Australians say Viva Las Vegas!

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There are plenty of Australians both on the track and in the spectator stands for one of the NHRA’s most popular events – the Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Headlining the Australian contingent was Richie Crampton who took the Geico Top Fuel dragster to provisional number one qualifying spot with a 3.764 pass.

“It’s pretty exciting to leave here Friday night sitting on the top of the ladder,” Crampton said. “We’ve done that before and ended up getting bumped on Saturday, so we’ll see how tomorrow pans out.

“I think we’re going to have some fantastic weather tomorrow to lend itself to some great ETs again. For now, I’m just real proud of my GEICO team, and to do so well for Toyota at a Toyota event like this is also a big bonus for us.”

Securing the No. 1 qualifier would be a boon to Crampton’s hopes for the rookie-of-the-year award.

“I’ve definitely got my eyes set on that,” he said. “I really hope I’m in contention for that and I’d really love to win that award. I know we need to do better and go some rounds to solidify our position. If we can get some round wins here and Pomona, I think we’ll be sitting pretty good, but it’s not over until it’s over.”

Crampton also hopes to use Saturday’s final qualifying runs to gain consistency for his GEICO team.

“We’ve struggled with consistency, so tomorrow we’ll just try to make good, solid runs,” Crampton said. “Obviously, we’re going to try and run well, but we need to get that consistency back that we’ve been lacking since the U.S. Nationals. I’m sure (crew chief) Aaron (Brooks) and the team will get everything figured out. What we did this evening has given us some great information for tomorrow, and if we can put together two high 3.70 runs tomorrow, we’d be ecstatic.”

Rhett Lougheed is making one of his rare appearances in Pro Stock Motorcycle. In the first qualifying session he got out close to the wall and had to click it off early for a 7.41. The second pass also had problems so he will have two more chances to make it into the race day show. He was a little concerned about the impact predicted winds might have.

Rhett has a unique sticker on his wheelie bars.

John Cannuli is driving for Top Alcohol Funny Car outfit Kon Rodz Racing this weekend. Unfortunately the first qualifying session did not go to plan with the car rolling the staging beams but the team estimates the pass would have been around a 5.68-5.71. John will have two more chances to make the field.

Steve Harker has already wrapped up a championship but has shown up to Las Vegas anyway, maybe just to rub it in to his opponents. Tyre shake ruined his first pass.

He might not be Australian, but there is a little bit of Australian influence on Nitro Funny Car racer John Bojec. He’s married to Steve Harker’s daughter Diana.

Now that we’ve got the Aussies sorted, let’s have a look around at what was happening in Las Vegas! With this event taking place on Halloween there are many great costumes on track. Snow White has never looked so good.

Some of the A/Fuel cars are uber smokey on the launch as a bunch of unburnt fuel leaves the pipes on the hit.

Swedish bombshell Elvira Karlsson lines up here against ‘the’ woman of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, Angelle Sampey.

If there was a tough award for the event it would have to go to Sampey, who tore an Achilles tendon in the pits and would need 20 stitches later in the day, but still rode. She has had to withdraw from the event though, sadly.

Every spectator ticket to Las Vegas Motor Speedway comes with a free air show courtesy of the Air Force base next door.

The Traxxas girls were in the Halloween spirit.

Frequent Australian visitor John ‘Bodie’ Smith was tuning for Kebin Kinsley but the Gas Monkey team didn’t have a whole lot of luck on track. Some big header flames though.

Check out our gallery below for some of the other action from Las Vegas!


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