Fear, loathing and nitro in Las Vegas

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Day two of the Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway presented overcast and windy conditions which allowed for track records to fall by the wayside in spectacular fashion.

But first, the Australians!

Richie Crampton held on to his number one qualifying position through the third session with an improving 3.748 but would eventually have to settle for fourth after an amazing final qualifying session where the Top Fuel field became the quickest in history. Bump spot was held by TJ Zizzo at a 3.835!

“Yeah, aside from the first run when we had a mechanical issue, the car’s been perfect,” Crampton said. “I don’t know that too many teams will be happy top see us in the other lane.

“The weather turned dead-solid perfect today and the cars responded. It was mine-shaft conditions, as they say, and Aaron always seems to shine when he can be extra aggressive. From what I understand the weather will remain about the same tomorrow, so we should be in a good position to do well.

“No matter what, those are stout runs. We were really going for it in Q4 and just missed it by a touch. I wanted the pole for the guys, but a win tomorrow will be even better. We’ve been lucky enough to win two already this year, including Indy, but to get one of these last two races would be a great finish.”

What’s the Australian influence on Billy Torrence’s team? Darren Morgan’s crew chief Ben Patterson is over for this race and Pomona to add to his nitro experience, although given his success rate perhaps Patterson is teaching as well as learning!

Rhett Lougheed improved to a 7.11/190mph but that would only be enough for 19th position in a tough Pro Stock Motorcycle field.

Steve Harker ran a solid 5.597 in qualifying to settle into fifth spot and as we write this has just advanced through the first round.

John Cannuli didn’t get the dream NHRA debut he wanted. The Kon Rodz Funny Car rolled the beams for a second time on Saturday’s second qualifying session and then in the final session on Saturday night the car got into a scrape with the wall. He will try again at Pomona in two weeks.

One of the most heart warming moments of the weekend was when Austin Zimmerline’s wish to win an NHRA race came true thanks to Make A Wish. Taking a seat alongside Tommy Johnson Jr in a two seater dragster, Austin matched up against another two seater dragster with Jack Beckman and Antron Brown inside. Zimmerline took the win and was presented with a real NHRA Wally. A very well done deal.

The US Army team preps in the staging lanes ahead of the third qualifying session. Schumacher ran a stomping 330mph pass.

Adam Arana has announced he is in his last two events of racing, he will be retiring from the NHRA to go and join the Coast Guard.

Sunset glows behind Brittany Force’s Top Fuel dragster.

John Force announced that Peak would be his new sponsor for next season, replacing long time partner Castrol.

Force’s championship rival Matt Hagan set a track record of 3.98 in the final run of the night to top qualify for Funny Car.

JR Todd’s 3.73 was top qualifier of Top Fuel and a new track record.


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