Friday's O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals photo blog
Friday, February 15, 2013

News and views from the O'Reilly Auto Parts
NHRA Winternationals
presented by Super Start Batteries
Last update: 4:30 p.m.
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  Day two of the 2013 season-opening O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries is playing out underneath another gorgeous sunny SoCal sky, and fans are pouring into Auto Club Raceway at Pomona for today's qualifying action.

Fans entering the venue can buy a souvenir program from vendors like Bert Lozosky, who's in his fourth year working the event and is selling seat cushions as part of a fundraiser for Chino Valley Community Church.

 Fans are enjoying the Hot Rod Junction in the pits, a special display area packed with all kinds of great iron, including sweet street cars that were past winners of the NHRA Museum's Twilight Cruise as well as historic drag race machines like the Howard Cams Twin Bear dragster (below) that the late, great Jack Chrisman drove to the Top Eliminator victory at the inaugural Winternationals in 1961.  

NHRA Members can get bonus coverage of the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Exclusive news, notes, quotes, and features are all part of the offerings presented at each event by the staff of National Dragster magazine, the official publication of the NHRA, and Portatree.

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The pits in Pomona are packed with fans eager for the day's lone qualifying session.

 The new Mello Yello interactive display in the pits has lots to offer race fans, including souvenir photos using green-screen technology (right) and a drag racing simulator (below).  

Funny Car ace Tim Wilkerson pored over data from Thursday's pass in anticipation of today's run.

[2:30 p.m.] Mike Edwards' new I am Second Camaro is first in Pro Stock after two sessions. The former world champ ran a 6.528 to drop Thursday leader V. Gaines to No. 2. Erica Enders-Stevens had the second-best effort today, a 6.539 that moved her to No. 3, and Vincent Nobile's new-look Mountain View Tire Dodge (below) ran a third-best 6.567 to move to fifth, just behind Jason Line, who didn't improve on his Thursday pass.

[3:15 p.m.] Reigning season champ Antron Brown, sporting a cockpit canopy on his Matco Tools dragster, raced into the No. 2 spot in Top Fuel with a 3.768 at 328.14 mph (top speed of the meet).

[3:25 p.m.] Just as happened Thursday to Funny Car low qualifier Gary Densham, Tony Schumacher grabbed the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel with a 3.758 and had a parachute malfunction and ended up in the sand trap. Schumacher stopped the car just before the catch net.

  Former Funny Car world champ Tony Pedregon had a disastrous second qualifying pass in his new American Racing Wheels entry. Pedregon’s machine began mixing up cylinders, then kaboomed the engine downtrack, sending the body skyward.

Pedregon, who rode out an even-scarier similar explosion in the first round of the 2008 Winternationals, was not injured. 

[4:30 p.m.] 2012 Funny Car champ Jack Beckman is off to a solid title defense; he's the No. 1 qualifier halfway through qualifying after posting a 4.045 to bypass Thursday leader Gary Densham. Johnny Gray (4.085) and Del Worsham (4.101) had the two next-best passes of the day's lone session.