2014 O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals Saturday photo gallery
Saturday, August 02, 2014

News and views from the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA 
Northwest Nationals
presented by Super Start Batteries

Last update: 6 p.m.
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With great weather forecast for the weekend, Northwest race fans have flocked to Pacific Raceways for this weekend’s event, a crucial stop in the stretch run of the regular season.

Nostalgia cars are always a big part of the Seattle scene, with more than a half-dozen pieces of vintage iron on hand in the Pacific Raceways pit area.

Swedish race official Björn Eskelund is back on the NHRA tour and will be working with the NHRA Safety Safari presented by AAA at this event as well as those in Brainerd and Indy. Eskelund, who also did a short stint with the Safari two years ago, takes what he learns from the NHRA tour and is able to apply some of the methods to Swedish racing.

New Division 6 Director Matt Levonas, right, and Division 7 Director Mike Rice are just two of the NHRA officials ensuring that the event runs smoothly.

Allen Johnson, who had the best run in every qualifying session to earn the maximum points possible in qualifying, secured his 35th No. 1 qualifying berth. With a win Sunday – where he will start round one with a bye -- he can pass points leader Erica Enders-Stevens.

Greg Anderson, scratching for every possible point to make it into the top 10, gained two valuable “little points” in Q3 with the second-best pass of the session and one of the few improvements in the top half of the field. He finished in the No. 5 spot.

Dave Connolly ha had a tough weekend with the Charter Camaro, qualifying just ninth and earning a first-round date with fellow starting-line artist Vincent Nobile on Sunday.

Vincent Nobile, the defending event champ, qualified his Mountain View Tire/KB Racing Camaro in the No. 8 spot.

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

Washington state Top Fuel veteran Ron Smith made his annual one-race NHRA appearance, as usual, at this event. His ex-Clay Millican car posted a 5.34 on his first pass and improved to a later 4.33 but missed the field.

Jenna Haddock made it 2-for-2 in career qualifying attempts with the Patriot Grading Top Fueler. As she did in Denver, she’ll start from the No. 16 spot and face Tony Schumacher in round one. Husband Terry, right, also qualified for the Funny Car field.

After banging the blower on his first pass Friday, Bob Vandergriff Jr. has been rock-steady with runs of 3.812, 3.848, and 3.859 in the C&J Energy Services machine.

Richie Crampton, driving the car of defending event champ Morgan Lucas, has made four great passes in the GEICO dragster, running 3.809, 3.857, 3.858, and 3.881.

Bob Tasca III posted a pair of consistent 4.15s – one Friday and one Saturday  with the Motorcraft QuickLane Mustang but still ended up just 11th in the Funny Car field.

Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish team continued their strong summer by qualifying No. 5 thanks to a pair of 4.10s Saturday.

Robert Hight put the Auto Club Mustang into the No. 6 spot to join teammates John and Courtney Force in the top half of the field. The earliest any of them could meet would be the semifinals.

Courtney Force momentarily took the Funny Car qualifying lead from her father John’s 4.085 with a 4.082 in the final session, but he bounced back later in the session to reclaim the pole with a 4.05.