NHRA Story
Saturday's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals photo blog
Saturday, March 29, 2014

News and views from the
SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals
Last update: 7:55 p.m.
Click for latest post

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was packed with race fans today, who got to watch two thrilling sessions of final qualifying and the exciting competition in the K&N Horsepower Challenge.

The eight drivers who participated in the K&N Horsepower Challenge posed with their fan representatives prior to the start of eliminations. Eventual winner Erica Enders-Stevens shared the stage with Anne Perkins, who won a new Toyota Tundra truck as the result of Enders-Stevens’ win.

The day’s biggest surprise came before racing started when J.R. Todd was named to replace David Grubnic in Connie Kalitta’s dragster halfway through qualifying. Todd acquitted himself well with two full passes and qualified No. 11 with a 3.841.

Veteran exhibition driver Ed “the Outlaw” Jones also entertained the fans between qualifying sessions with his Jelly Belly-sponsored firetruck wheelstander.

Reigning series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. continues to climb back into the top pack of cars competing in Pro Stock. After a rough couple of races to start the year, his new Dodge Dart will start from the pole for the first time this season.

Summit Racing driver Jason Line continues to show consistency through the early part of the 2014 campaign. His 6.630 second lap placed him fifth on the Pro Stock ladder, and he’ll race Deric Kramer in the first round.

Antron Brown, who has reached the final round at the last five events held at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is well on his way to No. 6 after putting the Matco Tools dragster in the No. 1 spot with a 3.768 on his final run of qualifying.

Doug Kalitta has one of the most consistent cars on the grounds; the Mac Tools dragster has had the first or second best run in almost every session. His 3.775 in the final session gave him the temporary pole before it was bettered by Antron Brown’s 3.768.

Steve Torrence, Friday’s qualifying leader, slid a few spots down the rankings Saturday but still qualified the Capco Contractors machine No. 3 with a 3.779.

Erica Enders-Stevens is already having a great weekend, and there are still four rounds of racing to go on Sunday. With a 6.646 e.t. in the final of the K&N Horsepower Challenge, she downed Dave Connolly to claim the $50,000 top prize and enters eliminations from the No. 3 spot.

Dave Connolly put a holeshot on Allen Johnson in the first round of the K&N Horsepower Challenge, then beat teammate Shane Gray in the semi’s. However, he had to shut off early in the final round but is qualified fourth and will try to find his way back into the money round on Sunday.

Nobody is leaving Las Vegas more disappointed than Bob Tasca III this weekend. He arrived in town just a few points out of third place in the Funny Car standings with high hopes to move up. Instead, his Quick Lube Mustang did not qualify, and he’s all but certain to slide down a few notches after four runs of eliminations on Sunday.

Tommy Johnson Jr. laid down a stout 4.023-second pass and earned the third spot among the 16 Funny Cars who qualified for the field. Only one problem He now has to race teammate Jack Beckman in the first round.

Del Worsham’s 4.041 more than showed his DHL Camry has the power to compete with the top floppers here this weekend. Confidence remains high in his pit area heading into a first-round matchup with Tony Pedregon.

Few things have changed in Funny Car with John Force continuing to be the man to watch. After flirting with the top spot earlier in the day, the winningest driver in the class had to settle for second spot on the qualifying sheet with a 4.017 pass in Q4. Force's daughter Courtney moved up to the No. 1 spot in the final session with a track-record 4.006. She faces Jon Capps in round one, and the elder Force lines up against Paul Lee.

 Like they did Friday night, a pair of jet dragsters concluded Saturday's action with their special brand of fire-throwing excitement.

Friday's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals photo blog