LAS VEGAS, Nev. (October 27, 2017) The NHRA Toyota Nationals is underway at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This event is the twenty-third of twenty-four races and the fifth of six playoff races. Today was the first day of professional qualifying for the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle categories. As far as Vegas weather goes, it was a cool 82 degrees coupled with a track temperature that was averaged just over 100 degrees during both sessions.
In the last session of the day, Tony Schumacher rocketed to the top of the field with his 3.673 second lap at 332.67 mph. Schumacher set the track ET record with that lap time as well. “That’s just an outstanding run on this racing track,” Schumacher said. “We’ve won this race a lot of times, we probably have more data than anyone at this racetrack so we have a good quality map to look at; we know what to do here,” he continued. “We qualify fine but we race terrible right now and we gotta swap that. I don’t care where we qualify, we gotta win the race.”
Points leader, Steve Torrence is second after making his 3.694 second run at 330.15 mph in Q2 and extends his lead with a total of five bonus points from today’s two sessions. Shawn Langdon is third thanks to his 3.742 second pass at 319.98 mph from the second session. Leah Pritchett, Brittany Force, T.J. Zizzo, Antron Brown, and Doug Kalitta help fill out the quickest eight drivers in the field.
Infinite Hero driver, Jack Beckman set the track record this evening with a quick 3.867 second lap at 329.50 mph in Q2. “The problem with running good early is that on the night sessions the track is gonna continue to cool down, it’s gonna get better, and they just saw what the track’s capable of. Everybody else is smart enough to go back and give it a little more clutch and a little more everything else. It almost didn’t survive the next pair and to watch the rest of the Funny Cars run and eventually stand as number one, that surprised me,” Beckman said.
John Force Racing’s Courtney Force and a Robert Hight are second and third respectively. Force went 3.878 seconds at 331.77 mph in Q2. Hight ran down the track in 3.880 seconds at 329.99 mph in the second session. J.R. Todd, Cruz Pedregon, Ron Capps, Alexis Dejoria, and Matt Hagan are also on the top half of the ladder.
Points leader, Greg Anderson holds the top spot good by into tomorrow’s final two sessions of qualifying. Anderson laid down a 6.663 second run at 204.73 mph. “Conditions are great. Obviously when you get 80 degrees in Las Vegas that feels about 70 everywhere else around the country,” Anderson told the media. “I just feel great, we’ve had a great playoff run so far, I’ve been racing really well, my team’s been doing a great job on Sunday but I just haven’t quite had the speed that I need out of my red Summit Chevy.” Anderson continued, “So we went home this week and we used every hour and built a lot of new parts and I’ve got a lot of new parts under the hood and lo and behold it’s showing some fruit, so I’ve got a fast car again and it’s gonna be a battle. We have two races to go and four cars locked in a heck of a points battle, it can go anyway so you need every bonus point you can get and the fastest hotrod you can get. I’ve got the opportunity and that’s all I can ask for.”
Drew Skillman’s Q1 effort of 6.664 second at 205.32 mph held up for the off-pole position. Anderson’s KB Racing teammate, Bo Butner made a 6.672 second run at 205.51 mph in the second session to take the third spot. Jason Line, Jeg Coughlin Jr., Erica Enders, Matt Hartford, and Alex Laughlin help make up the “quick eight” qualifiers of the day.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Eddie Krawiec made the best run of the day with a 6.936 second pass at 191.76 mph in the second session. Krawiec, the current points leader, further extended his lead by picking up the extra three bonus points that are available to the fastest ET of each round. “It was a nice run. I went nice, straight, clean down through there,” Krawiec said. The first qualifying session, unfortunately for me, I didn’t get down the track, I had a really good 60 foot [time], went 1.06 [seconds], I left the starting line; unfortunately we had a new transmission in there and every once in a while when you put a new one in things just aren’t happy yet. They haven’t worn themselves in so the bike didn’t shift on the one-two. So be it, that’s behind us, I’m focused on what’s in front of us,” he explained. “From here moving forward we have a great motorcycle.”
Hector Arana Jr. is second after making his 6.940 second lap at 191.87 mph in Q2. Krawiec’s Vance & Hines teammate, Andrew Hines made a solid pass of 6.955 seconds at 193.82 mph, which put him third going into tomorrow. Scotty Pollacheck, Angie Smith, Jerry Savoie, LE Tonglet, and Mike Berry round out the provisional top half of the field.
Qualifying will resume Saturday afternoon for the final two sessions before final eliminations take place on Sunday.