2014 O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals Saturday photo gallery
Saturday, June 28, 2014

News and views from the O'Reilly Auto Parts
Route 66 NHRA Nationals
presented by Super Start Batteries
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Eliminations in the Lucas Oil categories kicked off Saturday action at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries in Chicago. Rounds were completed in several classes before the prestigious JEGS Allstars special event took place.

Illinois race fans came out to Route 66 Raceway early to see their favorite drivers before the first Mello Yello qualifying sessions begin at 4:15 p.m.

There is a flurry of activity in the Mello Yello pits hours before the first session of qualifying.

(Above) The Optima Batteries dragster driven by J.R. Todd in Top Fuel was unloaded from the trailer with a sea of fans standing by.

(Left) Funny Car veteran Del Worsham, who won at Route 66 Raceway three times in Funny Car and once in Top Fuel, was happy to hang at the ropes and sign autographs for fans.
Top Fuel fan favorite Terry McMillen stood in front of the Amalie Motor Oil/UNOH pit likewise eager to interact with fans who are here to experience the fastest-accelerating machines on land.

(Below) Crews were hard at work preparing for the final day of qualifying. Chris "Warrior" Kullberg inspected the supercharger on the Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry Funny Car.

(Above) The reigning JEGS Allstars champions representing Division 3 took the stage as they prepare to go for their eighth team championship in the history of the event.

(Right) Last year's Stock winner and Super Stock runner-up Slate Cummings will have a chance to go for a JEGS Allstars double once again. He's a blocker in Stock and will be representing Division 4 in Super Stock.

Reigning Super Gas world champ Rick Beckstrom's trailer broke an axle on the way to the event from California, but he managed to get to Route 66 Raceway to represent Division 7 in the JEGS Allstars event.

The Central Region team got off to a hot start with the help of reigning JEGS Allstars Top Alcohol Funny Car champion Dale Brand, who defeated the West Region's Steve Gasparrelli in the first round.

The first round of JEGS Allstars competition ended with the Southeast and West Central Divisions tied for the lead. Sportsman ace Ray Miller III helped Division 2's cause with a round-win in Super Comp.

1996 Top Alcohol Funny Car champion Tony Bartone is back with a brand-new Steve Boggs-tuned Bartone Bros. Monte Carlo. "T-Bone" qualified No. 7 with a 5.68.

Top Dragster racer Phil Unruh hopes to deliver Division 5 its first JEGS Allstars title in the 30th year of the special event. His blown entry heads to the final round with the team holding a slight lead over Division 2.

Already qualified No. 3 with a 6.94, Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Scotty Pollacheck collected another bonus point in today's first session with a 6.95, the third-quickest run of the round. He has a new sponsor this weekend with Petrolhead Apparel, which sells their line of merchandise at the event.

Pro Stock veteran Larry Morgan has qualified at every event this season in the Lucas Oil Products Ford Mustang. He's on the outside looking in with one session to go after being plagued with traction issues.

Top Fuel independent Pat Dakin claimed the No. 13 spot in the field in the third qualifying session. The Commercial Metal Fabricators dragster ran 3.91 seconds. Spencer Massey was low for the session with a 3.85.

Matt Hagan was the quickest driver of the third Funny Car session by a bunch with a 4.09. It didn't improve his stock in the field at the No. 10 position, but the Magneti Marelli driver did earn three bonus points.

Brett Speer, near lane, picks the front wheels up at the start of his winning run in the JEGS Allstars Stock eliminator final. Speer was one of four winners in Division 5, which captured the overall title for the first time in the 30-year history of the event.

The Central Region cleaned up with Randy Meyer (Top Alcohol Dragster) and John Lombardo Jr. (Top Alcohol Funny Car) both scoring wins.

Meyer, pictured with wife Mary and daughter/clutch specialist Rachel, hasn't lost a round in national, regional, or special event competition in the Meyer Truck Centers/Smart Chicken A/Fuel Dragster since he won the Houston event in May.

(Above) Motorcycle drag racing legend Terry Vance was on hand to enjoy the action and watch rider Eddie Krawiec sweep the available bonus points in all four qualifying sessions on the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod.

Krawiec earned his fourth consecutive No. 1 qualifying position with a best of 6.87, 194.

(Left) Second-year rider Adam Arana surprisingly missed the starting field for the first time in his career. LE Tonglet's 7.057 held down the No. 16 spot.

Illinois native Kevin Lawrence put up a good fight to get his Modern Carriage '10 Cobalt into the 16-car Pro Stock field and just missed the 6.75-second cut.

(Above) Top Fuel rookie Richie Crampton needed to make a run good enough to get in the field in the final session, and the Aaron Brooks-led GEICO/Lucas Oil team overdelivered. Crampton ran a strong 3.79 at 324 mph to move into the No. 7 spot. (Below) Several drivers moved into the No. 1 spot previously occupied by Brittany Force in the final session of Top Fuel until Doug Kalitta settled in for good with a 3.76 at 327 mph.

Alexis DeJoria returned to action after sitting out the first day of qualifying with a bout of food poisoning. Her Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry had no trouble making the Funny Car field with a 4.14 on her first attempt.

The crowd's whet appetite for a three-second Funny Car run was satiated at the end of the final Funny Car session on Saturday.

ommy Johnson Jr. became the 10th driver in NHRA history to record a three-second Funny Car run and earned his first No. 1 qualifying position since the 2007 season with a 3.99 in Terry Chandler's Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger.