The Oct. 25-28 NHRA Big O Tires Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the next event on the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule and also is the next-to-last race of the year.

The battle for the Pro Stock (Car) crown is between current points leader Allen Johnson and Jason Line.

Johnson – a 17-year veteran of the Pro Stock wars – is on a roll, enjoying a career-best best five wins in a season and four runner-up finishes. Line is 82 points behind, with two wins, four runner-up finishes – as well as six No. 1 Qualifier awards.

Both drivers, along with fellow Pro Stock pilots V Gaines and Deric Kramer, tested at The Strip at LVMS yesterday and today. Both drivers have been turning in impressive practice times, with Johnson’s first pass this morning clocking in at two one-thousandths of one second better than the No. 1 Qualifier at The Strip at LVMS’ NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals in April.

“You know, we've been to three finals in the countdown, and that was our plan, and that's huge,” said Johnson. We didn't do so well at Reading, but any time you can get on a hot streak in the Pro Stock division is a good thing.”

“Obviously with the countdown format – the play-off style format – it's all about peaking at the right time,” Line explained. “We still haven't quite hit our peak yet, but I don't think it's too late. We're definitely getting faster each week, and right now we've got a pretty bad-fast Camaro. Definitely it's not over yet. We're definitely going to give Allen a tough time the next couple weeks.”

“You know, I'm looking at it as there's no lead at all, the way Jason and Erica Enders (third in points) both are running,” said Johnson. I'm taking it one round at a time qualifying and racing, just trying to get every single point I can get – just as they are, I'm sure. But I think it's just like I heard (Top Fuel Dragster points leader) Antron Brown say, you go out there and stub your toe in the first round and those guys can leave Vegas ahead of you. I'm looking at it as I've got to go to the semis at least to win this thing, both races.”

When asked what his team had to do to catch and pass Johnson’s Dodge in the point standings to win the championship, Line replied, “Obviously we do have to win some serious rounds. Basically we have to win both those two races (Las Vegas and the season finale in Pomona, Calif.). It's definitely not over yet. If Allen makes one little mistake, hopefully we can be there to capitalize on that. For me personally, what happened last week really doesn't matter. What matters next is obviously Q1 (first round of qualifying) at Vegas. There's qualifying points to be had. Obviously, things change in a hurry. And that can happen in drag racing. It's happened to both Allen and I.”

“Of course, you know, we're loving going back to Vegas,” Johnson admitted. “We had some good fortune there in the spring and won the race. I was just looking back at that, and Jason was the fastest car, so hopefully we can turn that around and him be No. 2 and me be No. 1 out there.”

Las Vegas is special for Line’s team too.

“Vegas obviously for me is a pretty special place,” Line said. “My team owner Ken Black – Ken and his wife Judy – they're from there. I don't know what it is about Vegas, but we seem to do well there, especially the fall race. We like trying to show off for Ken and Judy, I guess, and make them see that the money they're spending on us is worthwhile. It's been a very good place for both teammate Greg (Anderson) and I, and you hope this year will be no exception.”

The NHRA Big O Tires Nationals also will include Top Fuel Dragster, Funny Car, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Mod, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny car and sportsman categories. Pro qualifying begins on Friday, Oct. 26.

Tickets for the Oct. 25-28 NHRA Big O Tires Nationals may be purchased by calling LVMS at (702) 644-4444, online at www.LVMS.com or at the LVMS ticket office. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.