 seconds at 312.78 mph. His time held up despite a late pass by teammate Del Worsham, who qualified second at 3.938 seconds at 299.40.

Pedregon’s run of 4.145 seconds at 306.19 mph knocked reigning Funny Car world champion John Force off the top spot. Force is the second qualifier heading into Saturday’s third round.

Edwards, who won the Pro Stock category here last spring, was the top qualifier after both the first and second sessions Friday. He bettered his first-round time in the later session with a 6.709-second pass at 205.63 mph when the track temperature had climbed to 132 degrees.

Pro qualifying will resume at The Strip on Saturday with sessions at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.