Friday's Big O Tires NHRA Nationals live photo gallery
Friday, October 26, 2012

News and views from the 
Big O Tires NHRA Nationals
Last update: 7:30 pm.
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  Day two of the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway is underway with continuing Sportsman qualifying and eliminations.

This is the second-to-last event of the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and a very crucial race in the battle for the world championships.

It's a very breezy day at the track, a steady and direct headwind with gusts in excess of 20 mph.

Full Throttle qualifying sessions are scheduled today for noon and 3 p.m.


  The annual Fanfest at the Fremont Street Experience once again drew thousands of race fans downtown for the year's biggest autograph session with the stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, including (above) Pro Stock Motorcycle teammates Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines and Pro Stock stablemates Jason Line and Greg Anderson.

(Left) Ashley Force Hood and son Jacob John joined rookie of the year front-runner Courtney Force on the autograph line.

(Below) Race fans also saw the NHRA debut of John Force's Destination Force Funny Car, in which he will compete this weekend.

  [1:35 p.m.] Pro Stock Motorcycle riders battled a stiff headwind yet made reasonable progress. Points leader Eddie Krawiec (above) rode his special pink Hard Candy Vance & Hines/Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson to the No. 1 spot with a 6.938 at 193.88 mph, which is also top speed.

The speed is well shy of Krawiec's own 196.56-mph track record, but the e.t. is close to the existing track mark of 6.879, held by Hector Arana Jr. (left), who is the current No. 2 qualifier aboard his Lucas Oil Buell with a 6.995.

Krawiec and teammate Andrew Hines, who failed to make it down the track under power on his first run, will run the rain-delayed final round from the Reading event during Saturday's final qualifying session.

The three points Krawiec earned by having the quickest bike of the first session has pushed his lead over Hines to an even 20 points, or one round of racing.


[1:50 p.m.] Pro Stock points leader Allen Johnson added three points to his edge over second-place Jason Line by having the quickest pass of the opening session, a 6.600. A.J.'s lead is now 85 points after Line suffered apparent engine woes and slowed to a smokey 7.112, good only for the No. 17 spot.

Mike Edwards, who has won three of the last four Pro Stock titles at The Strip, including a clean sweep last year, is the No. 2 qualifier with a 6.615 in his Penhall Pontiac.

Warren Johnson debuted his Kiz Studios/Critter Escape sponsorship but had his initial pass of 6.70 invalidated when his Pontiac came up light at the scales. The same fate befell Vincent Nobile, who lost his 6.617 pass at the scales; Nobile was the session's third-quickest driver and lost the bonus point, which then went to Ron Krisher.

[3:30 p.m.] Mike Neff picked up three crucial points in the Funny Car points battle by placing his Castrol GTX Mustang No. 1 in the field after the first session with a 4.070. With neither points leader Jack Beckman nor second-place Ron Capps earning any bonus points in that session (fourth and fifth, respectively), Neff closed to within 51 points of Beckman.

Neff's teammate, Courtney Force (below), is qualified No. 3 with a 4.093, just  behind Cruz Pedregon's 4.084.

The track record is 4.030, by Matt Hagan, set way back in 2009.

 [3:45 p.m.] Teammates Tony Schumacher (above) and Spencer Massey (right) scored the two quickest passes of the first Top Fuel qualifying session with respective runs of 3.773 and 3.807 as they attempt to track down their third teammate, points leader Antron Brown.

Brown leads Massey by 102 points and Schumacher by 133 as he tries to win his first season championship.

Schumacher's pass is a new track record, breaking Brown's 3.779 mark set at the Spring event here.

Pro Mod points challenger Troy Coughlin unveiled a new Corvette entry to replace his popular turbocharged Camaro and ran 5.98 in the sleek machine on just his second official pass in competition to qualify No. 8.

[5 p.m.] Matt Smith, who is tuning his bike as well as those of Michael Ray and Jerry Savoie, made the third-quickest run of the second session, a 6.981. Eddie Krawiec again had the round's best run and remained No. 1 and added three more points to his lead over teammate Andrew Hines.

  [5:30 p.m.] Jason Line (above), a three-time runner-up at this event, jumped up to a 6.621 in the second Pro Stock session to earn one bonus point but fell even further behind points leader Allen Johnson, who again had the quickest time of the round, a 6.609, to earn three bonus points.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. (left) is one of the many racers this weekend showing support for breast cancer awareness. In addition to pink ribbons and lettering on his JEGS Dodge, Coughlin is sporting a pink firesuit.

[6:30 p.m.] Jon Capps was the pleasant surprise of the second Funny Car session when he wheeled the Chuck Worsham-tuned Recreation Development Company Dodge to a 4.114, the third-best pass of the session.

Tony Pedregon made the only 4.0-second run of the evening session, blasting the K-LOVE Toyota to a 4.099 that moved him into the No. 6 position. Pedregon has won this race twice, in 2003 and 2007.

  [7 p.m.] Although they weren't able to displace Tony Schumacher's 3.77 from atop the qualifying sheets, Doug Kalitta (above) and Bob Vandergriff Jr. (left) raised eyebrows with a pair of solid runs.

Kalitta powered the Mac Tools machine to a 3.800, and Vandergriff wheeled the C&J Energy Services dragster to a 3.810. 

Four jet cars helped close the day with crowd-pleasing flame-throwing passes.