Greg Anderson secured his second pole position of the 2019 season and will attempt to earn his fourth victory of the campaign at the Dodge NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil after running a 6.584-second pass at 207.91-mph. The former world champion is looking for his second-straight victory after locking up the win at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, the last stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour.
That win gave Anderson a fighting shot at winning his fifth championship and his first since 2010. He entered Las Vegas in seventh place after winning in Dallas, but was by no means out of the hunt. Picking up a handful of bonus points during Las Vegas qualifying did nothing but increase his chances of catching up to rival racer Erica Enders, who is qualified second.
"The fact that Ken Black, our team owner lives here, that means the world to us," said Anderson. "And, you know, back when we started this race team back in 2001, he told me, he says, 'You know, I don't really care what you do with the rest of the country, all these other brands as long as you do well here in Vegas.' And we didn't do well that very first race. So, we dedicated ourselves to stay in here and test before the next time we came here to race and ever since then, it's been great. The racetrack rewarded us back tenfold."
Enders finished Friday qualifying in the No. 1 spot, but was bumped out by Anderson in the third qualifying session. She was unable to take that spot back as she, and the vast majority of the Pro Stock field, did not improve in the final qualifying session. She will race Steve Graham in the first round of racing. The first round is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Pacific at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. You can find the full schedule here.
She held a 28-point lead over Matt Hartford, who drives the Total Seal Chevy Camaro with power from Elite Motorsports, entering Las Vegas. Her Melling Performance Chevy Camaro performed well in the first and third session but had a parts failure in the second session that kept her from earning qualifying points.
Jeg Coughlin Jr., who entered Las Vegas in third place, will race Fernando Cuadra Sr. from the No. 5 position. Coughlin is a six-time world champion and is looking for his second victory of the season. The JEGS.com Chevy Camaro driver won the second race of the season in Phoenix but has been shut out of the winner's circle since then.
Cristian Cuadra qualified for the second time in his career and the first time since the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals two events ago. He punched his way into the field on his final pass of qualifying, eliminating Joey Grose from the proceedings in the process. Cuadra will race No. 1 qualifier Anderson in the first round to chase down his first round victory. His brother, Fernando Cuadra Jr., missed the show, as did Richie Stevens Jr.