2014 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Friday photo gallery
Friday, July 25, 2014

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NHRA Sonoma Nationals

Last update: 10:35 p.m.
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Surrounded by the lush vineyards of the famed Napa Valley, one of the world’s top wine-producing regions, the annual NHRA event at Sonoma Raceway has long been a favorite of drivers, crews, and fans.

Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton, left, and Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Hector Arana Jr. kicked off their trip to Sonoma with a trip to the USCF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco.

On Thursday, NHRA hosted its annual Sponsor Summit at the Embassy Suites hotel in Napa. The event, which was attended by representatives from many of NHRA’s corporate partners, kicked off with a question and answer session with NHRA President Tom Compton (above).

After missing last weekend’s Denver race due to business commitments, Jerry Savoie made a strong statement when he rode his White Alligator Suzuki to a 6.953 to lead the Pro Stock Motorcycle field after the first session.

Fresh off his win at last weekend’s Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver, Allen Johnson  barely skipped a beat when he returned to sea level. Johnson’s Mopar Dodge led the Pro Stock field after Q1 with a 6.606.

Nostalgia Funny Car racer John Hale made his first Professional appearance of the season behind the wheel of legendary chassis builder Steve Plueger’s Funny Car. A dropped cylinder caused him to take out the finish line cones on his opening run.

Funny Car's “Fast Jack” Beckman continues his quest for his first victory of the season in the Rob Flynn-tuned Valvoline SYN Power Dodge Charger.

NHRA Members and site subscribers can get in-depth coverage, notes, and more on NationalDragster.net.

Three-time Sonoma Top Fuel winner Antron Brown kicked things off with a flurry with a 3.86 that led the first round of qualifying.

Matt Smith, who will be one of eight riders competing for the $25,000 top prize in the MiraMonte Records NHRA Pro Bike Battle on Saturday, made a solid baseline run with a 6.964 on his Nitro Fish Buell.

After struggling at recent events, John Hall is on pace for his first No. 1 qualifying position in Sonoma. Hall rode his DHR Buell to a 6.951, which leads the pack after both of Friday’s qualifying runs in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Dave Connolly is in the thick of the Sonoma Pro Stock battle after wheeling his Charter Camaro to a 6.564 that is currently good for the No. 5 spot.

Using the new DRCE4 engine combination for the first time, Jason Line had to be pleased after his Summit Camaro posted a 6.550 to claim the provisional pole in Pro Stock on Friday.

Paired alongside father John at the end of the second Funny Car session, Courtney Force knocked Cruz Pedregon off the pole in her Traxxas Ford Mustang with a 4.04 at 319 mph.

Scrappers Racing Top Fuel dragster driver Mike Salinas, center, with new crew chiefs Rob Wendland, left, and Danny DeGennaro, made the top 12 in his first race since the 2012 season with a 3.90 that was hampered by a parachute that deployed prematurely.

Brittany Force laid down a number in the Castrol Edge dragster to vault to the No. 1 spot in the second session of Top Fuel to put both Force sisters in the top spots of their respective categories. Her 3.76 at 325 mph was three-hundredths quicker than the best effort by her competitors.