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Racers Roar Into Las Vegas For Nationals
0402 Force
Courtney Force set new track elapse time and speed records for funny cars in her Traxxas Ford Mustang over the weekend in Las Vegas with a pass of 4.006et @ 325mph. Jeff Burghardt/The News

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series made their way across Hoover Dam to Sin City Las Vegas for the 15th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Qualifying on Friday and Saturday showed some quick elapse times and big speed in the top fuel and funny car categories. Pro stock showcased their race within a race, the K&N Horsepower challenge.

Top fuel qualifying looked like Steve Torrance and his Capco Contractors top fuel dragster held the top spot for three of the four sessions with a stellar 3.779et @ 324mph. Torrance would lose the top spot and fall to the number three spot. 2012 series champion Antron Brown and the Macto tools dragster ran a 3.768et @ 325mph to capture the number one position. Doug Kalitta would take the number two qualifying position with a 3.773et @ 323mph. Kallita’s Mac tools team won two weeks ago in Gainesville, Florida. Brittany Force would put her Castrol Edge dragster in the number seven spot with a 3.799et @ 315mph.

Fuel Funny car was led by Courtney Force, youngest daughter of 16-time champion John Force. Courtney set new track elapse time and speed records for funny cars in her Traxxas Ford Mustang. Her pass of 4.006et @ 325mph was good enough to keep her father John Force and the Castrol High Mileage Mustang in the number two position with his 4.017et @ 317mph. Tommy Johnson Jr. in the Make a Wish Dodge Charger took the number three position with a 4.023et @ 317mph. A pair of big names in funny car failed to qualify for the 16 car elimination ladder. Bob Tasca and Gary Densham both had trouble getting their 10,000 horsepower machines down the track.

Pro stock Qualifying was led by Jeg Coughlin. Chris McGaha would take the number two position. Erica Enders Stevens put her Camaro in the number three position. Dave Connelly qualified fourth. During Saturday qualifying Pro stock had their special race within the race. Eight teams compete for $50,000 in the winner-take-all event. Six racers raced their way in Allen Johnson, Jeg Coughlin, Shane Gray, Jason Line, V Gaines, and Vincent Nobile. Erica Enders-Stevens was put in as an alternate for Greg Anderson who is recovering from surgery. Dave Connelly won the fan vote. In the Final round of the K&N Filters pro stock challenge it would be the alternate Erica Enders-Stevens vs. the fan vote Dave Connelly. Enders would win the race and the $50,000 prize.