LAS VEGAS - Bruce Sarver scored his sixth career No. 1 Funny Car
qualifying position Saturday at the second annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA
Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Doug Herbert, Kurt Johnson and Matt Hines also were the No. 1
qualifiers in their respective categories at the $2 million race, the 23rd
of 24th events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing
Sarver set a track record for elapsed time as he powered his Whitecap
Toyota Celica to the finish line in 4.773 seconds at 317.12 mph to lead
the 16-car field for the third time this season. Sarver also was the top
qualifier at The Strip in April of 2001.
A tremendous fire occurred in the cockpit of Sarver's Celica during
Friday's qualifying session, but the Alan Johnson-owned team was able to
bounce back and score the top position.
"The run last night was so good but then a misfire occurred,"
said Sarver, who was unharmed in the incident. "The body of that
Celica is amazing because we have been on fire several times this year and
that body has a special resin on it, but when it's on fire you don't even
know it. Starting out today, we wanted to go fast and then the sun came
out and Alan wanted to make sure we just got in the show. Then we hoped we
would get a cloud cover for the later session and then we could show them
what we got. That's what happened and that's exactly what we did."
Herbert blasted his Snap-On Tools dragster to the end of the
quarter-mile in 4.537 at 301.13 for his second No. 1 qualifying position
of his career, both coming in the past three races. Herbert's dragster had
a slight mechanical problem as his engine broke near the finish line and
still managed to lead the quickest Top Fuel field of the year. Herbert
will meet Mike Strasburg in the opening round of eliminations.
"That run scared the heck out of me," said Herbert. "I
had my eye closed down there until right before it blew up. All of the
sudden the last three races with Wes Cerny helping us out, we have been
doing pretty good. He's a pretty smart guy. He's been doing this for 30
years and he knows something. In the last three races, we have qualified
No. 1, No. 2, and now another No. 1 and that's pretty good. I wish we
could have had a streak like that at the beginning of the year."
Current Top Fuel points leader Larry Dixon qualified his Miller Lite
dragster in the No. 2 spot and will face Scott Weis in the first round of
eliminations. Kenny Bernstein, who entered the race 108 points behind
Dixon in the standings, is No. 4 in the ladder and will line up opposite
another legend, Shirley Muldowney, in his first matchup of the day.
Muldowney defeated Bernstein earlier this season in the second round of
competition at Columbus, Ohio.
Johnson was the Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier for the first time this
season and for the 21st time of his career. He drove his
ACDelco Chevy Cavalier down the track in 6.921 at 199.20 to lead the field
into eliminations. Johnson's Cavalier also is one of three cars competing
at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals that are adorned with a special
KISS paint scheme honoring the legendary rock band.
"This is a dream to qualify No. 1 at my sponsor's race and with
the special KISS graphics on the car," said Johnson. "We're
going to try and be consistent on race day, go up to the starting line and
do our job, and not worry about what anyone else does. We've run well at
the last few races."
The biggest Pro Stock story of the day was the situation regarding the
POWERade championship. Current points leader Jeg Coughlin qualified in the
No 5 position but his two closest competitors in the standings, Jim Yates
and Greg Anderson, both posted a DNQ (did not qualify). Coughlin only
needs to win his first round matchup against Scott Geoffrion to clinch his
second NHRA Pro Stock championship in the past three years.
"We're still trying to do an autopsy to see what happened,"
said Yates, who now has two DNQ's on the season. "Our focus right now
is to get some pride back and go and win the last race (of the year). I'm
a realistic person and for all practical purposes, the points championship
is over. This is not the way we expected, or even remotely anticipated,
losing the title."
Hines notched his fifth top qualifying spot of the season and the 44th
of his career as he rode his Eagle One Suzuki to the top of the Pro Stock
Bike order when he recorded both ends of the track record with a pass of
7.217 at 191.08.
"It's great to be the No. 1 qualifier again, the track conditions
are unbelievable and we were looking to take advantage of that," said
Hines. "We've struggled in Las Vegas in the past and we figured it
was time to go in another direction as far a the tune-up was concerned. We
are happy to start at the top of the ladder, but it doesn't mean anything
unless you translate it into four good runs on Sunday."
Professional eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m.
LAS VEGAS -- First-round pairings for Sunday's eliminations for the
Second annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas
Motor Speedway, the 22nd of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade
Drag Racing Series.
1. Doug Herbert, 4.537 seconds, 322.34 mph vs. 16. Mike Strasburg, 4.719,
306.81; 2. Larry Dixon, 4.569, 324.20 vs. 15. Scott Weis, 4.716, 307.79;
3. Doug Kalitta, 4.575, 324.67 vs. 14. Melanie Troxel, 4.710, 298.21; 4.
Kenny Bernstein, 4.577, 325.14 vs. 13. Shirley Muldowney, 4.688, 302.48;
5. Tony Schumacher, 4.589, 323.27 vs. 12. Yuichi Oyama, 4.674, 302.21; 6.
Andrew Cowin, 4.601, 318.32 vs. 11. John Smith, 4.671, 315.27; 7. Cory
McClenathan, 4.602, 316.45 vs. 10. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 4.652, 314.02; 8.
Darrell Russell, 4.628, 315.71 vs. 9. David Grubnic, 4.640, 318.02.
1. Bruce Sarver, Toyota Celica, 4.773, 317.12 vs. 16. Bob Bode, Pontiac
Firebird, 4.930, 302.82; 2. Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.786, 322.73 vs.
15. Bob Gilbertson, Firebird, 4.925, 312.13; 3. Whit Bazemore, Firebird,
4.791, 325.85 vs. 14. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird, 4.918, 313.29; 4. John
Force, Mustang, 4.793, 322.81 vs. 13. Frank Pedregon, Firebird, 4.915,
311.13; 5. Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.829, 310.13 vs. 12. Dale Creasy Jr.,
Firebird, 4.892, 307.30; 6. Scotty Cannon, Firebird, 4.835, 318.54 vs. 11.
Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro, 4.891, 313.00; 7. Del Worsham, Firebird, 4.856,
318.84 vs. 10. Dean Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T, 4.882, 310.91; 8. Tommy
Johnson Jr., Camaro, 4.865, 312.42 vs. 9. Tim Wilkerson, Firebird, 4.879,
1. Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cavalier, 6.921, 199.20 vs. 16. Larry Nance,
Cavalier, 6.967, 197.91; 2. Warren Johnson, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.921,
199.11 vs. 15. Tom Lee, Dodge Neon R/T, 6.966, 197.05; 3. Greg Stanfield,
Neon R/T, 6.926, 198.41 vs. 14. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am, 6.963, 197.80; 4.
Ron Krisher, Cavalier, 6.936, 199.02 vs. 13. Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.962,
197.54; 5. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.938, 198.70 vs. 12. Scott Geoffrion,
Ford Mustang, 6.957, 197.74; 6. Gene Wilson, Neon R/T, 6.940, 198.41 vs.
11. Mike Edwards, Cavalier, 6.952, 198.26; 7. V. Gaines, Cavalier, 6.947,
198.88 vs. 10. Tom Hammonds, Cavalier, 6.951, 198.06; 8. Allen Johnson,
Neon R/T, 6.948, 198.26 vs. 9. George Marnell, Grand Am, 6.949, 196.76.
PRO STOCK BIKE
1. Matt Hines, Suzuki, 7.217, 191.08 vs. 16. Michael Phillips, Suzuki,
7.400, 184.37; 2. Angelle Savoie, Suzuki, 7.229, 183.89 vs. 15. Karen
Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.397, 181.86; 3. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.280, 182.50 vs.
14. Thomas Miceli, Suzuki, 7.394, 184.25; 4. Antron Brown, Suzuki, 7.302,
185.33 vs. 13. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.391, 183.02; 5. Shawn Gann, Suzuki,
7.319, 188.17 vs. 12. Sean Conner, Suzuki, 7.390, 185.46; 6. Andrew Hines,
Suzuki, 7.343, 187.05 vs. 11. Reggie Showers, Suzuki, 7.382, 185.23; 7.
John Smith, Suzuki, 7.366, 186.20 vs. 10. Geno Scali, Kawasaki, 7.380,
185.95; 8. Fred Camarena, Suzuki, 7.376, 184.35 vs. 9. Sam Hurwitz,
Suzuki, 7.376, 183.72.