Alex Laughlin has put Denver in the rearview mirror. The driver of the Havoline Chevy Camaro captured the Pro Stock pole at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals with a pass of 6.520-seconds at 210.8-mph. That washed away a poor performance to start the Western Swing at the Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver and set up the Elite Performance team for success in Sonoma.
Laughlin will take on Kenny Delco in the first round of competition as he chases his first victory of the 2019 season. He reached the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in March and went to the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals final in June and entered Sonoma third in points. The Texan is racing full-time for the second time in his career and is hunting down his first world championship while also racing in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series.
"It gives me a ton of confidence and my whole team, especially coming from Denver where we had our worst race of the whole season," said Laughlin. "The car is running great, I'm driving well and we have a great shot at winning the whole thing tomorrow."
American Ethanol Chevy Camaro driver Deric Kramer slotted into the second position with a 6.523-second lap at 210.93-mph. He is chasing his second win of the season after capturing the Wally at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago in June. The Denver-based racer fell to K.B. Racing teammate Greg Anderson in the semifinals of his home race, the last stop on tour.
Another K.B. Racing driver, Bo Butner, will race from the No. 4 spot. He leads the points by a wide margin thanks to four wins in four finals. He won the 2017 Pro Stock championship and is coming off the first opening-round loss of the season at the last stop on tour. He has qualified in the bottom half of the lead the last two races, so his top-five qualification is a rebound for the former world champ.
Former world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. rounds out the top four in the No. 3 position. He is looking for his second win of the season after an early-season victory in Phoenix (February). He has reached the semifinals at the last two races on tour, but the former champ has also lost in the first round four times in 2019. He will face Fernando Cuadra Jr. in the first round.
The first round of racing is set for 11 a.m. Pacific at Sonoma Raceway, beginning with Top Fuel. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.tv.