Friday's NHRA Nationals photo blog
Friday, April 05, 2013

News and views from the NHRA Nationals
Last update:9:30 p.m.
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From left, Greg Anderson, Antron Brown, Ron Capps, Erica Enders-Stevens, Jason Line, and Tony Pedregon greeted members of the media Thursday afternoon at the NHRA Nationals press conference, held at Caesars Palace.

The event officially kicked off with an autograph session and fanfest at New York-New York Hotel & Casino Thursday night. The autograph session featured The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s mascot, Pit Boss, second from right, and drivers representing three of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro classes, including, from left, Brittany Force, Robert Hight, and Del Worsham.

Prior to the start of qualifying, the eight drivers in the K&N Horsepower Challenge were paired with the fans who won an online drawing on the K&N website. The fan paired with the driver who wins the Challenge will win a ’13 Toyota Tacoma.

Allen Johnson debuted a brand-new car with a new look to it at this event, and so far, the new mount has performed well. Johnson was third-quickest of both Pro Stock sessions, including a best of 6.67 in Q2.

Funny Car's Bob Tasca III began the event by rolling the dice with major changes to his Quick Lane/Motorcraft Ford Mustang that includes blowers purchased from Don Schumacher Racing.

Johnny Gray had a huge explosion during the afternoon Funny Car qualifying session that sent the body of the Pitch Energy Dodge Charger into the air. Gray would bounce back and qualify No. 3 in the second session.

Del Worsham led the opening Funny Car session with a 4.17 in the DHL Toyota. Kalitta Motorsports teammate Alexis DeJoria was close behind with a 4.18.

Independent Top Fuel driver Steve Faria had a fuel line detach from the fuel pump, which caused a huge fireball during the opening qualifying session.

With an assist from tuner Lee Beard, Terry McMillen and the Amalie Oil team made their best run of the season in Top Fuel with a 3.86 at 323 mph.

Mike Edwards has qualified No. 1 in Pro Stock at every event this year, and he is well on his way to keeping that perfect record. He paced both sessions of qualifying with a pair of 6.65s that earned him six qualifying bonus points and the provisional pole entering Saturday.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. is on-pace for his best start of the season in Pro Stock, ranking second after day one. After posting a 6.67 in the opening round, he improved to a 6.65 that was just fourth-thousandths slower than Mike Edwards.

After shaking the tires on his first attempt and ranking 19th out of 19 cars in Pro Stock, Shane Gray came back and made a nice 6.68-second pass that lifted him to fifth on the sheets.

Todd Lesenko suffered an explosion in Chuck Worsham’s Fountain Tire Dodge Charger during the burnout in the second Funny Car qualifying session when the throttle stop failed and caused the motor to over-rev.

While low e.t. was still a 4.15, Funny Car's Robert Hight blasted down course to a 4.05 in the Auto Club Ford Mustang that kept him in the top position at the end of the day.

Gainesville runner-up Clay Millican kept his roll going with a pair of 3.8-second runs in the Parts Plus dragster in Top Fuel that included a 3.82 for the No. 5 position.

Points leader Antron Brown drove the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster to an outstanding 3.78 at 320 mph to lead the class heading into the final day of qualifying.

The first day of racing was capped by exhibition runs by jet cars. Four jet cars took to the track after the second NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying session.