On Friday, NHRA Mello Yello Series Pros took to the track at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the first of three qualifying sessions for the 66th annual Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals and there will be two more runs today to set the fields in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle as well as the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod series, the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley Series, the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown.
There were a number of memorable performances on Friday, but no on ran quicker than past Super Comp and Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon, who drove the Kalitta Motorsports/DHL dragster to a 3.72 to lead the way in Top Fuel. Langdon has been the No. 1 qualifier 18 times in his career, and he’s qualified in the top half of the field in four of the five events held this season.
Ron Capps, winner of the most recent Indy event last month, has set himself up for even more success at Lucas Oil Raceway with a 3.895 run that holds the provisional pole in Funny Car. Capps has now won at least one race at every current venue on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour, but the NAPA Auto Parts-backed driver still lacks a U.S. Nationals title. A total of five drivers ran in the threes last night including Capps’ teammate, Matt Hagan, who will take on Jack Beckman in the rain-delayed final round from the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals in July.
As one might expect, the Pro Stock field is tightly bunched even after one run, and six-time world champion Greg Anderson is the pace-setter following a 6.549 run in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. Chris McGaha and Matt Hartford are also near the top of the qualifying chart while current points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. will be looking to improve after a 6.653 run that is the current bump spot.
Angie Smith has never been a low qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle but that will change if she can hang on through today’s two qualifying runs. Smith rode her Denso EBR to a 6.807 for the provisional pole, ahead of Eddie Krawiec and Scotty Pollacheck. In addition to qualifying, the top teams in Pro Stock Motorcycle will be busy today as the pursue the $25,000 top prize in the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle that was originally scheduled to run in Sonoma.
In addition to the Funny Car final featuring Hagan and Beckman, there is also unfinished business in Top Fuel, Pro Mod, and Top Fuel Harley from this summer’s Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals. In Top Fuel, there is a battle of first-time finalists featuring rookie Justin Ashley and T.J. Zizzo while Randal Andras and Jay Turner are the Top Fuel Harley finalists. Finally, Chad Green and Jason Scruggs will square off to decide the Pro Mod title.
You can catch the action all weekend on Fox Sports 1, FOX and NHRA.tv.
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Saturday, September 5, FS1 will televise qualifying coverage from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to midnight (ET)
Sunday, September 6, FS1 will televise two hours of live finals coverage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET)
Sunday, September 6, Fox TV will televise three hours of live finals coverage beginning at 1 p.m.