NHRA Story
Saturday Pomona photo blog
Saturday, February 08, 2014

News and views from the
Circle K NHRA Winternationals
Last update: 5 p.m.
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  The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California hosted the annual Night of Champions Friday night.

(Left) 2012 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car world champ Jack Beckman played emcee for a panel that included another former NHRA Funny Car champ, Matt Hagan, as well as Erica Enders-Stevens, reigning NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., and the legendary "TV Tommy" Ivo.

Day two of Pro qualifying has dawned, and teams like DHL's Toyota Funny Car group are unloading and preparing their mounts for the final two shots of qualifying in anticipation of Sunday's final eliminations.

  The Hot Rod Junction in the pits is host to a wide variety of machinery, including Jr. Dragsters, vintage hot rods, and race cars.

(Left) One interesting addition is the restored 1970s-vintage wheelstander of "General Jerry" Lee, who was on hand with his pride and joy.

Race fans cruising the Nitro Alley interactive area can stop by the Mello Yello display, where they not only can sample the iconic beverage, but also take part in fun activities, including a racing simulator (below).

Eliminations are under way in a number of Lucas Oil Sportsman classes, including Super Comp.

After setting the provisional national record in Funny Car Friday night, crew chief Jimmy Prock and John Force are all fired up as they prepare for Saturday's final two qualifying sessions.

[1 p.m.] Jason Line (above) grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot in Pro Stock late in the day's first session with a 6.541 but had to relinquish the position at the end when Allen Johnson (below) duplicated that number but at a faster speed, 212.96 to 212.93. V. Gaines grabbed the No. 3 spot with a 6.515.

  [1:40 p.m.] Shawn Langdon (above) didn't run quick enough to retake the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel, but his 3.753 in the third session was the best of the frame and earned him three bonus points.

Doug Kalitta had the second-best time with a steady 3.760 but stayed fourth; Spencer Massey (left) was third with a 3.768 that lifted him to the No. 5 qualifying spot.

  [2:40 p.m.] Alexis DeJoria (left) became the ninth Funny Car driver and the first woman to run in the three-second zone when she booted her Patron XO Café Toyota to a 3.997 that was the quickest run of the third session and moved her up to No. 3 on the qualifying sheets.

Tommy Johnson Jr. (above) had the round's next-best time, a 4.069 in Terry Chandler's Make-A-Wish/Don Schumacher Racing Charger.

A beautiful sunny Southern California day has welcomed fans out to Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

 (Above) Tony Pedregon, left, unveiled his new Nostalgia Funny Car, a tribute car of "TV Tommy" Ivo's late-1970s Dodge. Ivo was on hand for the unveiling and was shocked at what a masterful job Pedregon did in re-creating the car. He even took his familiar spot behind the wheel (right).  

Mike Boyd and the crowd-pleasing Winged Express fuel altered thrilled the Pomona fans. After a hard launch, the car hiked the front end downtrack, leading to a typical white-knuckle fuel altered pass.

  [4 p.m.] Vincent Nobile (above) ended up with the last laugh in Pro Stock, stealing the No. 1 qualifying position from his former teammate Allen Johnson with a 6.510 blast in the Mountain View Tire/KB Racing Camaro. Johnson fired back with a 6.512 on his final attempt but fell just short.

Erica Enders-Stevens also is doing well in her new ride. She piloted the Elite Motorsports Camaro to a 6.516 in the final qualifying session to end up in the No. 4 spot.

[4:20 p.m.] It cost him a few pistons, but Clay Millican (above) put his and Dexter Tuttle's Parts Plus/Liquid MPG dragster into the Top Fuel field on his final attempt with a 3.843. Rookie Richie Crampton (below) is 1-for-1 in his career qualifying efforts after driving the GEICO/Lucas Oil/Morgan Lucas Racing machine to a solid 3.786.

[4:40 p.m.] After clocking a trio of impressively consistent mid-3.7-second times, Doug Kalitta and crew chief Jim Oberhofer lowered the boom on the Top Fuel field on their final pass. The Mac Tools/Kalitta Motorsports dragster raced to a track record 3.713 that also was the third-quickest time in history to earn the No. 1 spot.

[5 p.m.] Two former Funny Car world champs had to use last-ditch passes to make Sunday's field. 2012 titlist Jack Beckman (above) raced to a 4.049 to get his Valvoline Dodge into the show, and two-time champ (1992, 2008) Cruz Pedregon fared even better with his Snap-on Toyota with a 4.001 that lifted him into the No. 4 spot. John Force held on to the No. 1 qualifying spot with his Friday pass.

Friday's Winternationals photo blog