News and notes from Sunday at the 9th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals. Compiled by the National DRAGSTER staff.
SUNDAY (Previous: Friday I Saturday)
Last update: 5:20 p.m. Pacific (click to latest)
It's race day! (9:45 a.m. Pacific): It's Sunday, time to crown some champions at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, and it's another beautiful day in Las Vegas. Top Alcohol Funny Car just wrapped up their first round of eliminations, and Top Alcohol Dragster is now on the track pairing down the field. Pro Mod round one is next on the agenda, then it's into the first round of the Professional classes.
Schedule update (10:30 a.m. Pacfic): Well, things were going along pretty well and then trouble struck. Racing into the second to last pair of TADs, Dale Carlson oiled the top end of the track pretty good, putting things in a delay. Jim Whiteley and Justin Davis, the final pair of cars are behind the water box at the ready, but the Safety Safari is still working. It appears we are getting closer to running the final pair, but the Pro Mods have been sent back to the pits and will not run before first round of Pros. So, once the track is cleaned up, Whiteley and Davis will run, then it's time for the Pros.
We're racing (11:10 a.m. Pacific): The first pair of Top Fuelers, Thomas Nataas and Doug Kalitta, are on the track.
Top Fuel, round one (11:40 a.m. Pacific): The top five points guys -- Tony Schumacher, Larry Dixon, Cory McClenathan, Antron Brown, and Brandon Bernstein -- all advanced out of the opening round, keeping all their title hopes alive. Dixon was best of the round with a 3.834 that gives him lane choice over Doug Kalitta in round two. While those five remain in the championship hunt, first-round losses by Morgan Lucas and Shawn Langdon mathematically eliminated them from contention. Kalitta was also eliminated when Schumacher won round one.
Second-round pairings (lane choice in bold): Dixon vs. Kalitta, Schumacher vs. McClenathan, Steve Torrence vs. Spencer Massey, and Brown vs. Bernstein.
Funny Car, round one (12:15 p.m. Pacific): Robert Hight won the highly anticipated match with teammate Ashley Force Hood to highlight the opening round. Hight ran low e.t. of the round, 4.114, to defeat Force Hood, who slowed to a 4.33. Hight has another high-profile race in round two, facing boss John Force, who ousted Cruz Pedregon. Mike Neff also fell in the opening round and, as a result, is now mathematically out of the title chase.
Second-round pairings (lane choice in bold): Matt Hagan vs. Jack Beckman, Tony Pedregon vs. Del Worsham, Ron Capps vs. Tim Wilkerson, and Hight vs. Force.
Pro Stock, round one (12: 30 p.m. Pacific): The championship chase is officially down to two drivers: Mike Edwards and Greg Anderson. Jason Line lost to Larry Morgan in round one, eliminating himself from competition, and when Edwards defeated Kurt Johnson in the opening frame, that mathematically ended Jeg Coughlin's hopes. Anderson defeated brother-in-law Ronnie Humphrey, who red-lighted by a huge .145-second margin, to keep his slim hopes alive. Edwards was low of the opening round at 6.655 and will choose his lane against Morgan. Anderson, who posted a 6.679, will have lane choice over Greg Stanfield in round two.
Second-round pairings (lane choice in bold): Edwards vs. Morgan, Anderson vs. Stanfield, Rickie Jones vs. Rodger Brogdon, and Ron Krisher vs. Coughlin.
Pro Stock Motorcycle, round one (12:45 p.m. Pacific): The top four in points -- Hector Arana, Eddie Krawiec, Matt Smith, and Andrew Hines -- all advanced out of the opening round, and they are now the only drivers with a mathematical chance to take this years Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. Karen Stoffer, Shawn Gann, and Craig Treble were all taken out of championship contention based on qualifying results. Doug Horne was eliminated when Arana won the opening round, and Michael Phillips' first-round loss took him out of the championship chase. Krawiec was low of the opening round with a 7.025.
Second-round pairings (lane choice in bold); Arana vs. David Hope, Krawiec vs. Stoffer, Hines vs. Horne, and Smith vs. Gann.
Top Fuel, round two (1:35 p.m. Pacific): The title chase just got a little more interesting after Cory McClenathan defeated points leader Tony Schumacher in a thrilling 3.86 to 3.86 match. Larry Dixon also advanced and is now just 21 points behind Schumacher in the standings. If he is able to go on and win the race, Dixon will take over the points. But first he must get through McClenathan, who is his opponent in the next round; Dixon has lane choice thanks to a 3.84 run. Two other drivers who are still mathematically alive for the championship, Spencer Massey and Brandon Bernstein, will square off in the other semifinal pairing; Massey will select his lane.
Wild start to Funny Car (1:40 p.m. Pacific): The second round of Funny Cars got off to an interesting start when teammates Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan both experienced troubles on their runs. Beckman got the win, but his car started going away on the top end, and he got extremely close to the wall. He was able to keep it off the wall, but the damage done to the engine as he legged it through the finish line left stuff on the track. We are now temporarily on hold while the Safety Safari does its thing.
Funny Car, round two (2 p.m. Pacific): Points leader Robert Hight continues to march on, extending his lead over the field. Hight ran the second-quickest time of the day, 4.125 (only his own 4.11 in round one was better today) to defeat boss John Force, who smoked the tires early then crossed the centerline as he tried to get his car to recover. Hight will have lane choice in the semi's against Tim Wilkerson, who defeated Ron Capps on a holeshot. On the other side of the ladder, Jack Beckman will select his lane against Del Worsham, who won on a huge holeshot against Tony Pedregon, 4.23 to 4.17. With Hight's win, two more drivers, Bob Tasca III and Force, who officially eliminated from contention.
Pro Stock, round two (2:10 p.m. Pacific): The championship will have to wait until Pomona for Mike Edwards. Edwards had a chance to clinch the title when Greg Anderson lost to Greg Stanfield on a holeshot, but he suffered the same fate as his championship rival, losing to Larry Morgan on a holeshot. Edwards still virtually has the title sewn up as he leaves here with a 139-point lead, but he will have to wait two weeks to make it official.
Semifinal pairings (lane choice in bold): Morgan vs. Stanfield and Rickie Jones vs. Ron Krisher.
Pro Stock Motorcycle, round two (2:15 p.m. Pacific): The top four points guys are the final four remaining in competition. Hector Arana defeated David Hope to advance, while Eddie Krawiec bettered Karen Stoffer. Andrew Hines ousted Doug Horne, and Matt Smith defeated Shawn Gann. In the monster match of the semi's, Arana will have lane choice over Krawiec. In the other pairing, Hines, who was low of round two, has lane choice over Smith.
Top Fuel, semifinals (3:30 p.m. Pacific): We have the potential of having a new points leader leaving Las Vegas. Larry Dixon defeated Cory McClenathan in a great 3.84 to 3.84 match and pulled to within one point of leader Tony Schumacher. That means if Dixon wins the final,he will be the points leader heading into the finale in Pomona. To do that, Dixon will need to defeat Spencer Massey, who got past Brandon Bernstein. Massey also clocked a 3.84 on his winning run, but his 3.849 was four ticks slower than Dixon's 3.845, giving Dixon lane choice for the final.
Funny Car, semifinals (3:40 p.m. Pacific): Robert Hight may have just put the championship out of reach of everyone. Hight ran a stunning 4.080 at 312.57, the second fastest speed in 1,000-foot history, to dispatch Tim Wilkerson. The win extends Hight's lead to 85 points at this point; he could potentially enter the final race with a 115-point edge. Hight will have to get past Jack Beckman to do so. Beckman was quite a bit slower than Hight, posting a 4.35, but it was good enough to defeat Worsham, who smoked the tires early. With his loss, Worsham was mathematically eliminated from contention.
Pro Stock, semifinals (3:45 p.m. Pacific): A very unlikely duo makes up the final in Pro Stock: Larry Morgan and Rickie Jones. Morgan defeated Greg Stanfield to advance, and Jones bettered Ron Krisher to earn a spot in his first career final. Jones earned lane choice, 6.716 to 6.729.
Pro Stock Motorcycle, semifinals (3:50 p.m. Pacific): Hector Arana gave himself a huge boost to his title hopes when he defeated points rival Eddie Krawiec on a holeshot, 7.039 to 7.028, to advance to the final. Arana's win eliminated Andrew Hines and Matt Smith from championship contention, leaving just Arana and Krawiec to duke it out in Pomona. Arana enters the final with a 54-point edge, and if he is going to push that to 74, he will need to defeat Hines, who clocked low e.t. of the day, 6.992, to defeat Smith in their semifinal match.
Final rounds (5:20 p.m. Pacific): Spencer Massey, Robert Hight, Larry Morgan, and Andrew Hines claimed top honors at the Las Vegas Nationals. Massey ran low e.t. of the day, 3.827, to defeat Larry Dixon, who smoked the tires early in the Top Fuel final. Hight and Jack Beckman put on quite a show in the Funny Car final with Hight edging Beckman by .012-second, 4.154 to 4.125. Larry Morgan outran Rickie Jones, who was forced to put his own engine in his car for the final after Morgan took back the engine he was leasing to the newcomer, in the Pro Stock final, winning on a 6.72 to 6.79 count. The Pro Stock Motorcycle final was decided on the starting line when Hector Arana went extremely red (-.144).
Welcome to Saturday (10 a.m. Pacific): It's another beautiful day at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with conditions being a repeat of what we saw yesterday. Racers in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series are presently running the first rounds of eliminations in advance of the two Pro qualifying sessions today. Super Stockers are on the track and will be followed by Comp round one and the second qualifying session of Pro Mod, which will also include round one of the Matco Tools Pro Mod Clash. The Pros are scheduled to hit the track for the first of two qualifiers at 11:30 a.m.
A little behind schedule (11:45 a.m. Pacific): Though we aren't quite as delayed as yesterday, we are behind nonetheless again, and the Pro session will be a little later than anticipated. Pro Mods are currently running, and after that, the Pro Stock Motorcycles will be up. The bikes are in the lanes right now getting ready.
Pro Stock Motorcycle, session three (12:20 p.m. Pacific): With sun on the track, Hector Arana's 6.979 was never in jeopardy. Eddie Krawiec was best of the session with a 7.023 that bettered his 7.029 from yesterday (he still stays No. 4 on the sheets, though). Krawiec's teammate, Andrew Hines, was second-quickest with a 7.028, and Arana had the third-best time, a 7.069. Entering the final qualifying session later today, Mike Berry sits on the bump at 7.194.
Pro Stock, session three (12:45 p.m. Pacific): Stop us if you've heard this before ... Mike Edwards was best of the session, bringing his bonus qualifying points total to nine out of a possible nine thus far. Edwards clocked a 6.664 that was about two-hundredths better than Ron Krisher, who is leasing an engine from Edwards. Krisher ran a 6.685, while Jason Line was third-best with a 6.698. Steve Spiess holds the all-important 16th spot with a 6.747.
Top Fuel, session three (1:40 p.m. Pacific): Larry Dixon once again showed the way, running a session-best 3.837 to bank three more points. Brandon Bernstein was the second-quickest with a 3.853, and Cory McClenathan was third-best of the session with a 3.862. Troy Buff's 4.035 is the bump spot heading into the final session.
Funny Car, session three (2:10 p.m. Pacific): Matt Hagan continues to show the way in Funny Car; his 4.153 was best of the third session. A couple of surprises behind him as two of hsi fellow non-Countdown drivers earned the rest of the bonus points. Cruz Pedregon was second-best at 4.161, and Jim Head earned one bonus point as the third-quickest driver at 4.168. Bob Bode is the current bump driver with a 4.281.
The semifinals of the Matco Tools Pro Mod Clash is next, followed by qualifying session No. 2 for Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car. The final qualifying session for the Pros will follow TAFC.
Pro Stock Motorcycle, session four (5:20 p.m. Pacific): Hector Arana will start race day from the No. 1 spot as his 6.97 was never seriously challenged. Arana wasn't the quickest of the final session, however. That honor went to Matt Smith, who posted a 7.058. Junior Pippin was the second-quickest rider at 7.087, and Arana was third with a 7.089. Mike Berry remained on the bump.
Pro Stock, session four (5:25 p.m. Pacific): Mike Edwards swept qualifying, posting the quickest time of the final session (6.682) to claim all 12 bonus points. Greg Anderson was next best with a 6.684, and Ron Krisher added another point to his tally with a 6.689 that ranked third. Kurt Johnson landed on the bump at 6.742.
Top Fuel, session four (5:45 p.m. Pacific): Antron Brown was the star of the final session, posting a 3.834 that moved him up to the No. 3 starting spot. Cory McClenathan posted the second-quickest time of the round (3.841), and Tony Schumacher was the third-best driver (3.847). Larry Dixon remained No. 1, and Morgan Lucas slipped down to the bump.
Funny Car, session four (6:35 p.m. Pacific): Matt Hagan's 4.030 remained untouched. Robert Hight was low of the round with a 4.089, followed by Tony Pedregon (4.113) and Bob Tasca III (4.130). The final session included high drama when Ashley Force Hood, second place in points, had to battle her way into the program. She was successful, posting a 4.197 to secure the 14th position. Interestingly, that pairs her with points leader and teammate Hight in round one.
Welcome to Friday (11:45 a.m. Pacific): Welcome to Friday, day two of the 2009 NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at the beautiful The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Currently, the Top Alcohol Funny Cars are ontrack for their first qualifiying session of the weekend. The Alcohol Dragsters will follow their flopper brothren, then it will be Pro Mods for their first shots at The Strip. Pro Stock Motorcycle is after Pro Mod, scheduled right now for 12:30 p.m., though it appears things are a little behind at this point so that may change. Skies are beautiful and sunny with a few whispy, white clouds overhead. Air temps are in the low 60s and the track temperature is listed at 79 right now, leaving many to excitedly wonder what may happen in the coming sessions.
Pro session delayed (12:30 p.m. Pacific): Due to a series of troubles and delays in the two alcohol classes, things are running behind in Las Vegas, and the Pro session, which was slated to begin right now, will be delayed. TAD is still on the dragstrip, making their first qualifying attempts. Pro Mod will follow, then it's into Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Pro Mods on the track (1:05 p.m. Pacific): The Pro Mods are now making their first qualifying passes of the weekend, and Pro Stock Motorcycle is in the lanes.
Pros are running (1:40 p.m. Pacific): The NHRA Full Throttle Pros are now getting their opportunity to run down the dragstrip here in Las Vegas. Eight motorcycles have made their runs, and the remaining riders attempting to make the field are sitting in the lanes waiting to go.
Pro Stock Motorcycle, session one (2 p.m. Pacific): Familiar faces are the leaders following the first qualfiying session in Pro Stock Motorcycle with the Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle team and Hector Arana occupying the first three spots. Andrew Hines leads the pack with a 6.990, while points leader Arana is second at 7.020. Eddie Krawiec is currently third at 7.029 seconds. Larry Cook's 7.127 is the 12th spot heading into the second session later today.
Pro Stock, session one (2:20 p.m. Pacific): No big surprise here: Mike Edwards is No. 1 again. Edwards clocked a 6.650 to claim the provisional No. 1 spot. Greg Anderson, who was in the lane next to Edwards, is second at 6.670, and Ron Krisher currently sits third with a 6.676. Steve Spiess holds the 12th spot with a 6.729.
Funny Car, session one (3:15 p.m. Pacific): Robert Hight added to his points lead when he collected the three extra points as the quickest driver in the first session. Hight was far and away the best of the floppers, running a 4.090 that was more than three-hundredths quicker than his nearest competitor. Jack Beckman, the No. 1 qualifier in Richmond, sits second currently with a 4.121, and Tony Pedregon earned an extra point for his 4.133 that was third-quickest of the session. Jeff Diehl enters the second session today in the 12th and final transfer spot with a 4.439.
Top Fuel, session one (4:20 p.m. Pacific): A surprising start to Top Fuel with Steve Torrence, who is making just his third appearance of the year, leading the pack. Torrence ran a 3.831 early in the session, and his run was never really threatened with Shawn Langdon coming closest with a 3.855. Cory McClenathan finished third with a 3.860. Antron Brown is the current No. 12 driver with a 4.227.
Comp is now on the track for a qualifying session. Once Comp is completed, the Pros will be back up.
Pro Stock Motorcycle, session two (5:30 p.m. Pacific): Hector Arana jumped to the top of the sheets with a 6.979. Andrew Hines slipped to second after he didn't bettter his 6.990 from earlier in the day; he was third-quickest of the session with a 7.015. Matt Smith was second-quickest of the second session with a 7.000 that places him third on the sheets. Steve Johnson is the final racer whose time with transfer over as he occupies the No. 12 spot with a 7.106.
Pro Stock, session two (6 p.m. Pacific): Mike Edwards just delivered a knock-out blow to his competitors with a track-record 6.623 that was close to four-hundredths better than everyone else. Vinnie Deceglie is a surprising No. 2 at 6.660, and Ron Krisher sits third with a 6.668. Greg Stanfield earned the final transfer spot with a 6.693.
Funny Car, session two (6:40 p.m. Pacific): Matt Hagan led a blistering Funny Car session that included some of the quickest and fastest runs in 1,000-foot history. Hagan clocked a 4.030 to grab the pole. On the run, he also posted the fastest speed in history, 313.88. Hagan's teammate Ron Capps was second-quickest with a 4.041, and Robert Hight, the leader of session one, was third best at 4.065.
Top Fuel, session two (7:35 p.m. Pacific): Larry Dixon, who has qualified No. 1 at all Countdown to 1 events so far is once again leading the dragsters after he powered to a 3.805 in the second session. He leads first-session frontrunner Steve Torrence, who had troubles on his second run and didn't better his 3.831. Tony Schumacher jumped to third with a 3.839, and Shawn Langdon, who began the session in second, slipped to third. Norwegian competitor Thomas Nataas ended up fifth with a 3.859.