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Anderson Wins Challenge; Vegas Field Set

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 2 2017

Greg Anderson picked up a big check by winning the Horsepower Challenge in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Greg Anderson defeated Shane Gray Saturday in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, Pro Stock’s annual bonus race-within-a-race, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Anderson powered his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to a quarter-mile pass in 6.684-seconds at 205.47 mph to better Gray’s 6.699/206.26 effort to claim the $50,000 prize and the opportunity to walk away from the weekend with more than $100,000. With a victory in Sunday’s DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals, Anderson could earn an additional $50,000, including a $25,000 sweep bonus.

“It’s been a great start to the season, first of all,” said Anderson, a four-time world champion. “This day is all about fun _ all about thanking K&N for all they do for this class, for this sport and a whole big pile of cash at the end of the rainbow. We found our way there and it’s just a lot of fun. We have a chance to double-up (Sunday). It adds more pressure but more fun for tomorrow. It’s going to be a great day.”

Anderson opened the Challenge as the No. 2 seed and outran Drew Skillman, and Ken Black Racing teammate Bo Butner to advance to the final. Anderson went on to record his sixth victory, and second consecutive, in the bonus event.

In qualifications leading into Sunday’s finals, Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) secured poles in their respective categories at the fourth of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Torrence held onto the top spot in Top Fuel via his 1,000-foot pass in 3.720-seconds at 327.03 mph in the Capco Contractors dragster from Friday. The native Texan claimed his 14th career pole and first of the season.

“We seem to have a good handle on the conditions here in Las Vegas,” Torrence said. “When we come here, we typically run well right out of the trailer. We usually run well in Q1 and then we build on that. That’s huge for going rounds on Sunday.” Torrence will enjoy a first-round bye in a shortened 15-car field.

Eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher of Don Schumacher Racing and his U.S. Army dragster are in the No. 2 spot and will face Terry Haddock in the first round of eliminations. Brittany Force is third in her Monster Energy dragster.

In Funny Car, Courtney Force remained No. 1 after setting The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s elapsed time track record with her 1,000-foot qualifying pass Friday of 3.867-seconds at 327.66 mph in the Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro SS.

“This is an awesome run for our team,” said Force, of John Force Racing. “To head down there and run a 3.86 to set the track record, that definitely felt good.  It was a great run for us. We’re excited about it. It all comes down to tomorrow, though. Our main goal is going rounds and head into the winner’s circle in Vegas.”

Force earned the 11th pole of her career. She will face veteran independent campaigner Gary Densham in the first round of eliminations. Two-time world champion Matt Hagan of DSR qualified second and will line up against 2015 world champ Del Worsham. Tim Wilkerson earned the third spot.

Line maintained his No. 1 status in Pro Stock with his 6.647-second pass at 206.29 mph from Friday’s first qualifying session in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro.

“The strategy is to go out there and go as fast as you can every time,” said Line, the three-time/reigning world champion who posted the 53rd pole of his career. “Obviously try to do the best job you can to get every bit of performance out of the race car. It’s not just me. I’m just one small part of it. I’m the guy who can mess it up. (Crew chief) Rob Downing and the guys do a really good job of getting the race car down the racetrack. It’s a very good hot rod right now.” Line also will have a bye run in Round 1.

Five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualified second in his JEGs.com /Elite Performance Chevy Camaro and will race Tom Huggins and his Dodge Dart when eliminations begin at noon on Sunday. FOX Sports 1’s live, three-hour broadcast is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. (EDT).

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Sunday’s first-round eliminations pairings for the 18th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the fourth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Steve Torrence, 3.720-seconds, 327.35 mph  vs. Bye; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.739, 326.87  vs. 15. Terry Haddock, 10.509, 51.35; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.758, 319.60  vs. 14. Steven Chrisman, 8.759, 78.81; 4. Brittany Force, 3.760, 323.58  vs. 13. Steve Faria, 5.450, 122.95; 5. Leah Pritchett, 3.778, 324.98  vs. 12. Troy Buff, 3.972, 237.92; 6. Clay Millican, 3.781, 323.74  vs. 11. Tripp Tatum, 3.828, 317.72; 7. Troy Coughlin Jr., 3.790, 310.27  vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.825, 319.82; 8. Antron Brown, 3.792, 322.42  vs. 9. Scott Palmer, 3.819, 316.67.

Funny Car _ 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.867, 327.66  vs. 16. Gary Densham, Ford Mustang, 5.263, 138.23; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.868, 330.96  vs. 15. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.577, 236.75; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.876, 331.28  vs. 14. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.495, 272.83; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.877, 324.12  vs. 13. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 4.297, 231.04; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.886, 329.18  vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.213, 222.84; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.887, 328.46  vs. 11. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.180, 308.00; 7. John Force, Camaro, 3.924, 329.34  vs. 10. Phil Burkart Jr., Charger, 4.133, 297.16; 8. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.936, 327.27  vs. 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.936, 324.67.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Jeff Arend, 5.504, 131.92; 18. Bob Bode, 6.753, 98.74; 19. John Hale, 7.203, 96.51.

Pro Stock _ 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.647, 206.76  vs. Bye; 2. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.652, 206.92  vs. 15. Tom Huggins, Dodge Dart, 6.829, 199.85; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.655, 206.67  vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.748, 205.01; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.660, 206.20  vs. 13. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.736, 204.91; 5. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.665, 206.76  vs. 12. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.722, 204.57; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.666, 206.32  vs. 11. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.713, 206.45; 7. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.674, 206.20  vs. 10. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.712, 205.47; 8. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.683, 206.26  vs. 9. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.703, 206.92.

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Final finishing order of the K&N Horsepower Challenge (1-16) for Pro Stock: 1. Greg Anderson; 2.  Shane Gray; 3.  Bo Butner; 4.  Erica Enders; 5.  Allen Johnson; 6.  Jason Line; 7.  Drew Skillman; 8.  Vincent Nobile.

ROUND ONE _ Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.950-seconds, 204.51 mph def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 17.490, 44.28; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.677, 206.23 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 16.178, 50.03; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.670, 205.19 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, Fou/ Red Light; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.723, 206.26 def. Jason Line, Camaro, Foul/Red Light;

SEMIFINALS _ Gray, 6.714, 206.92 def. Enders, 13.796, 61.80; Anderson, 6.669, 206.20 def. Butner, 6.719, 206.67;

FINAL _ Anderson, 6.684, 205.47 def. Gray, 6.699, 206.26.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 2 2017
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