The Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals are finally in the record books, as Ed Krawiec and Andrew Hines ran their final round from Maple Grove Raceway as the fourth qualifying round for Pro Stock Motorcycles at the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Krawiec came out of the race as the winner after Hines red-lighted, and takes a 51-point lead over Hines going into Sunday’s eliminations at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“Man, to win today was huge,” Krawiec said. “I sort of had mixed emotions when we didn’t have the chance to run the final in Reading. I thought I had a great opportunity then. But after unloading my bike here, we still had a fast motorcycle. We made some good laps this weekend and I feel I have a very consistent bike.”
Krawiec took the No. 1 qualifier in PSM with a fast pass of 6.902 seconds (195.11 mph) and faces GT Tonglet in the first round of Vegas eliminations. Hector Arana Jr., Matt Smith, Hines and Michael Ray complete the top five.
In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher grabbed the No. 1 qualifier with a pass of 3.773 seconds (324.20 mph), his fourth No. 1 of the season; he’ll be facing Terry McMillen in the first round. Spencer Massey, Doug Kalitta, Khalid alBalooshi and J.R. Todd complete the top five.
“Side-by-side racing is really what it’s become,” Schumacher said. “There was a time when one car was a tenth of a second faster than everybody else, and he just didn’t have to make a mistake and he would win. But now it’s incredibly close. It’s going to be a battle, and I’m glad we all got today in to see where the conditions are going to be. How many cars ran 3.80s? It was one after another after another, and there were even a couple 3.7s. It’s great. The track is prepared good, and it’s getting better every day, and we’re going to have some fantastic racing.”
Cruz Pedregon earned the No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car with his pass of 4.066 seconds (312.50 mph), his fifth No. 1 of the season and 50th of his career; he’ll face Bob Tasca III in the first round on Sunday. “To be honest with you, the conditions came to us,” Pedregon said. “Had we run when we were supposed to, I think the track wouldn’t have held that, but hey, we took advantage of it, as did a couple of cars. I think when I pulled into the water box we were fourth or fifth. It’s a credit to our team. It’s the fifth No. 1 of the year for our Snap-on Toyota, and man is it a great car. It’s one of the best cars I’ve driven in my 20-year Funny Car career. But we’ve got a goose egg in the win column, so we’ve got to enjoy this, but at the end of the day, we’re going to go out there tomorrow and see if we can’t get that win.”
Mike Neff, Robert Hight, Matt Hagan and Johnny Gray complete the Funny Car top five.
Jason Line sits atop the Pro Stock ladder following his pass of 6.590 seconds (209.72 mph) and will face Shane Gray in the first round of eliminations; it is Line’s eighth No. 1 of the season. “My mind-set is easy. Just win,” said Line, currently second in the points standings. “Obviously, Greg’s (Anderson) mind-set is a little bit different than mine. He’s trying to help me win, which is a great thing. You can say that it’s unorthodox because it hasn’t been done before. But that’s why we have teammates. Our philosophy has never been to try to race each other and dive. That’s been done in the past and nobody likes that. That’s not real racing.”
The rest of the top five qualifiers: points leader Allen Johnson, Mike Edwards, Erica Enders and Vincent Nobile.
Eliminations for the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals get underway on Sunday at 11 a.m. PT. Follow the action this weekend at www.nhra.com and at the NHRA Twitter page.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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