NHRA SuperNationals event notebook
Monday, June 14, 2010
News and notes from Monday at the 41st annual NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Compiled by the National DRAGSTER staff.
MONDAY (Previous: Friday | Saturday | Sunday)
Last update: 11:15 a.m. (Click to latest)
Let's do this (10:10 a.m.): It's Monday in Jersey, and we're still here, ready to finish Sunday's unfinished business. Last night was one big tease, with the Safety Safari having the track race-ready no less than three times only to have it begin to rain again.
The plan is to resume Sportsman eliminations at 10:15, then run the Full Throttle, Pro Mod, and alcohol cars, then back into Sportsman eliminations.
It's cloudy and was misting earlier, but seems OK now. All we need is two hours.
Here we go (10:30 a.m.): Fifteen minutes late, but we're burning rubber in Stock.
No audiocast: For those of you asking, sorry, no live audiocast today.
TV update (10:45 a.m.): Obviously there will be no "show" tonight, but there's a possibility we may be able to get the finals aired on an ESPN networks show tonight. Failing that, the final rounds will be shown during the qualifying show next Saturday for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals from Bristol.
Getting close (10:55 a.m.): The nitro crew chiefs from the four remaining teams are checking out the starting line. Larry Dixon is also scoping out the Tree, no doubt sticking his foot into the beams to see how bright the bulbs will be on this overcast day.
Final rounds (11 a.m.): Steve Johnson and Michael Phillips are first up to settle the two-wheeled war. Phillips slaps a .012 light on S.J. and rides to a holeshot win, 6.911, 194.32 to Johnson's .057-launched career-best 6.886, 194.63. Johnson is runner-up for the second straight race.
Mike Edwards duplicates Phillips' light with a .012 of his own, which pretty much meant the end for Shane Gray's hopes. Edwards blasts to a 6.596, 209.39 to beat Gray's 6.634, 209.07 for his seventh Pro Stock win of the season.
Can Del Worsham get the first leg of what would be a first-ever Al-Anabi winner's circle. Team Maroon also has Frank Manzo in the Alcohol Funny Car final and both Pro Mod finalists. Nope, but with an explanation.
Wow, amazing. The win light comes on for Worsham – and his crew goes crazy -- but that's only because the win light was triggered at the quarter-mile and not the 1,000-foot mark. E.T.s of 4.71 and 4.73 came up on the scoreboards, indications that something was amiss.
After a few seconds, the announcement was made that Tasca had reached the 1,000-foot mark first and his sullen crew suddenly has a 180-degree emotion flip and goes crazy.
True e.t.s were 4.117 for Tasca, winning a on a holeshot over Worsham's 4.107. Tasca had a .027 light to Worsham's .104.
Top Fuel is a little more conventional as Dixon blasts to a 3.824, 320.05 to beat Antron Brown, who's up in smoke to a 6.314, 101.94.
Remembering Scott: For many of the race teams, yesterday's highlight came not on the racetrack but in the pits as Team Kalitta held its second annual tribute to Scott Kalitta in their pit area. We lost Scott two years ago at this race but from the turnout it's clear that he'll never be forgotten.
The Kalitta team played amazing hosts, and the beer, lobster, seafood, and finger food flowed freely throughout the night. Fond memories were shared, general BSing and benchracing were at the 8,000-horsepower level, and the proverbial good time was had by all. It was an all-star fest for sure with just about every major fuel driver, crew chief, and crewman, and numerous Pro Stock and alcohol drivers on hand. Neal Parker also was honored at the event by the Kalitta team as another brother lost too soon. The good times lasted well into the evening, and provided a welcome stress reliever I the midst of an arduous June.
Special awards (10:30 a.m.): A part of the pre-race ceremonies, NHRA handed out special awards to several teams. Dina Parise's Pro Mod '63 Corvette was named Best Appearing Car while the Karen Stalba Alcohol Dragster team was named Best Appearing Crew. The Best Engineered Vehicle award was presented to Scott Albrecht for his '62 Corvette Super Gasser.
Ready to rumble (10:55 a.m.): The nitro crew chiefs are giving the track a last look before they saddle their drivers up for round one, which is minutes away. The first pair out will be a battle of Top Fuel teammates, Doug Kalitta versus Dave Grubnic.
Top Fuel round one (11:35 a.m.): Track temp is 107 degrees and headed up under sunny skies. The round started with two pairs of teammates – Doug Kalitta vs. Dave Grubnic and Morgan Lucas vs. Shawn Langdon – and only got crazier from there. The Kalitta cars both freewheeled their way to the finish line, skating around like they're driving on ice before DK got the win. The other one doesn't get that far as Langdon's crew can't get his mount to fire. As they worked on it and Lucas went through his pre-race burnout, the chutes somehow popped out of Langdon's pack, and the team threw up its hands in disgust and threw in the towel. Morgan smoked the tires at 300 feet.
Cory McClenathan had the bye next and he told us last night if the conditions were at all conducive his team would throw the kitchen sink at the car in an attempt to back up their record run, even if it meant smoking the tires and forfeiting lane choice. The conditions aren't great, so we'll see. Yup, more tire smoke.
Scott Palmer broke on the launch against Antron Brown and stopped on the track before 660 feet. Steve Chrisman continued the wacky round, breaking on the burnout against Larry Dixon, who lost traction at halftrack.
Terry McMillen's Richard Hartman-tuned Amalie dragster upset Steve Torrence, who smoked the tires and almost chased down T-Mac's head-gasket-eating 4.29. Terry Haddock was similarly putting it to tire-smoking Tony Schumacher, but couldn’t hold him off as his engine went sour at the big end.
Brandon Bernstein's cylinder-dropping 3.97 is low for the round, and the only three-second pass of the frame
Second-round pairings, lane choice in bold:
McClenathan vs. Kalitta
Brown vs. McMillen
Bernstein vs. Lucas
Dixon vs. Schumacher
Funny Car round one (noon): The track temp is up to 112 and the favored left lane continues to bite people who took it, including Tim Wilkerson against Jim Head, who went right down the right lane, prompting Robert Hight to switch to the right lane for his bye run. He also told us last night he'd like to get the record if the conditions were there but, unlike Cory Mac, would not risk smoking the tires and losing lane choice … yet he does anyway, smoking the hoops at midtrack to a 5.35. Team boss John Force, however, also switches side and follows him down the lane and goes 4.16. Nice!
Ron Capps, with lane choice, stayed in the left lane and it cost him against teammate Jack Beckman and third DSR teammate Matt Hagan chooses the right and advances against Tony Pedregon. Bob Tasca III is low for the round and gets lane choice over Force, 4.162 to 4.166, after beating left-lane tire-hazing Ashley Force Hood. Del Worsham closes with a stunning left-lane win and a decent 4.22 to earn lane choice against Hight.
Second-round pairings, lane choice in bold
Hight vs. Worsham
Head vs. Beckman
Force vs. Tasca
Arend vs. Hagan
Pro Stock round one (12:25 p.m.): The crazy first round continues as Larry Morgan lights the win light, an apparent holeshot winner, even though replays showed he was behind Greg Anderson at the stripe. Turns out that the win light was triggered at 1,000 feet instead of 1,320 because the system had not been switched over from the fuel racing.
Vinnie Deceglie can't take advantage of a career-best No. 2 qualifying spot and still has yet to notch his first career round win in the class as Greg Stanfield zaps him on a holeshot.
Allen Johnson is low for the round at 6.620 just ahead of Mike Edwards' 6.621.
Second-round pairings, lane choice in bold
Edwards vs. Anderson
vs. Jeg Coughlin
Stanfield vs. Johnny Gray
Bob Yonke vs. Shane Gray
Pro Stock Motorcycle round one (12:40 p.m.): The round opens with a surprising holeshot win by Shawn Gann over former E-Town employee Eddie Krawiec and continues a wacky theme as Steve Johnson wins a weird one against Redell Harris, leaving super late and winning when Harris' bike quits at the top end.
Second-round pairings, lane choice in bold
Michael Phillips vs. Shawn Gann
Matt Smith vs. Karen Stoffer
Arana vs. LE Tonglet
Johnson vs. Andrew Hines
Update (1:15 p.m.): After a quick round of alcohol cars, we're back into the Full Throttle classes. Although the sun is now hidden behind a thin layer of clouds, the forecast now has pushed rain back to 7 p.m. … good news, though we may still get a shower at 3 p.m.. Track prep, then into Top Fuel!
Top Fuel round two (1:30 p.m.): After only one three-second run in round one, every winner in round two is in the threes. Despite holding lane choice, Doug Kalitta's team picked what had been the out-of-favor left lane, which is where he won in round one but most others didn't, and he storms to a 3.902 while Cory Mac, who had a problem on his burnout, is up in smoke immediately.
Another monster Larry Dixon vs. Tony Schumacher pairing, this one an early one. It's their seventh meeting of the year, even at 3-3, but Dixon, also in the left lane, gets the win and locks up his spot in the Countdown playoffs in the process, joining Pro Stock's Mike Edwards, who accomplished that feat in qualifying.
Antron Brown goes low for the round at 3.883 in the left lane to beat Terry McMillen and Brandon Bernstein runs 3.914 to defeat tire-smoking Morgan Lucas.
Semifinal pairings, lane choice in bold
Kalitta vs. Brown
Bernstein vs. Dixon
Funny Car round two (1:40 p.m.): Jack Beckman advances from the right lane after Jim Head gets loose at midcourse and Del Worsham out of the left at 4.23 to take down low qualifier Robert Hight, who breaks 'em loose at midtrack. I guess the lanes are equal, yet solid or treacherous, depending on how you approach them.
See what I mean? Bob Tasca III runs 4.175 in the right lane to beat a mid-track-smoking John Force and Matt Hagan follows suit with a 4.19 against Jeff Arend.
Semifinal pairings, lane choice in bold
Worsham vs. Beckman
Tasca vs. Hagan
Pro Stock round two (1:50 p.m.): Johnny Gray gets past Greg Stanfield and son Shane joins him with a 6.63 after Bob Yonke's red-light, meaning father will face son for the first time, and one of the two will go to the final round. An honest dad said at he top end, I'd like to go to the final, but I've been there before and Shane hasn't, so I'd like to see him there, too."
Greg Anderson tattoos Mike Edwards at the Tree back can't hold off Edwards' strong 6.604.
Allen Johnson can't get the tires to spin in the water in two tries, then does a weak smoker and moves to the line. AJ makes a good launch but slows to a 6.97, far behind Jeg Coughlin's 6.61, which won't earn Jeg lane choice against Edwards.
Semifinal pairings, lane choice in bold
Edwards vs. Coughlin
J. Gray vs. S. Gray
Pro Stock Motorcycle round two (2 p.m.): Andrew Hines is -.039 and red on the Tree against Steve Johnson, who runs a strong 6.91. Michael Phillips advances with a 6.95 after Shawn Gann sits up and shuts off early.
Karen Stoffer is .000 perfect on the Tree but her 7.13 can't hold off Matt Smith's 6.97. Chicago winner LE Tonglet goes 6.96 to beat Hector Arana and will face Johnson in a rematch of their Chicago final. That's six straight round wins for Tonglet.
Semifinal pairings, lane choice in bold
Tonglet vs Johnson
Semifinals (3:15 p.m.): After a quick but efficient starting-line track scrape, we're ready to set some finalists.
Top Fuel: Larry Dixon beats another old rival, Brandon Bernstein, with a 3.861 that will earn him final-round lane choice over Antron Brown, who beat Doug Kalitta with a 3.866.
Funny Car: Del Worsham gets back to the final round, his first since last year's Richmond event, with a 4.180 to 4.185 conquest of Jack Beckman. Worsham will face Bob Tasca III, who drove around Matt Hagan's holeshot to win by just .003-second with a 4.154 that will earn BT3 final-round lane choice.
Pro Stock: It's all-Gray, all the time as father Johnny takes on son Shane, who will reach his first final, beating pop, 6.65 to 6.66. The Pro Stock rookie will take on veteran Mike Edwards, who drove around Jeg Coughlin's holeshot to win with low e.t. of eliminations thus far, 6.592 to 6.622. Edwards, winner of the last two events, will be shooting for his first ever three-race win streak and will have lane choice on his side.
Pro Stock Motorcycle: Michael Phillips, who had never been the low qualifier in his long history and has never won this race, reaches the final easily with a 6.99 after Matt Smith shuts down at halftrack. Steve Johnson reverses the outcome of last week's Chicago final by beating LE Tonglet, 6.96 to 7.01 to earn lane choice.
Rain delay (3:40 p.m.): Midway through the late rounds of Sportsman action, we've got sprinkles and we're on hold. Not sure how bad or how long it's going to be.
Update (4:10 p.m.): It's an unspectacular yet steady rain that's falling. Not enough to soak you on a walk through the pits but one that will lead to a significant delay. There's a second weather band behind this one as well, so it will be touch and go for a while. Stay tuned.
Drying underway (4:35 p.m.): The rain has topped and the drying equipment is out n the track, beginning the long process of making it raceable again. In addition to the usual assortment of vehicles, there are a number of other cars working the shutdown area, driving back and forth to help speed the process.
Your update on the hour (5 p.m.): Even though it's still sprinkling at a pretty good clip, the work goes on, with handbrooms on the starting line, the tractors and Power Bosses running the length of the track, and the dryers in the shutdown area. The sun has even found a break in the clouds to shine down and help!
Update (5:35 p.m.): We're closing in on restarting. the first evidence is the nitro crew chiefs checking out the starting line, the second is the warming of engines from the Stockers under the tower whose round was interrupted. There's been no announcement of a run order yet, but the guess is that the Pros will run pretty quickly.
Back to action .. almost (5:45): After about a 90-minute delay, we were ready to go back to action, completing the round of Stock. All of the Full Throttle finalists are in the lanes and ready ... and then it starts sprinkling again.
'Nother update (6:40 p.m.): At the risk of jinxing it again, we're getting close. The equipment is now mostly concentrated on the starting line and crewmembers are milling again. Stany by.
Here we go (6:55 p.m.): After a two-hour and 15-minute delay, engines are fired and we're ready to finish off ... oh, for Pete's sake. What, now I can't even get the "here we go" post posted without a dry track suddenly becoming wet again? Fine.
I'm not going to post another update until the first car is in the burnout box. Until then you can assume that either:
a) It's still raining
b) It's stopped raining and track drying is underway
c) The track is dry but it's going to rain again any second.
OK, so I lied (8:20 pm.): Still here, still waiting. The Safety Safari is drying the track, and we're up against a 9 p.m.-ish curfew, so it's a race to see if we can finish drying the track and get some more cars down the track. I'll admit, the chances look pretty slim. Most of the Pro finalists have left the staging lanes, but you've got to hand it to the Safety Safari .... they just never give up.
Finalists to the lanes! (8:35 p.m.): Against all odds, we just may get this thing in. The track is minutes away from being ready. We're going to finish that round of Stock, then the Full Throttle classes, Pro Mod, and alcohol, all of which are down to the finals. The balance of the Sportsman competition will be contested Monday. Stand by to crown some winners!
And we're done (8:45 p.m.): OMG. Just as we were firing the Stockers again, and the pro finalists were in their places with bright shiny faces, it begins to rain again. We're done. Everything finishes tomorrow. Amazing.
Ready to rock (11:30 a.m.): It's Saturday in Jersey, and an overcast/partly sunny day at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. We're in the midst of some Sportsman eliminations to make up for yesterday's truncated schedule, and we're scheduled to go into Full Throttle qualifying session three next, beginning with Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Track prep is next then the two wheelers. After last night's fantasyland conditions, I'm sure we won't see anything near the level we had then, but if this event's past is an indicator – and it usually is -- we're probably still in for some exciting action. Stand by!
Pro Stock Motorcycle session 3 (12:05 p.m.): Yesterday's low qualifier Michael Phillips says the air is about 500 feet worse than yesterday. Track temp is 97 degrees and there's a headwind. Injured rider Doug Horne is on hand watching the action and says he's shooting for a September return.
An interesting start. Craig Treble, who never made it past the Tree yesterday under power, loses fire in the water. You can see his shoulders slump. Another team rushes in with its starter and gets him relit and he bashes into the field with a 6.97. Behind him, Tom Micelli, whose two runs yesterday ended in the sand, makes a run, a 7.21, and pumps his fist in the shutdown area like he qualified No. 1 but it's actually because he's able to get it whoaed down.
Seems about two-hundredths slower across the board.
Phillips is the quickest again, running a 6.929, but it's not quick enough to back up last night's 6.85 for the record. Steve Johnson is second-quick with a 6.943.
Pro Stock session 3 (12:40 p.m.): JEGS crew chief Roy Simmons predicts low e.t. for the factory hot rods with be 6.55 this session. Track prep underway.
In addition to the need to qualify well for this event, several drivers also are jockeying for spots in the K&N Horsepower Challenge to be held in two weeks in Norwalk. There's just this event and Bristol next week to secure one of seven spots in the field; the eighth spot will be filled by a fan vote.
We see several high-6.50s early, most notably from Allen Johnson (6.584), who was not in the field before he ran after missing the setup in last night's prime conditions, and Johnny Gray (6.589). Both are trumped by Mike Edwards' 6.579, but it shows their mettle. Vinnie Deceglie, whose 6.548 yesterday made his the world's fastest Dodge Pro Stock racer (A.J.'s career best is a 6.549), remains the No. 2 qualifier.
Justin Humphreys is on the bump with a 6.633.
Nitro track prep and the crew chief walk underway. Stand by for nitro.
Top Fuel session 3 (1:15 p.m.): First pair up is Larry Dixon and Doug Foley. Odd to see Dixon leading off, but the order is based on last night's runs, and Dixon didn't make it down the track. We're just a few minutes away.
He may have gone first, but he also went fast, his 3.814 is tops for the round, just holding off Cory McClenathan's 3.815. Cory Mac needs to run 3.789 sometime this weekend to back up his 3.752 from last night.
Steve Torrence pulls out of line after getting a suspicious low-pressure reading on the gauge.
Flopper cars next.
Funny Car session 3 (1:45 p.m.): It's still overcast and yet muggy. Track temp is 104, thanks to no sun.
Mike Kloeber is helping Tony Pedregon this weekend, Not sure if it's a longterm deal, a tryout, or a one-shot deal, but with Kloeber's reputation, it's a great addition.
Lotta cars not making it down the track, and the 4.0s we saw last night are gone.
Ron Capps looks good early with a 4.119 in the NAPA Batteries car and Cruz Pedregon is also quick with a 4.126, but Tim Wilkerson betters them both with a 4.113, setting the stage for last night's heroes, Robert Hight and John Force.
Hight's Friday 4.025 could serve as a backup to break Matt Hagan's week-old 4.022 national record. Neither car makes it all the way and coast to five-second passes.
Historic Pro Mod field (3 p.m.): Pro Stock veteran Pat Musi, out of NHRA racing for a number of years, returned to E-Town this weekend to compete in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Series and became another part of the sport's history as it was his 5.942 blast that made this the first all-five-second Pro Mod field. At the time, Tim Tindle's 5.995 held down the anchor, but Melanie Troxel bumped him with a 5.986 that became the bump. She then was bumped by Brad Personnet's 5.972, leaving another former Pro Stck vet, Rickie Smith, finally on the bump of the historic field with a 5.980.
Pro Stock Motorcycle session 4 (3:35 p.m.): Tom Micelli started the final session on the bump with a 7.212 and doesn't improve, leaving himself vulnerable but no one can get past him.
Weather conditions just are not conducive right now to running fast, so it's a strong bet Michael Phillips will stay No. 1.
Hometown hero Eddie Krawiec does improve from a 6.98 to a 6.96 to make it to the top half of the field and Matt Smith throws down a 6.951 that's the best of the round, with Phillips a few ticks back at 6.956.
Pro Stock session 4 (4 p.m.): Legendary Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins is among the interested parties on the starting line as the final session begins. Like in the bikes, the bump qualifier – in this case, Justin Humphreys at 6.633 – remains in the final spot.
Allen Johnson's Dodge continues to thunder despite the heat, backing up his earlier 6.584 with a 6.583 but Jeg Coughlin (6.581) has the best run of the round. Mike Edwards can only muster a 6.605.
Among those not making the field are Ron Krisher and Rickie Jones – fifth and 10th in points, respectively – setting the stage for some dramatic changes in the standings Sunday.
Top Fuel session 4 (4:35 p.m.): The sun has broken through and the track temp is 112 degrees, so we're not expecting anything special, just tune-up runs for Sunday. With only 15 dragsters on hand, Scott Palmer and steve Chrisman, who each made one pass Friday and sat out until now, renew their spots in the field with passes of 4.052 and 4.208.
A lot of low 3.90s and high 3.80s as most cars make full pulls, but Larry Dixon again is the star with a 3.856. Brandon Bernstein (3.860), Tony Schumacher (3.881) and Antron brown (3.886) also made good passes.
Funny Car session 4 (5 p.m.): It's all Force, all the time as the three Force cars run the three best passes, led by low qualifier and world champ Robert Hight's 4.138. Ashley Force Hood was next quick at 4.140 and team boss John Force ran 4.138. Hight stays No. 1 and Force No. 2.
Welcome to Friday (12:30 p.m.): Welcome to Day 2 of the NHRA SuperNationals at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, better known to harcore fans simply as "Englishtown." It rained here late yesterday afternoon, canceling the day's second comp qualifying session, and today was originally forecast to be sunny but it's far from that. Semi-menacing clouds dot the sky, with small gaps of blue that allow the sun to shine through. I wouldn't say rain was imminent, but definitely possible, though they seem to be moving through.
We've got Sportsman qualifying underway right now, but we're a little behind schedule. Comp qualifying has completed. Pro Mods are supposed to run at 2:30 and Pro Stock at 3 p.m., but we may be behind that. We'll keep you up to date.
Update (3.p.m): We've been down for a period of time following an ontrack incident involving Alcohol Funny Car racer Neal Parker. Officials are now projecting a return to action at 4 p.m. local time, beginning with Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Update (4:15 p.m.): NHRA officials had the sad duty of announcing to the crowd and to the media that Parker succumbed to injuries suffered in the crash [see story]. The race will continue in his honor.
Reflecting the somber mood here, the skies are alsmost completely filled with clouds, and no sunshine is falling on Old Bridge Township Raceway Park this sad day.
Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle racers have been inspecting the starting line the last half-hour in preparation for their first qualifying attempts. The schedule calls for the nitro cars to follow them, then the resumption of the alcohol sessions, followed by Pro Mod and, hopefully, the day's second Pro qualifying session.
Pro Stock Motorcycle session 1 (4:45 p.m.): After a moment of silence for Parker, some comforting words from Racers for Christ chaplain Larry Smiley, and Bob Frey's announcement that NHRA has dedicated the race in Parker's memory, we're underway with the first bike session.
Trouble-plagued Karen Stoffer gets some payback for her tough-to-date season with a solid 6.901 that has her GEICO Suzuki at the head of the pack. Michael Phillips wows the crowd with a 196.07-mph blast on a 6.908 pass that's good for No. 2 in a session where a lot of racers had problems. Reddell Harris is No. 12 at 7.129.
Craig Treble is back to riding his own Team Scream Suzuki after being released from the Don Schumacher team following last weekend's event in Chicago but his bike bogged badly off the line.
Pro Stock session 1 (5:25 p.m.): The sun has reappeared. Vinnie Deceglie, who bracket raced throughout this area before moving to California and becoming a Pro Stock racer, grabs the No 1 spot early with a 6.580 that holds on throughout most of the session before being pushed back by Jeg Coughlin's 6.571. Mike Edwards then bumped 'em both back with a monster 6.550, 210.70 that broke his own track record of 6.555 set last year and Greg Anderson's 210.57, set here in 2007.
Shane Gray and father Johnny made nearly identical runs of 6.585 and 6.586 and ended up No. 5 and No. 7, sandwiched around Jason's Line 6.586. Rodger Brogdon holds down the No. 12 spot at 6.601.
Funny Car session 1 (6 p.m.): New national record holder Matt Hagan doesn't appear to have slowed any from his race win in Chicago as he posted a 4.119 in the DieHard Dodge to lead the pack. Tim Wilkerson is No. 2 at 4.145 and Bob Tasca III, who won this race in 2007 in Alcohol Funny Car, is third at 4.150. Tasca was delighted by his early-leading run as it was the team's first run with a complete BOSS 500 Ford engine.
Paul Lee's 7.47 is No. 12; 15 cars made passes.
Top Fuel session 1 (6:35 p.m.): With a thin layer of grayish clouds now overhead, the track temp is down to 102 degrees for the Top Fuelers.
"The Sarge" marches to the No. 1 spot with a 3.830, bumping early leader Shawn Langdon's 3.835 from the top spot in the session's final pair. Larry Dixon, who ran alongside Schumacher, is third with a 3.836.
Dave Grubnic ended up No. 12 with a 5.26.
Pro Stock Motorcycle session 2 (8:15 p.m.): After rousing rounds of alcohol and Pro Mod qualifying, we're back into the Full Throttle classes. The track temperature is a cool 89 degrees, the sun is just setting, and we're ready to rewrite everything recorded earlier in the day.
Funny Car session 2 (9:20 p.m.): After Jim Head went bowling for cones in crossing the cernterline, Robert Hight and John Force ran next in the second pairing (due to their poor first runs) and thrilled the fans with a side-by-isde 4.025 to 4.037 run. Hight's pass is the sixth quickest ever, Force's the 11th quickest. Hight also owns the quickest (4.005).
Unfortunately, most of the other cars behind them can't get down the track, including national record holder Matt Hagan.
Top Fuel session 2 (9:55 p.m.): Cory McClenathan certainly had no problems with the superior conditions, blasting to a 3.752, far and away the quickest pass in class history, supplanting the 3.771 registered in Richmond in 2008 by Tony Schumacher and his speed of 324.75 in second only to the 324.98 recorded by Schumacher earlier this year in Gainesville.
Larry Dixon smoked the tires, losing his chance to better Cory Mac's pass, leaving it up to Schumacher, but he also was unable to make it the full 1,000 feet under power.
That's it for the night ... a wild finish to the day.
It's raceday! (9:30 a.m.): After a night of handwringing over today's projected weather forecast – which ranged from catastrophic to just fine depending on whose pit you visited – raceday has dawned with blue and sunny skies. There's a threat of thunderstorms later in the day, around 3 p.m., but we saw that same prediction yesterday without any real result. We'll deal with that when it comes.
Here's another interesting note from weather.com for the area: "A hot and humid day in store for the region... The combination of high temperatures of around 90 degrees and afternoon dew points averaging in the lower 70s will produce heat indices that will reach into the lower to mid 90s later today. This will match if not slightly exceed Memorial Day as the most oppressive day of the warm season so far."
It wouldn't be E-Town any other way.
Preparations for pre-race activities are underway; that's scheduled for 10 a.m.