2014 O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals Friday photo gallery
Friday, June 27, 2014

News and views from the O'Reilly Auto Parts
Route 66 NHRA Nationals
presented by Super Start Batteries
Last update: 10:30 p.m.
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Lucas Oil racers began battling for position early in the day at Route 66 Raceway. NHRA Mello Yello qualifying begins at 4:15 p.m.

Cruz Pedregon's Snap-on Toyota team unloaded their new-look Funny Car. The two-time Mello Yello champion's sponsor vowed to donate $10,000 for each sub-four-second Funny Car run this weekend to Honor Flight Network.

Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stock driver Chris McGaha, right, is joined by new crew chief Brian "Lump" Self. The two-time No. 1 qualifier in 2014 is seeking more consistent efforts.

NHRA legend and O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries grand marshal Shirley Muldowney is partaking in several appearances and autograph sessions throughout the event.

Fan favorite and Illinois native Bob Bode, with wife Alice and son Bobby, will be making his first Funny Car start since the Atlanta event. Bobby's Jr. Dragster is on display to promote the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League.

Lincolnshire, Ill., resident TJ Zizzo will be "knockin' the rust off" in his first appearance of the season with new parts and pieces and the same devoted crew. His grey-colored "world's fastest rat rod" carries the signage of USAWeld.com.

Former Nostalgia Funny Car driver Brian Stewart will be making his "big show" Funny Car debut. He purchased the entire operation once campaigned by Daniel Wilkerson, who is on hand to assist the team.

Heating up:

(Right) Crew chief Phil Shuler and assistant Scott Okuhara oversee the warm up of the Battery Extender Top Fuel dragster driven by Spencer Massey. Massey scored his first career win at this event during his rookie season and is looking to win here with this team for the first time.

(Below) Funny Car points leader Robert Hight got some heat in his Boss 500 engine for the first time this weekend under the direction of Auto Club Ford Mustang crew chief Mike "Zippy" Neff.

(Above) Jerry Savoie made one of the better runs of the opening Pro Stock Motorcycle session with a 6.959 that has his Suzuki qualified No. 3.

(Left) Two-wheel veteran Craig Treble made his first run of the 2014 season with a bike leased from Karen Stoffer with the help of Steve Petrie, Jimmy Scantz, and former team owner Ben Hatcher.

(Below) 2012 Mello Yello champion Allen Johnson leads the Pro Stock field after one session with a strong 6.59, 209.82 in the Magneti Marelli Dodge Dart.

NHRA Members and site subscribers can get up-to-the-minute, detailed coverage from this weekend's event on NationalDragster.net.

(Above) Matt Hagan built on his recent string of strong qualifying efforts with a 4.09, 311.92 that held for the second-quickest run of the opening Funny Car session. (Below) In the back of the line, points leader Robert Hight knocked Hagan off the pole with a 4.07, 311. With cooler conditions expected tonight, Hight predicted "three-second Funny Car runs, maybe four of them."

Steve Torrence ran a 3.84 at 322.65 mph to jump to the top of the sheets in the first round of Top Fuel qualifying. With conditions expected to become even more favorable, the Capco Contractors team will have a prime spot in the back of the run order during Friday night.

Eddie Krawiec, who qualified No. 1 at the last three consecutive events, racked up as many bonus points as he possibly could on Friday by making the quickest run of each Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying session. The Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson rider went 6.87 to reclaim the No. 1 position at the close of the second session.

Erica Enders-Stevens ran a quick 6.59 at 209 mph in the second round of Pro Stock qualifying at the track where she became the first woman to win a Pro Stock event two years ago. It wasn't quick enough to top Allen Johnson's class-leading 6.57, but considering that nobody has won an event in Pro Stock from the No. 1 spot this season, No. 2 might be the best place in the field to be.

Festivities for the JEGS Allstars special event began today.

(Above) The new-look JEGS Allstars trophies that Lucas Oil competitors representing the seven geographic divisions will compete for as teams and individuals during tomorrow's special event
were on display.

(Right) NHRA President Tom Compton addressed and congratulated the Lucas Oil racers who were successful enough during the past year to qualify for the prestigious event.

(Below) Racers who qualified for JEGS Allstars competition attended the annual banquet hosted by JEGS and NHRA.

Jack Beckman and the Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger team beefed up personnel this week with the addition of Chris Cunningham to work as assistant crew chief under Rob Flynn. The cohesion was apparent with a run of 4.04 seconds, four different drivers ran 4.04s during the second qualifying session, that placed "Fast Jack" in the No. 5 spot.

Bristol winner Tommy Johnson Jr. took the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger up to the No. 2 spot behind Robert Hight with a 4.03 at 318 mph in the second qualifying session.

Brittany Force rocketed up to the top spot with the only 3.7-second Top Fuel run during Friday qualifying. Her Castrol Edge dragster went 3.79 seconds at 324.51 mph.

(Right) After racing concluded, the fans at Route 66 Raceway were treated to a fireworks display that lit the night sky like the header flames of the Top Fuel dragsters that preceded them.

(Below) The action officially drew to a close with an exhibition by the Hot Blade jet dragster. Final qualifying for the Mello Yello categories and the JEGS Allstars special event are on the docket for Saturday racing at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals.