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Friday's O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals photo gallery
Friday, April 25, 2014

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NHRA SpringNationals
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Though it was a later start today with the first session slated for 4 p.m., the teams in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, including the AAA Texas group of Robert Hight, were at the track early, unloading the cars and getting ready. Hight had a tough first day in Funny Car, failing to make a full pull on either one of his attempts.

Prior to NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying, drivers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, including Super Comp, hit the track for qualifying and time runs in preparation for eliminations, which begin tomorrow.

Some of the Jr. Dragster drivers from Royal Purple Raceway were displaying their cars under the grandstands, promoting the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League. The young racers are slated to make exhibition passes tomorrow and Sunday.

After five races on the sidelines due to heart surgery, Greg Anderson got back behind the wheel of his Summit Racing Camaro. To help protect him against the G forces of the parachutes hitting, Anderson built a special chest protector to use in the car. Anderson had a solid first day back with a conservative 6.63 in Pro Stock Q1 and a 6.60 on his second attempt.

Erica Enders-Stevens proved she was going to once again be a factor in the Pro Stock class this weekend, blasting to a 6.56 that was about a hundredth and a half better than the rest of the field in the first qualifying session. Enders-Stevens also ran a 6.56 in the second round of qualifying and finished the day No. 2 in the order.

Cruz Pedregon had one of several new looks to appear in the Funny Car ranks at this event with a fresh design on his Snap-on Toyota Camry.

Tommy Johnson Jr. has had one of the most consistent cars during qualifying this season, a trend that continued when he made the second-quickest run of the opening session in Funny Car at 4.13 seconds.

Top Fuel's Larry Dixon, right, took over the controls of Bob Vandergriff Jr.’s second dragster sponsored by Casedhole Solutions. The Mike Guger-tuned dragster ran a competitive 3.85 off the trailer.

While the John Force Racing Funny Cars struggled, the Castrol Edge dragster driven by Brittany Force was in fine form with a 3.85-second run in Top Fuel to open the day.

The Nitro Harleys are making the first of two appearances at NHRA national events here this weekend. The wild and unpredictable motorcycles hit the track and made the first of three qualifying runs in between NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying rounds. Jay Turner is the early pacesetter with a 6.30.

After a less-than-perfect run that still ranked second of the first Pro Stock session, Allen Johnson’s team made a nice, straight run in the evening, posting a 6.555 that moved him to the No. 1 spot on the ladder.

Dave Connolly led a strong day for the Gray Motorsports bunch that included five 6.5-second runs. Connolly’s 6.57 ranked as the third-best run of the second session and placed him third behind Allen Johnson and Erica Enders-Stevens. Connolly’s teammates, Shane and Jonathan Gray, also finished the day in the top half of the field.

“Fast Jack” Beckman ran strong in the debut of his Infinite Hero Foundation/Valvoline Dodge Charger. His 4.063 in the second session in Funny Car was the best run of the day until the final qualifying pair.

On the 25th anniversary of Scott Kalitta’s Funny Car win at this event, Del Worsham owned both qualifying sessions on Friday with a 4.133 to lead the opening session and a 4.051 at 314.68 mph to nab the provisional pole spot.

After smoking the tires on the first run, Top Fuel rookie Richie Crampton ran a strong 3.807 at 322.11 mph to put the GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster atop the field.

Doug Kalitta led the first session of Top Fuel qualifying with a 3.828 and closed the day of action with a 3.819 at 324.51 mph (top speed) to end up in the No. 3 spot behind Richie Crampton and Spencer Massey.