Oct 27, 2007

Las Vegas, Nevada

(results courtesy DRC and NHRA.com )


Sunday eliminations


(Bill Jeffery Photos)

Sunday gallery is here

Saturday gallery is here

Las Vegas' own "Hot Rod" Fuller completed the best weekend of his three-year professional career by winning the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals to surge back into the POWERade points lead with one race left in the season.
Fuller's third win of the year in his CAT dragster and sixth of his career followed a thrilling victory Saturday in the Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout.

In Funny Car, Tony Pedregon put a stranglehold on the 2007 title chase with his fourth win of the year in his Q Horsepower Chevy Impala SS, the 36th of his career and his third in Las Vegas. The other three racers fighting for the Funny Car title in the Countdown to 1 all lost in Round 1.

Greg Anderson continued his love affair with The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with his fifth win at the facility, the eighth of the season and 51st of his career in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO. This one put him back in the points lead he held for most of the regular season.

Three-time and reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Andrew Hines remained the man to beat in his category with another convincing victory on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

"It's good to be home," Fuller said. "We won a big race yesterday but I didn't get to enjoy it because I was so focused on today. Winning $100,000 is great, but it's gone fast. A world championship lasts forever. I just got in that zone and I've been there all weekend. It's exhausting but it's worth it now.

"They told me that under the old points system, I would have clinched the championship by now. But at the same time I'm a believer in the new deal because I've seen the excitement it's generated. That's easier to say now because we're up again but I do like the way it's all turning out."

By beating a resurgent Doug Kalitta in a razor-close final - 4.531 at 327.82 mph to Kalitta's 4.537 at 331.36 mph -- Fuller moves 52 points ahead of Larry Dixon, with Brandon Bernstein (-61) and Tony Schumacher (-67) following behind in the Countdown to 1 standings.

Pedregon's win denied Ashley Force her first Funny Car victory but she made a little history just by reaching the final as no other female participant had ever made it that far. She actually had the car to beat in the final, posting a quicker 4.829 at 298.93 mph to Pedregon's 4.871 at 318.47 mph, but the veteran beat her at the starting line, leaving with a .06-second advantage.

"There're a lot of great memories here because this is where I clinched my championship in 2003," Pedregon said. "I don't know what happened to the track but we smoked the tires in the first two rounds today and were lucky to win. Then we get to the final and I know a lot of people were rooting for Ashley but the guys got it done for me. It was emotional to race her. She's family. I was over there for a long time.

"I would have been happy with a one round lead. It's a huge luxury to have a 91-point lead, believe me, I know that. But we won't change our approach. We still need to go over to Pomona and qualify this car and win some rounds. I haven't won anything yet."

Pedregon is now 91 points ahead of Gary Scelzi with Robert Hight next, 99 off the lead. Ron Capps will need a miracle to overcome his 113-point deficit.

Pro Stock winner Anderson gave up a slight lead to Coughlin at the starting line when Coughlin jumped off the pad with a .013-second reaction time to Anderson's .021-second launch, but the three-time champ had made up the difference by the 60-foot timer and went on to win convincingly with a 6.731 at 205.04 mph in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to Coughlin's 6.771 at 204.39 mph in his Jegs.com Chevrolet Cobalt.

"I can hardly describe the pressure of this thing," Anderson said. "All four cars in the deal are capable of winning the championship and you know that any little mistake and you're done. No one wanted to head to Pomona with their bottom lip dragging on the ground.

"We didn't win [the championship] today but we didn't knock ourselves out. We figured we'd need to at least get to the final to keep our hopes alive and we did one better than that. Thank God for Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We've got work to do in Pomona or one of those other guys will take it away, I guarantee it."

The win moved Anderson back into the points lead he held up until the first Countdown cutoff, when the top eight racers were reseeded and separated from top to bottom by 10 points each. He's now 34 up on Coughlin, who moved up to second place, and 48 up on former points leader Dave Connolly. Allen Johnson, whom Coughlin beat in Round 1, is 103 back in fourth.

Hines upped his career record versus Ellis to 7-0 with his final-round upset. After earning lane choice in the money round, Ellis dropped off pace and posted his worst pass of the day, bowing to Hines' 7.073 at 187.34 mph with a 7.144 at 185.41 mph.

"It's been pretty stressful out here," Hines said. "As it turns out we have the exact same lead going into the final race as we did a year ago. This time I'm not going to go in there and blow it in the first round like I did last year and have to sweat out what other people do for us to win. We want to keep control in our own hands."

The three-time and reigning POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, Hines earned himself a little breathing room in the points, moving 39 markers ahead of runner-up Ellis. Matt Smith is in third, 51 points back, while Peggy Llewellyn follows in fourth at a 93-point deficit.

The final race of the POWERade Countdown to the Championship, the Auto Club NHRA Finals, is Nov. 1-4 at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Sunday's final results from the Seventh annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race is the 22nd of 23 in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series-

Top Fuel -- Rod Fuller, 4.531 seconds, 327.82 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 4.537 seconds, 331.36 mph.

Funny Car -- Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala, 4.871, 318.47 def. Ashley Force, Ford Mustang, 4.829, 298.93.

Pro Stock -- Greg Anderson, Pontiac GTO, 6.731, 205.04 def. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cobalt, 6.771, 204.39.

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.073, 187.34 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.144, 185.41.

Competition Eliminator -- Bo Butner, Chevy Cobalt, 7.436, 145.38 def. Jeff Taylor, Cobalt, foul.

Super Stock -- Ryan McClanahan, Chevy Cobalt, 9.502, 109.24 def. Brad Rounds, Chevy S-10, foul.

Stock Eliminator -- Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 10.941, 114.80 def. Joe Sorensen, Camaro, 10.712, 118.83.

Super Gas -- Kevin Moore, Chevy Roadster, 10.067, 151.71 def. Michael Miller, '27-T Ford, 10.067, 144.30.

Saturday qualifying


Tony Schumacher, Robert Hight, and Chip Ellis held on to their No. 1 qualifying positions Saturday at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, each earning eight vital points in their quests for NHRA POWERade Series world championship titles, while Countdown contender Dave Connolly usurped Justin Humphreys to keep his historic momentum going in Pro Stock.
Local favorite Rod Fuller also made headlines, earning his first $100,000 winner's share of the Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout after a runner-up finish last season.

Schumacher piloted his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to a 4.482 at 327.59 for his 11th No. 1 qualifier of the year, the 46th of his career and his third at The Strip.

"We've run so well here the last few years but that does not in any way, shape, or form mean we'll run good tomorrow," Schumacher said. "I do feel a lot better getting down the track today because we'll see these same sort of conditions tomorrow. If we get beat, we'll have gotten beat by a great car, no matter when it happens, because there are a lot of great cars out there.

"Even the cars not in the Countdown, they're out there headhunting for us. They can go for it because they have nothing to lose. It'll probably be a sleepless night but I do know we have a car capable of getting it done."

Championship contender Fuller is fourth with a 4.529 at 326.32 mph in his CAT dragster, while Budweiser's Brandon Bernstein and SkyTel's Larry Dixon are sixth and seventh, respectively, with a pair of 4.534s.

Fuller earned his first Shootout award on a holeshot win over Melanie Troxel, posting a 4.527 at 329.99 to Troxel's 4.526 at 326.40.

Robert Hight drove his Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car to a 4.763 at 322.58 for the top spot in front of his boss John Force, who was injured after his own Ford went out of control in Dallas and returned to the track for the first time this weekend.

By qualifying No. 1, Hight edged one-point closer to current POWERade leader Tony Pedregon, who qualified second with a 4.770 at 314.09 mph. Fellow title-hopefuls Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps also earned top-half berths. Scelzi is third with a 4.775 at 320.81 mph, while Capps is sixth with a 4.783 at 322.96 mph.

"We came here with a brand-new car and we're still learning about it," Hight said. "Fortunately, we have three other cars here that we are able to collect data from and that's what having a team like ours is all about. It's pretty impressive to get four cars in the field these days. John (Force) just got us all together and he was screaming about how proud he was of everyone."

Although he's won a class-leading eight races this season, including the last five events in a row, Pro Stock low qualifier Connolly has only led the qualifying field twice this year. His run of 6.725 at a track record top speed of 205.57 mph came in Round 3 when he led a trio of racers around Humphreys.

"This is another tribute to the whole team," Connolly said. "We went testing again for four days between Richmond and here and it was obviously worth all the hard work. It's exciting to be here in Las Vegas and exciting to be starting the Countdown to 1 on this incredible run we've been on. I'm so happy to be driving this car."

Outgoing champ Jason Line is second with a 6.727 at 205.22 mph, while his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO teammate Greg Anderson secured the third spot with a 6.731 at 204.42 mph.

The first monster match-up of the Countdown to 1 will occur in Round 1 when No. 8 qualifier Allen Johnson (6.750) matches up with No. 9 qualifier Jeg Coughlin (6.752).

Ellis' incredible second-half performances continued here with his fourth consecutive low qualifying effort and his fifth in the last six races. Ellis dipped to a 7.023 at 189.60 mph Saturday to reset the track's elapsed time record. Ellis will now try to capitalize on his fast start and win his first race of the year.

"I need to separate Chip Ellis the person from Chip Ellis the racer and just go out there tomorrow and ride the bike," Ellis said. "I put a lot of stress on myself. I've been doing it all year. I need to just ride, have fun, and do what I do. If anyone runs into me tomorrow morning please just remind me to have fun."

The other three players in the Countdown to 1 are close behind Ellis. Andrew Hines is second overall after a 7.049 at 188.44 mph on his Harley-Davidson V-Rod. Matt Smith is third with a best of 7.049 at 186.77 mph on his Buell, while Peggy Llewellyn is sixth with a 7.071 at 187.60 on her Buell.

Final Qualifying

Top Fuel

1 1 Tony Schumacher, Mt. Prospect IL, Hadman-TFX 4.482 327.59 327.90
2 2 Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.528 331.04 331.04
3 4 Melanie Troxel, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 4.529 330.55 331.53
4 5 Rod Fuller, Las Vegas NV, Hadman-TFX 4.529 326.32 326.32
5 13 David Baca, Brentwood CA, Hadman-TFX 4.532 326.79 326.79
6 3 Brandon Bernstein, Fairview TX, McKinney-TFX 4.534 325.69 328.78
7 91 Larry Dixon, Indianapolis IN, McKinney-TFX 4.534 321.42 321.42
8 12 Bob Vandergriff, Alpharetta GA, McKinney-BAE 4.536 330.72 330.72
9 743 Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 4.543 328.22 328.22
10 8 J.R. Todd, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 4.550 325.30 326.95
11 11 Doug Herbert, Lincolnton NC, McKinney-BAE 4.555 317.42 318.54
12 9 Cory McClenathan, Lake Havasu City AZ, Hadman- 4.557 323.58 326.56
13 6 David Grubnic, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.561 328.94 328.94
14 255 Clay Millican, Drummonds TN, Hadman-BAE 4.582 322.73 322.73
15 111 Urs Erbacher, Arlesheim CH, McKinney-BAE 4.594 326.48 326.48
16 1301 Doug Foley, Sewell NJ, Attac-TFX 4.597 324.05 324.05

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 10 Hillary Will, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.625 324.05 326.48
18 524 Joe Hartley, Portland OR, McKinney-BAE 4.627 309.42 325.85
19 2813 Scotty Cannon, Lyman SC, Hadman-BAE 4.630 284.75 287.23
20 530 Alan Bradshaw, Carson City NV, Don Long-BAE 4.645 310.63 314.68
21 72 Mike Strasburg, Lindon UT, Hadman-TFX 4.669 316.82 316.82
22 700 Steven Chrisman, Anaheim CA, Hadman-TFX 5.013 281.48 281.48
23 723 Rob Passey, Salt Lake City UT, McKinney-TFX 5.308 209.23 209.23

Funny Car

1 2 Robert Hight, Yorba Linda CA, '06 Mustang 4.763 322.58 322.58
2 5 Tony Pedregon, Brownsburg IN, '07 Impala 4.770 314.09 317.57
3 7 Gary Scelzi, Fresno CA, '07 Charger 4.775 320.81 324.67
4 782 Gary Densham, Bellflower CA, '07 Impala 4.777 320.66 320.66
5 711 Jack Beckman, North Hills CA, '07 Charger 4.782 321.81 321.81
6 28 Ron Capps, Carlsbad CA, '07 Charger 4.783 322.96 323.58
7 7701 Mike Neff, Fishers IN, '06 Mustang 4.784 326.40 326.40
8 319 Scott Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, '07 Solara 4.788 323.50 323.50
9 180 Mike Ashley, Melville NY, '07 Charger 4.796 328.86 328.86
10 170 Jeff Arend, San Dimas CA, '07 Impala 4.799 316.67 324.28
11 8 Phil Burkart, Yorkville NY, '05 Mustang 4.809 318.77 318.77
12 750 Del Worsham, Chino Hills CA, '07 Impala 4.809 316.15 316.15
13 7321 Ashley Force, Yorba Linda CA, '06 Mustang 4.819 307.65 315.78
14 10 Cruz Pedregon, Camarillo CA, '07 Impala 4.823 320.89 320.89
15 729 Jerry Toliver, Temecula CA, '07 Solara 4.833 318.54 319.52
16 388 Jim Head, Columbus OH, '07 Solara 4.835 323.43 323.43

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 404 Kenny Bernstein, Fairview TX, '07 Charger 4.844 313.88 318.92
18 427 Tony Bartone, Long Island City NY, '05 Monte C 4.864 310.98 310.98
19 33 Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon IN, '07 Impala 4.864 302.89 313.88
20 347 Tim Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '07 Impala 4.896 292.14 305.08
21 702 Jon Capps, Las Vegas NV, '05 Monte Carlo 4.898 298.54 298.54
22 206 Bob Gilbertson, Charolette NC, '05 Monte Carlo 4.935 301.47 304.80
23 121 Terry Haddock, Lynnwood WA, '06 Stratus 4.952 308.14 309.63
24 709 James Day, Mission Viejo CA, '02 Camaro 5.272 273.77 273.77
25 852 Peter Russo, Lyndhurst AU, '05 Monte Carlo DQ

Pro Stock

1 3 Dave Connolly, Elyria OH, '07 Cobalt 6.725 205.57 205.57
2 1 Jason Line, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO 6.727 205.22 205.22
3 2 Greg Anderson, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO 6.731 204.42 205.01
4 1568 Justin Humphreys, Monrovia MD, '06 GTO 6.740 203.92 204.05
5 351 Ron Krisher, Warren OH, '07 Cobalt 6.746 204.08 204.08
6 9 Richie Stevens, New Orleans LA, '07 Stratus 6.747 203.31 203.95
7 5 Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '07 Cobalt 6.749 203.98 203.98
8 6 Allen Johnson, Greeneville TN, '07 Stratus 6.750 204.14 204.14
9 25 Jeg Coughlin, Mooresville NC, '07 Cobalt 6.752 204.51 204.51
10 103 Max Naylor, New Buffalo PA, '07 Stratus 6.755 202.55 202.55
11 208 Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '06 GTO 6.757 204.66 204.66
12 8 Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '06 GTO 6.757 203.89 203.89
13 357 Larry Morgan, Newark OH, '07 Stratus 6.757 203.58 203.65
14 7 Jim Yates, Occoquan VA, '06 GTO 6.757 203.49 203.49
15 10 V. Gaines, Lakewood CO, '07 Stratus 6.757 203.37 203.65
16 107 Kenny Koretsky, Richboro PA, '07 Cobalt 6.773 203.34 203.34

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 4 Mike Edwards, Coweta OK, '06 GTO 6.779 202.64 202.64
18 1214 Matt Hartford, Phoenix AZ, '07 Cobalt 6.784 203.34 203.34
19 334 Craig Hankinson, Newark OH, '06 GTO 6.794 202.76 202.76
20 701 Ben Watson, Concord CA, '06 GTO 6.807 202.39 202.39
21 261 Gene Wilson, Adairsville GA, '06 Stratus RT 6.810 202.00 202.55
22 6157 Todd Hoerner, Deer Park WA, '06 GTO 6.812 201.52 201.52
23 712 Bob Panella, Stockton CA, '06 Stratus 6.833 202.79 202.79
24 752 Gordie Rivera, Yuma AZ, '06 GTO 6.853 201.13 201.13
25 324 Bill Glidden, Whiteland IN, '06 GTO 6.918 199.37 199.37
26 20 Tom Hammonds, Holt FL, '07 Cobalt 12.445 85.02 85.02

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1 4 Chip Ellis, Plains GA, Buell 7.023@ 189.60 189.60
2 1 Andrew Hines, Brownsburg IN, Harley V-Rod 7.049 188.44 188.44
3 5 Matt Smith, King NC, Buell 7.049 186.77 186.77
4 235 Hector Arana, Milltown IN, Buell 7.055 189.20 189.20
5 88 Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg IN, Harley V-Rod 7.070 186.20 186.20
6 499 Peggy Llewellyn, San Antonio TX, Buell 7.071 187.60 187.60
7 748 Chris Rivas, Fresno CA, Buell 7.100 185.89 185.89
8 3 Angelle Sampey, Brownsburg IN, Suzuki GSXR 7.102 186.41 186.41
9 6 Karen Stoffer, Smith NV, Suzuki 7.110 186.38 186.38
10 10 Craig Treble, Hensley AR, Suzuki GSXR 7.112 188.28 188.28
11 2 Antron Brown, Brownsburg IN, Suzuki GSXR 7.143 184.80 184.80
12 9 Geno Scali, Lake in the Hills IL, Suzuki 7.157 187.76 187.81
13 25 Matt Guidera, Rocklin CA, Buell 7.158 183.39 183.39
14 751 Steve Johnson, Irondale AL, Suzuki 7.171 185.56 185.56
15 205 Shawn Gann, Stoneville NC, Suzuki 7.215 182.85 184.67
16 412 Michael Phillips, Baton Rouge LA, Suzuki GSXR 7.235 185.66 185.66

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 310 Joe DeSantis, Rootstown OH, Suzuki 7.274 184.07 184.07
18 413 Michael Ray, New Braunfels TX, Buell 7.304 178.52 179.76
19 573 Mike Berry, Littleton CO, Suzuki 7.320 179.85 179.85
20 7 Ryan Schnitz, Decatur IN, Kawasaki 7.559 174.44 174.44

Top Fuel Shootout

"Hot Rod" Fuller bagged drag racing's biggest one-day purse with a thrilling holeshot victory over Melanie Troxel Saturday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Fuller's 4.527 at 329.99 mph was just enough to beat Troxel's 4.526 at 326.40 mph and help the Caterpillar team clinch the top prize.

Fuller in now in line to win an additional $50,000 "Double-Up" bonus from NHRA should he win this weekend's seventh annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals.

"I've been lucky enough to win a lot of races but this might be the topper," Fuller said. "To win this race here at home in Las Vegas, after getting so close last year and then breaking a motor in the final, to come back and win it all this time is so cool. I'm floating way up there right now.

"This season was so nerve-wracking early on because we didn't even know if we'd be racing from event to event. But [team owner] David Powers kept us out here and kept working at getting us a sponsor and he came through with Caterpillar. Now we're in the Countdown with a great chance at winning the championship and we come here and win $100,000, man, it doesn't get any better than this."

The event wasn't without some controversy. U.S. Army racer Tony Schumacher actually beat Troxel in the semifinals with a 4.506 at 327.90 mph -- the quickest pass of the day -- but was subsequently disqualified because his team failed to stop at the scales on the way back to the pits.

"It's very simple, we have a minimum weight requirement for these cars," Senior Vice President-Racing Operations Graham Light said. "After the first session, all four winners stopped. After the semifinals, one winner stopped and one didn't. It's a clear violation of the rules and the precedent has been set, in fact it was set here a few years ago with Tony Pedregon. We're not saying they were cheating but they violated the rules, plain and simple."

"We should have stopped and weighed the car, period," a disappointed Army crew chief Alan Johnson said.

The showcase race features the top eight qualifiers from the previous 12 months fighting for a share of the $147,000 race day purse. Overall, Las Vegas-based Technicoat posts $239,000 in prize money for the high-dollar Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout. Aside from the money available on race day, Technicoat pays each national event's low qualifier a $4,000 bonus for the achievement.

Aside from the $100,000 top prize, Troxel earned $15,000 for her runner-up finish. Schumacher and J.R. Todd pocketed $6,000 each for reaching the semifinals, while Cory McClenathan, Brandon Bernstein, Dave Grubnic, and Larry Dixon bagged $5,000 apiece for making the field.

A special points system is used to determine the eight racers who made the field of the 23rd annual Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout. Racers earn qualifying points based on their position at each national event. The points range from 175 for the top qualifier to 85 for the racer on the bump. No points are earned if a racer fails to qualify for an event.


(W) Melanie Troxel (Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA) 0.056 4.529 330.55
(L) Brandon Bernstein (Budweiser/Lucas Oil 0.081 4.557 327.59

Troxel with a starting line advantage and never looked back for the win light. Troxel with her quickest pass of the weekend. Bernstein with his best pass of the weekend in a losing effort.

(W) J.R. Todd (Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels) 0.058 4.563 322.11
(L) Larry Dixon (Sky Tel) 0.044 4.970 213.40

Dixon was out in front until his engine went away in a big fireball around half track. Then it was all Todd getting the win light.

(W) Rod Fuller (CAT Dealers) 0.056 4.576 324.20
(L) David Grubnic (Zantrex-3) 0.071 4.561 328.94

Fuller with the starting line advantage and the power to hold on for the hole shot win by 0.0007 seconds about four inches.

(W) Tony Schumacher (U.S. Army) 0.062 4.590 320.81
(L) Cory McClenathan (Fram) 0.090 5.316 199.64

Schumacher with a starting line and then hazes the tires on the top end, but takes the win light when Cory Mac smokes the tires early. Schumacher will give up lane choice to Troxel in the semifinal.

Semi Finals

(W) Rod Fuller (CAT Dealers Dragster) 0.067 4.529 326.32
(L) J.R. Todd (Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Dra 0.051 4.574 326.95

(W) Tony Schumacher (U.S. Army Dragster) 0.057 4.506 327.90
(L) Melanie Troxel (Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA Dr 0.069 4.534 330.31


(W) Rod Fuller (CAT Dealers Dragster) 0.035 4.527 329.99
(L) Melanie Troxel (Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA Dr 0.058 4.526 326.40

Shootout Final qualifying

1 1 Tony Schumacher, Mt. Prospect IL, Hadman-TFX 3,595
2 5 Rod Fuller, Las Vegas NV, Hadman-TFX 3,440
3 91 Larry Dixon, Indianapolis IN, McKinney-TFX 3,045
4 4 Melanie Troxel, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 2,970
5 3 Brandon Bernstein, Fairview TX, McKinney-TFX 2,850
6 8 J.R. Todd, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 2,780
7 6 David Grubnic, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 2,575
8 9 Cory McClenathan, Lake Havasu City AZ, Hadman- 2,570


Firday qualifying


Team Force shows up with an arsenal at Vegas.

With father-in-law John Force watching from starting line and recently added teammate Mike Neff making his first competitive runs in Funny Car, Robert Hight took the role of team leader during the opening day of qualifying at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals.
While John Force looked on, Hight drove his Auto Club Ford Mustang to a 4.763-second provisional No. 1 qualifying effort at 322.58 mph at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Justin Humphreys (Pro Stock), and Chip Ellis (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined Hight atop the charts with two qualifying sessions remaining.

Hight was beaming after his second run of the day, mostly because he saw how happy it made Force, who was sporting hard casts on his left leg and arm as well as a number of bandages, in his first time back at the track since his accident in Dallas.

"It's been an emotional day," Hight said. "John being here is the best therapy he could have. I spent a lot of time with John in the hospital and all he talked about was racing. No one loves this sport more than John Force and he'll be back real soon.

"It was cool to see John [Medlen] over there banging on (Mike) Neff's hood and pointing in the car like he did with Eric. I'm sure it was tough for him but then that car went straight down through there and he was so pumped up. It's been a great day for all of us. We needed this."

POWERade points leader Tony Pedregon was second to Hight with a 4.770 at 314.09 mph in his Q Horsepower Chevrolet Impala SS. Fellow Countdown racer Gary Scelzi ended up sixth (4.815), with Ron Capps (eighth, 4.82) close behind.

Schumacher wasn't exactly thrilled with his provisional No. 1 qualifying effort, mainly due to the fact he's been the top qualifier 10 times this year and only converted one of those low qualifying efforts into a win. Nevertheless, his 4.482 at 327.59 put him on top of the heap at the midway point qualifying.

"All joking aside, the No. 1 qualifier deal is important because it cuts [the points deficit] to the lead down to less than one round," Schumacher said. "It wouldn't have hurt my feelings if someone like David Baca would have knocked us off that No. 1 spot because of the bad luck we've had with it this year but the reality is I wouldn't trade my car or my team with anyone."

Larry Dixon, the current leader in the Countdown, stands to give up two points to Schumacher if he stays third. His best run was a 4.534 at 321.42 mph. Others in the Countdown field include "Hot Rod" Fuller, who is seventh with a 4.558, and Brandon Bernstein, who is eighth with a 4.561.

In Pro Stock, it was the former Sports Compact star Humphreys who stole the show Friday, racing to his first provisional No. 1 qualifying spot with a 6.750 at 204.05 mph in the Knoll Gas Pontiac GTO.

"I've raced here a bunch in my sports compact cars and my Outlaw 10.5 cars and I've always loved this place," Humphreys said. "We're really excited. Bringing Bob Glidden on board awhile back has turned into such a great thing. Between Bob working on the car and Dick Maskin's horsepower, we're looking great."

Points leader Dave Connolly is second in his Torco/Seelye Wright Chevrolet Cobalt after a 6.754. Fellow Countdown racers Greg Anderson (fifth with a 6.766), Allen Johnson (sixth, 6.766), and Jeg Coughlin (11th, 6.790) are also safely in the field.

Ellis soared again in Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying, carding a crushing 7.045 at 188.96 mph on his Drag Specialties S&S Buell V-Twin to take the provisional low qualifier slot. Ellis has led the last three Pro Stock Motorcycle fields into race day.

"If we could race on qualifying day, I'd win every trophy," Ellis said. "The bike is just hauling. It's tough mentally for me on race day. That's all it is. I'm not the smartest guy in the world but I'm thinking about too much up there I guess. I've been working on it. I just haven't done my job."

Andrew Hines, who is in the Countdown to 1 chase with Ellis, is third with a 7.102. The other two Countdown riders, Matt Smith and Peggy Llewellyn, follow in fourth and fifth place.


2006 National events

Winterational's coverage is here (Pomona)
CSK National's coverage is here (Phoenix)
Gatornational's coverage is here (Gainesville)
O'Reilly National's coverage is here (Houston)
Summit National's coverage is here (Las Vegas)
Thunder Valley National's coverage is here (Bristol)
Southern National's coverage is here (Atlanta)
Pontiac Performance National's coverage is here (Columbus)
O'Reilly Summer National's coverage is here (Topeka)

CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Chicago)
K&N Filters SuperNationals coverage is here (Englishtown)
O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals coverage is here (St.Louis)
Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Denver)
Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Seattle)
Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Sonoma)
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Brainerd)
O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals coverage is here (Memphis)
Mac Tools U.S. Nationals coverage is here (Indy)
O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals coverage is here (Dallas)
Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Reading)
Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Virginia)
ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Las Vegas)
Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals coverage is here (Pomona)


2005 Archives

February 2003 NHRA Zone
March 2003 NHRA Zone
April 2003 NHRA Zone
May archives are here
June archives are here
July/Aug archives here
Sept Archives are here
Oct archives are here
Nov/Dec archives are here



2004 archives

Jan.04 NHRA Zone

Feb 04 NHRA zone

Mar 04 NHRA zone

Apr 04 NHRA zone

July 04 and earlier NHRA zone

Nov and earlier (including the entire season results page)



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