2014 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Saturday photo gallery
Saturday, July 26, 2014

News and views from the 
NHRA Sonoma Nationals

Last update: 7 p.m.
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There is plenty for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing fans to see and do at Sonoma Raceway besides watch the drag racing action on the track and in the pits. Classic cars are on display at the popular Hot Rod Junction, and plenty of vintage race cars are lined up at the garages parallel to the nitro pits.

Fans arrived in masses to take in the drag racing action on a sunny day at the annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals.

The eight riders who made up the field for the inaugural MiraMonte NHRA Pro Bike Battle were honored as part of the pre-race ceremony on Saturday.

Pomona winner Khalid alBalooshi is hoping to make it two for two in California thus far in 2014. The Al-Anabi gold driver made the quickest run of the third Top Fuel qualifying session at 3.884 seconds.

While other Funny Car teams were challenged by the warm conditions in the third qualifying session, Robert Hight put on a clinic in the Mike Neff-tuned Auto Club Ford Mustang with a 4.134.

After making the two quickest Suzuki runs in the history of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, including a 6.810, Jerry Savoie clinched the No. 1 spot on his White Alligator entry.

Despite his loss in the MiraMonte Records NHRA Pro Bike Battle, Scotty Pollacheck had a good day on Saturday. Pollacheck rode his Petrolhead Buell to a 6.841 for the No. 4 spot.

Joey Grose, the son of longtime West Coast racer Ron Grose, made his return to the Pro Stock class for the first time since the 1990s. Grose qualified the team’s Camaro in the No. 15 spot with a 6.895 and will race against Jason Line in round one.

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

Greg Anderson was especially pleased with his performance on Saturday. The four-time world champion drove his Summit Chevy to a 6.547 to earn the No. 3 starting spot in the Pro Stock field.

For the third time this season, Shane Gray will be the last driver to walk on stage during Pro Stock driver introductions. Gray grabbed the top spot in Q3 with a 6.539 in his Gray Motorsports Camaro.

Andrew Hines, near lane, earned $25,000 after winning the fifth specialty race of his career in the MiraMonte Records NHRA Pro Bike Battle. Hines also ran his win streak to 11 straight rounds on his new Harley V-Rod.

Independent racer Steve Chrisman qualified for the second week in a row in the California Gear Top Fuel dragster.

J.R. Todd made the best Top Fuel run of the day by a mile. The Denver winner drove the Connie Kalitta-tuned Optima Batteries dragster to a 3.818 at 310 mph.

Tim Wilkerson struggled during qualifying and changed motors before his last attempt, but the fan favorite rebounded with a 4.21 in the final Funny Car session that moved him up to the No. 13 spot.

Defending Funny Car event winner Ron Capps finished qualifying with a run worthy of two thumbs way up. The driver of the NAPA Dodge Charger was low for the round with a 4.140 that he recorded beside Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., who made the second-quickest run at 4.147 seconds.

Fans were treated to a side-by-side exhibition of jet dragsters following the conclusion of Mello Yello qualifying.