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Friday's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals photo blog
Friday, March 28, 2014

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SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals
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The NHRA Fanfest-Vegas Style took place Thursday night on the replica Brooklyn Bridge at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino. Among those drivers present included Summit-sponsored driver Greg Anderson (below), who has been sidelined since preseason surgery, but was on hand to cheer on his teammates at one of their sponsor’s marquee events.

In anticipation of Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge, the eight qualified Pro Stock drivers were paired with lucky winners in the fan sweepstakes. The fan represented by the winning driver will leave the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in a 2014 K&N Horsepower Challenge special-edition Toyota Tacoma, a unique midsize pickup created by Toyota Racing Development and K&N Filters for this event.

Drag racing pioneer Jim Dunn celebrated his 80th birthday at the track today, sharing the great moment with wife Diane and granddaughter Johnna. The Dunns’ Koppl Pipeline/Grime Boss Dodge is currently not qualified for the show heading into Saturday’s final two rounds of qualifying.

Chris McGaha’s crew chief, Jim Yates, was talking early Friday morning about their plans to put the Harlow Sammons Chevy on the pole. They did just that in Q1, with a 6.628 e.t. They bettered that with a 6.625 in Q2 but finished the day No. 2.

Ever since switching over to the 2014 Camaro front and rear end, Erica Enders-Stevens has been flat flying. The day didn’t start out too well, after she had to abort the run when her car made a turn toward the guardrail. In Q2, she went 6.627 at 209 mph and finds herself qualified No. 3 at the moment.

Steve Torrence was one of only three Top Fuel drivers to make it down the track in the first qualifying session but blasted his Capco Contractors dragster into the top spot with a 3.835, then improved on that on his second pass with a 3.779 to retain the top spot.

Tony Schumacher, who has collected seven Top Fuel wins in Las Vegas over the years, continued to draw a winning hand with the U.S. Army dragster, clocking a 3.837 in the first session. He ultimately slipped to fifth despite an improved 3.81.

Rumors of Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s demise may have been greatly overstated. The multitime NHRA Mello Yello champion has been finding his groove since getting behind the wheel of his new Dart and currently sits No. 1 in qualifying at 6.525 seconds.

Jason Line continues to carry the flag for KB Racing in his Summit Camaro. After falling off a bit since winning the season opener in Pomona, Line looked good on Friday, running a pair of 6.63s.

Alexis DeJoria improved on her earlier 4.185 e.t. with a promising 4.102 pass in the second Funny Car session. The Team Kalitta/Patron Toyota currently sits sixth in the provisional field.

Alexis DeJoria’s teammate, Del Worsham, was the second quickest car of the day, pushing his DHL Toyota to a 4.069 e.t. during Q2. That was a significant step up from his 4.21 pass earlier in the day.

Matt Hagan’s crew pulled out their 2013 car, with which they won five races, and shot right to the top of the Funny Car field by posting low e.t. of both qualifying sessions on Friday.

One of the most impressive Funny Car runs of the day belonged to Chad Head, who clocked a 4.076 e.t. in the heat of the day. His Toyota-bodied entry ran 308.07 mph, showing they probably have more left in the combination for race weekend.

Antron Brown, second place in the Top Fuel points standings entering the event, set top speed of the meet at 322.96 on his evening shot of 3.797 with the Matco Tools dragster and is qualified No. 2 entering Saturday.

Top Fuel points leader and recent Gainesville champ Doug Kalitta has the Mac Tools team right in the middle of the fray with a 3.797 that matched Antron Brown’s run but slipped to third based on speed.