Las Vegas: Bernstein, Sarver, Yates, Stanfield earn top honors

Saturday's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals LAS VEGAS -Bruce Sarver earned his second career No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the second annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kenny Bernstein, Jim...

Saturday's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals

LAS VEGAS -Bruce Sarver earned his second career No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the second annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kenny Bernstein, Jim Yates and Greg Stanfield also were the No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the fifth of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. The event was delayed throughout the day due to rain and high winds.

Sarver blasted his e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird across the finish line in a career-best 4.822 seconds at 318.02 mph to lead the quickest Funny Car field in NHRA history. It is the third time this season the quickest field has been established (Phoenix and Pomona). Sarver will meet Al Hofmann in the first round of Funny Car eliminations.

"When the air is super, our car runs really good," said Sarver of his Alan Johnson-tuned vehicle. "When we get over 2000 feet in elevation like we are here, that is where our tune-up really shines. The car leaves real hard and pulls all the way down. I'm happy racing on these tracks because the tough ones is when Alan shines." Kenny Bernstein scored his 53rd career No. 1 qualifying position when he sped his Budweiser King dragster down the quarter-mile in a track record 4.524 seconds at 325.37 mph during Friday's qualifying rounds to lead the Top Fuel category. Bernstein's elapsed time is the second quickest run since the NHRA implemented the 90 percent rule at the beginning of the 2000 season. Bernstein was the top qualifier and winner of this event last season. He will face Rob Passey in early eliminations.

"Last year I didn't dominate the field, but I got some breaks," said Bernstein, a five-time Winston champ. "This time we've put together great qualifying runs, which doesn't mean we are going to win but we have a lot more confidence. I'm the same driver I was one month ago, (the team) has just given me a different horse to ride. (Crew chief) Tim Richards has given the team a lot of direction. There is a lot of dedication on this team they have put in some serious hours to get to this place." Bernstein's best qualifying pass on Saturday was when he ran off a 4.578 at 322.11 run in the cooler conditions. "It was a great run for as cold as it was," said Bernstein. "It surprised both Tim and me a little bit, but we hope tomorrow is a little warmer."

Yates collected his first top spot of the season when he drove his Pontiac Grand Am to a pass of 6.933 at 197.83 to lead the 16-car Pro Stock field. It is his first top spot since the 2000 spring event in Houston. He will face Larry Morgan during the first round.

Stanfield used a pass of 7.595 at 178.47 in his Chevy S-10 to set the pace in Pro Stock Truck. Stanfield will meet No. 16 qualifier and fellow S-10 driver Matt Rhoades in the first round.

-NHRA-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Kenny Bernstein , Al Hofmann , Larry Morgan , Matt Rhoades , Greg Stanfield , Tim Richards , Rob Passey