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Friday's CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals photo blog
Friday, February 21, 2014


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Auto Parts NHRA Nationals
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Longtime Phoenix race fans undoubtedly noticed the many improvements made recently at the newly renamed Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Included among them is a new set of digital scoreboards and a repaved track surface.


Touring professional Sportsman racer Dan Fletcher, who has won five of his 87-career national event titles in Phoenix, is looking for more behind the wheel of his Peak Anti-Freeze-backed Super Stock and Stock Camaros.


(Above) The Wild Horse UTI High School Pit Crew Challenge took place today with several Arizona high school teams showing their mechanical prowess. The winning team of Marana High School (below) from Marana, Ariz., took home the trophy and a toolbox full of tools valued at $4,500.


Should his 6.530 run from Friday morning hold up, Chris McGaha is poised to become the latest driver to qualify in the Pro Stock class. McGaha’s Camaro is the same car that Mike Edwards drove to the No. 1 qualifying position in Phoenix last year.


After missing the Pomona opener, Steve Kent made his 2014 debut in Phoenix. Kent’s best of 6.681-seconds isn’t quick enough to make the top 12, so he will have to make the field on Saturday.


Second-year Funny Car driver Chad Head bannered a one-race deal with WSM Auctioneers on his Toyota Camry. Head recovered from a broken axle on the first run to sneak into the top half in round two.


Pomona runner-up Matt Hagan led the first session of Funny Car qualifying with a 4.09, 309.


Troy Buff was the first Top Fuel driver to make it down the newly repaved racing surface under power. He sat out of the second session after running 3.98 and remained in the top 12.


Erica Enders-Stevens, the winner of last year’s Phoenix race, was impressive on both Friday runs with back-to-back passes of 6.534 and 6.531 in her Elite Motorsports Camaro. Enders-Stevens also picked up five qualifying bonus points.


Coming off a very strong qualifying performance in Pomona, Vincent Nobile is once again among the leaders in the Mountain View Racing Camaro. Nobile’s best of 6.551 is currently good for the No. 4 spot.


After running a career-best number but struggling with inconsistency in Pomona, Alexis DeJoria had a solid opening day with runs of 4.10 and 4.04 to earn the provisional No. 3 spot in the Patron XO Café Toyota Camry.


John Force continued to drop jaws. The 16-time Funny Car champion ran the track’s first three-second Funny Car run with a 3.99, 317.

A rejuvenated Steve Torrence set the pace in the second qualifying session with a 3.75. The Capco Contractors driver ended up in the No. 2 position.


Returning to the site of her first Professional round-win, Leah Pritchett recorded a career-best 3.81 in the Dote family’s Gumout-sponsored dragster.


Doug Kalitta was the only driver to run 3.70s in both Top Fuel sessions. The Mac Tools driver finished atop the charts with a 3.73 at 327 mph.