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Langdon Takes First Round Of Qualifying In Vegas

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, October 26 2013


Top Fuel point-leader Shawn Langdon continued to push toward his first world championship by racing to the qualifying lead Friday at the 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Courtney Force (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and rookie Adam Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders in their categories at the fifth of six events in the NHRA Mello Yello Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Qualifying continues Saturday at 12:15 p.m. (EDT) and 2:45 p.m. before Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations.

Langdon powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a 1,000-foot run of 3.778-seconds at 324.28 mph to lead the provisional field. If it holds, it will be his seventh pole of the season and 13th in his career. Langdon has a class-best six wins this season, including the most recent event at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.

“The Al-Anabi team just did a phenomenal job preparing the race car and making two great runs down the track,” said Langdon, who posted the quickest time in each qualifying session. “They were clean runs and we just want to continue that. This team didn’t stop after winning in Reading. We went back to the shop, continued to work hard and we found some improvements in the car.”

Seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, who has won a class-best six times in Vegas, powered his U.S. Army dragster to the second position with a run of 3.784-seconds at 324.59 mph. David Grubnic currently is in third after his pass of 3.790-seconds at 306.12 mph. Spencer Massey, third in the standings, is fourth after posting numbers of 3.818/321.65 in his Battery Extender dragster. Doug Kalitta is second in points and his run of 3.857-seconds at 321.12 mph in the Mac Tools dragster placed him 10th after two sessions.

In Funny Car, Force paced the category with a 4.052-second 1,000-foot pass at a track-record speed of 318.24 mph in her Traxxas Ford Mustang. Force currently is seventh in points and would claim her second No. 1 qualifier of the season and fourth of her career if it holds. Reigning world champion Jack Beckman, third in points, ran an identical 4.052-seconds in his Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger but had a slower pass of 315.56 mph.

“It definitely felt good on that pass,” said Force, daughter of 15-time world champion John Force. “It flew down there and my team did a great job. It felt good to make a solid pass. We love being here and we’ve had some pretty good luck at this track. We just want to be consistent and we want to finish up the season well. Our goal, obviously, is to get the championship but we really want to finish better than fifth, which is what we finished last year.”

Following Force and Beckman in third is two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon, who went 4.064-seconds at 316.01 mph in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry. Former world champion Matt Hagan, who trails championship leader John Force by 65 points, ran 4.078-seconds at 313.00 mph in his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger. Brut Force sits sixth after posting numbers of 4.085/308.99 in his Castrol GTX Mustang.

In Pro Stock, reigning world champion Johnson was in command during both qualifying sessions, taking the top spot with a quarter-mile pass of 6.651-seconds at 206.99 mph in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger. Johnson, fourth in points, is seeking his fourth pole of the season and 32nd of his career.

“We have to win both of the last two races, but our team is certainly up for it,” Johnson said. “We’re motivated and we have it on ‘KILL,’ and we want to win both of these races. If we do that, I think we’ve got a shot. We’re going to go for it on every run and that’s our goal. You just need a little luck, but maybe we’ll have a big exciting finish.”

Johnson’s teammate, point-leader and four-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., is second after running 6.655-seconds at 207.11 mph in his JEGS.com Avenger. Former world champion Mike Edwards, third in points, powered his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro to the third spot after a run of 6.657-seconds at 207.34 mph.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana covered the quarter-mile in 6.946-seconds at 193.38 mph on his ProtectTheHarvest.com/MAVTV Buell to lead the two-wheel category. Arana jumped 16 qualifying spots during his impressive second session pass. Should that run hold, it would be the second pole of the season for Arana, who continues to impress during his rookie season.

“These past couple races I haven’t had the best of luck, so I definitely need this,” Arana said. “We work hard, but it’s really tough out there. My dad (former world champion Hector Arana Sr.) made a great call going up there for that second run. I want to do well here this weekend and I need to stay focused and ride to the best of my ability.”

Championship runnerup Hector Arana Jr. sits second after running 6.965/190.89 aboard his Lucas Oil Buell. Point-leader Matt Smith qualified eighth, guiding his Viper Motorcycle Company Racing Buell down the track in 7.021-seconds at 191.97 mph.

In addition to Johnson, defending event winners are Bob Vandergriff Jr. (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and three-time/reigning world champion Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

ESPN2 and ESPN2HD initially will televise 90 minutes of qualifying coverage Sunday at 2:30 a.m. (EDT). The networks will re-air that qualifying show at 3 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. Coverage of the finals will air Sunday starting at 8 p.m. (EDT).

Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 23rd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel _ 1. Shawn Langdon, 3.778-seconds, 324.28 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.784, 324.59; 3. David Grubnic, 3.790, 306.12; 4. Spencer Massey, 3.818, 321.65; 5. Antron Brown, 3.820, 317.94; 6. Brandon Bernstein, 3.821, 314.39; 7. Clay Millican, 3.827, 324.20; 8. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 3.827, 316.97; 9. Brittany Force, 3.834, 317.64; 10. Doug Kalitta, 3.857, 321.12; 11. Billy Torrence, 3.862, 317.87; 12. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.866, 311.56.

Not Qualified _ 13. Terry McMillen, 3.873, 321.12; 14. T.J. Zizzo, 3.878, 310.84; 15. Troy Buff, 3.925, 305.98; 16. Sidnei Frigo, 3.927, 304.32; 17. Morgan Lucas, 4.144, 215.20; 18. Steven Chrisman, 4.776, 168.47; 19. Steve Torrence, 9.308, 76.15; 20. Paul Noakes, 11.646, 68.74.

Funny Car _ 1. Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 4.052, 318.24; 2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.052, 315.56; 3. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.064, 316.01; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.078, 313.00; 5. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.080, 312.50; 6. John Force, Mustang, 4.085, 308.99; 7. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.097, 312.86; 8. Chad Head, Camry, 4.100, 310.70; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.123, 307.02; 10. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.125, 308.78; 11. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.137, 311.85; 12. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.167, 264.86.

Not Qualified _ 13. Johnny Gray, 4.210, 301.20; 14. Jeff Arend, 4.225, 285.47; 15. Todd Lesenko, 4.252, 271.24; 16. Terry Haddock, 4.297, 292.65; 17. Phil Burkart Jr., 4.318, 275.73; 18. Josh Crawford, 4.432, 260.91; 19. Jeff Diehl, 4.589, 206.23; 20. Bob Tasca III, 5.012, 254.33; 21. Gary Densham, 5.340, 137.46.

Pro Stock _ 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.651, 207.46; 2. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Avenger, 6.655, 207.11; 3. Mike Edwards, Chevy Camaro, 6.657, 207.34; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.658, 207.37; 5. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.663, 207.30; 6. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.665, 207.24; 7. Rickie Jones, Camaro, 6.665, 208.07; 8. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.666, 207.98; 9. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.674, 207.18; 10. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.683, 207.88; 11. Greg Stanfield, Camaro, 6.701, 205.22; 12. Buddy Perkinson, Camaro, 6.702, 206.86.

Not Qualified _ 13. Rodger Brogdon, 6.708, 206.39; 14. Matt Hartford, 6.716, 206.01; 15. Larry Morgan, 6.721, 203.92; 16. Chris McGaha, 6.733, 204.76; 17. Kurt Johnson, 6.745, 205.57; 18. JR Carr, 6.791, 204.11; 19. Warren Johnson, 6.805, 205.04; 20. Steve Kent, 6.828, 204.39; 21. Deric Kramer, 13.806, 102.18.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Adam Arana, Buell, 6.946, 192.71; 2. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.965, 190.94; 3. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.971, 192.30; 4. John Hall, Buell, 6.987, 191.19; 5. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.990, 192.96; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.998, 191.08; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.003, 190.59; 8. Matt Smith, Buell, 7.010, 192.38; 9. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.013, 190.43; 10. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.016, 188.83; 11. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.021, 191.57; 12. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.022, 187.68.

Not Qualified _ 13. Chaz Kennedy, 7.025, 189.63; 14. Shawn Gann, 7.030, 190.94; 15. Mike Berry, 7.058, 187.89; 16. Jim Underdahl, 7.089, 190.67; 17. Katie Sullivan, 7.111, 189.42; 18. Rhett Lougheed, 7.162, 187.44; 19. Freddie Camarena, 7.183, 188.33; 20. Bailey Whitaker, 7.228, 184.17; 21. Redell Harris, 7.245, 186.07; 22. James Surber, 7.252, 185.92; 23.Angie Smith, 8.087, 120.00.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, October 26 2013
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