2014 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Saturday photo gallery
Saturday, August 30, 2014

News and views from the 
Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals 

Last update: 9:15 p.m.
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A legends autograph session was a special treat this morning when drag racing heroes, including, from front, Top Gas veteran Ray Motes, Don Garlits, Al Bergler, and Roland Leong met with fans.

  The number of restored or recreated nostalgic machines on hand is staggering.

One of the highlights is the restored Tennessee Bo-Weevil of Raymond Godman (above), which was runner-up at the 1960 Nationals in Detroit and then the next weekend made the first pass down the Indy dragstrip when it was opened. Former Bo-Weevil driver Preston Davis found the car in a field where it had sat for 40 years and lovingly restored it.

Chevrolet is hosting a Ride-N-Drive in the oval track where fans can get behind the wheel of some of the Bowtie brand’s newest machines.


(Above) The participants in Sunday’s NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Cars took part in a press conference in the Top Eliminator Club, sharing their thoughts about the big race, which pays $100,000 to the winner.

(Left) Top seed and 2012 Shootout winner John Force, as usual, was the star of the show. Daughter Courtney, who drives the Traxxas Mustang, also is one of the eight qualified drivers.

One of the most anticipated off-track happenings at this event will come Sunday when “Big Daddy” Don Garlits shaves off his beard to recreate the moment he created after winning the 1967 event. (Above) Garlits was on hand to watch others shave their Garlits tribute beards, including Pro Stock Motorcycle ace Hector Arana Jr. (Below) Arana Jr. and Mello Yello’s Al Rondon got cleaned up by Shelly Fletcher, left, and Kelli Warf.

Nine-time U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner Tony Schumacher signed the T-shirt of one admiring young fan. Should Schumacher win again this year, he’d be the event’s winningest Pro-class driver.

So you want to win class at the U.S. Nationals? Most Sportsman racers do, even though it means the possibility of going through the teardown process to prove to NHRA officials that your car meets the class specifications. Definitely a labor of love.

The eight Top Fuel drivers who are taking part in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout later today took part in an autograph session for fans.

Two more wonderful Indy history showcases took place early Saturday, both emceed by Bob Frey. (Above) Kenny Bernstein, one of just four drivers to win the U.S. Nationals in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, talked about his historic 1983 Indy outing, where he won both the Big Bud Shootout and the U.S. Nationals, becoming the first to accomplish an event double like that. (Below) Shirley Muldowney took the stage next to talk about her long history at Indy, including her 1982 Top Fuel win, 1975 runner-up, and 1973 Funny Car fire.

Detailed coverage and features from the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals can be found on NationalDragster.net. The site is open to all users throughout the event.

Alligator farmer Jerry Savoie (above) continues to turn heads with his White Alligator Racing Suzuki (now painted green with cool gator-scale finish) after running a 6.876 to take the No. 1 qualifying spot in the second qualifying session. Friday leader Eddie Krawiec improved from a 6.903 to a 6.904 but slipped to No. 2, and Epping winner Angie Smith (below) took the No. 3 spot with a 6.915 from her Kandy Magazine Buell.

Jason Line held onto the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock with a 6.593, but KB Racing teammate Vincent Nobile (above) moved the Mountain View Chevy into No. 2 just behind him with a 6.601. Former Indy champ Dave Connolly (below) moved the Charter Camaro to the No. 3 spot with a 6.607.

A Cacklefest of vintage machines, including Top Fuelers, Funny Cars, roadsters, and coupes, took place prior to the day's first nitro session.

Among those taking part was eight-time U.S. Nationals champ "Big Daddy" Don Garlits (right) in his Swamp Rat XI dragster.

The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout Top Fuel class of 2014 assembled with Traxxas and NHRA representatives for this commemorative group photo prior to round one.

Steve Torrence (above) leapfrogged Friday leader Tony Schumacher’s 3.777 with a 3.771 to move from No. 2 to No. 1 and was followed by Richie Crampton, who ran 3.772 in the GEICO dragster for the No. 2 spot while defeating Antron Brown in round one of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout (below). Crampton then defeated Shawn Langdon in the Shootout semifinals while Schumacher defeated Kalitta.

  Matt Hagan (above) looked like he was going to take away the No. 1 spot from Friday Funny Car leader Del Worsham after powering his 50th anniversary Hemi entry to a 4.021, but Worsham (left) fired right back in the final pass of the session to reclaim the top spot with a 4.016.

  One of the best attended of the special presentations so far at this event featured Tom "the Mongoose" McEwen and Don "the Snake" Prudhomme, who reminisced about their famous 1978 Indy Funny Car final, which, in 2004, was voted the No. 1 Memorable Moment in the event's history.

The legendary duo traded barbs about their roles in history and in one another's success and talked in detail about the final round that McEwen won just two weeks after the death of his young son.

Prudhomme was magnanimous even in that memorable defeat, acknowledging that even if he hadn't smoked the tires, he probably wouldn't have beaten McEwen, and that it was the one loss in his career that he was OK with after the fact.

 The Suzukis are making their presence known at Indy. Steve Johnson (above), who already has two U.S. Nationals wins to his credit (2005, 2008), is qualified No. 6 after three sessions with a 6.935 best.

Former world champ LE Tonglet (right), who won the U.S. Nationals in 2010,  also has his NitroFish Suzuki running strong, qualified No. 9 with two sessions to go Sunday.

Jerry Savoie's Suzuki remains atop the field with a 6.878 best.

In addition to remaining atop the qualified Pro Stock field, points leader Jason Line defeated Dave River in the rain-delayed semifinals from the Brainerd event and will take on Jeg Coughlin Jr. (below), who bested Vincent Nobile in the other semifinal. The final round will be run Sunday morning.

(Above) Brainerd winner Morgan Lucas continued to look good, temporarily grabbing the No. 1 qualifying spot in Top Fuel with a 3.757 but ultimately was dropped to No. 3. (Below) Tony Schumacher, near lane, ended up with the No. 1 spot and made it doubly sweet by using that run to defeat Richie Crampton in the final round of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout to earn a cool $100,000 payday.


(Above) Ron Capps, near lane, defeated John Force in the rain-delayed Funny Car final from the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. The victory, the 43rd of Capps’ career, was sealed convincingly on a 4.02 to 4.12 count and gives Capps (left) the chance for three wins at this race if he can also win Sunday’s NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout and Monday’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals final eliminations.

Defending Traxxas Shootout champ Jack Beckman (below) didn’t have a berth in this year’s Shootout, but he made big news anyway with a strong 4.004 track-record blast to take the No. 1 qualifying spot.


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