Todd, Hagan and Line secure No. 1 qualifiers.
Las Vegas – Erica Enders-Stevens won the $50,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge for the second consecutive year on Saturday during the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
J.R. Todd (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) all carried their Friday qualifying bests into Saturday and secured No. 1 qualifying positions at the fifth of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Enders-Stevens, the reigning Pro Stock world champion, ran a 6.650-second pass at 208.01 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro to beat Vincent Nobile’s 6.694 at 207.62 in his Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro during the eight car Pro Stock bonus event.
“It was very exciting,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’re so appreciative of K&N and Toyota for the support they give our class of Pro Stock. It’s huge for us. My guys did a really great job. They kept their heads together in the pit and that’s what it’s all about – getting it done when you need to. I am very excited and just thankful.”
In Top Fuel, Todd used his Friday best of 3.758 at 324.83 in his Red Line Oil/Kalitta Air dragster to lead his field into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations. This is Todd’s second consecutive No. 1 qualifier of the season after racing to his first two weeks ago in Charlotte, N.C.
“We were a little aggressive both runs but our early numbers were good,” Todd said. “Hopefully we’ll make four solid runs tomorrow.”
Todd now has eight-career No. 1s, and this is his first at The Strip at Las Vegas. Todd, the runner-up at this event one year ago, will face Steve Faria in the first round on race day.
Eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher’s 3.779 at 325.45 in his U.S. Army dragster on Friday was enough to earn him a second place starting spot. Schumacher will race three-time world champ Larry Dixon, who qualified 15th.
Shawn Langdon, who recorded a 3.782 at 315.93 in his Knuckle Sandwich/AJPE dragster, sits in the No. 3 spot and Steve Torrence qualified fourth in his Capco Contractors dragster.
In Funny Car, Hagan earned his 19th career No. 1 qualifier by posting a 4.007 at 318.02 in his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger in the second session of qualifying on Friday. No one was able to post a quicker run on Saturday.
“We’ve got a great race car,” Hagan said. “I think we have a really great shot at coming out here tomorrow and doing big things. Going down both lanes and putting down big numbers for the conditions. I want to go after it. I think everybody wanted to see a three out there. We were able to come out and run good here. I’ve never won this race and I’m really looking forward to trying to do that tomorrow.”
Hagan, the defending world champ, has now earned two top qualifying positions this season. He also has two victories this season and was the runner-up at this event in 2009. He will race veteran driver Jeff Arend in the opening round of eliminations.
Recent Four-Wide Nationals winner Jack Beckman qualified second with a 4.014 at 315.64 at the controls of his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger and will face Cruz Pedregon in the first round. Tommy Johnson Jr. will start third in his Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger with a 4.020 at 313.07 and will race Gary Densham in the opener.
Defending event winner Alexis DeJoria qualified fourth and was followed by Del Worsham, Tim Wilkerson, Ron Capps and John Force.
In Pro Stock, Line took the top qualifying honor with a 6.606-second run at 208.75 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro during the final pair on Friday. Line, now with 39 career No. 1 qualifiers, was the 2014 runner-up at this event and has one win this season, which came in the season-opener at Pomona.
“The race track got hotter so there was no danger of anybody going faster than that,” Line said. “It was a nice run and my car is really good right now so I’m excited about tomorrow.”
Defending event winner Enders-Stevens qualified second with a performance of 6.617 at 208.94. She will battle Matt Hartford in the first round as she pursues her second straight sweep at this event.
Line’s teammate, Greg Anderson, qualified third by recording a 6.621 at 208.81 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro and will line up against Jonathan Gray. Chris McGaha qualified fourth in his Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro and will race Deric Kramer in round one.
Top Fuel -- 1. J.R. Todd, 3.758 seconds, 324.83 mph vs. 16. Steve Faria, 4.036, 243.72; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.779, 325.45 vs. 15. Larry Dixon, 3.952, 300.86; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.782, 316.01 vs. 14. Antron Brown, 3.916, 313.22; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.783, 323.89 vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.902, 312.64; 5. Richie Crampton, 3.787, 321.12 vs. 12. Troy Buff, 3.879, 307.02; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.793, 317.94 vs. 11. Spencer Massey, 3.867, 323.43; 7. Brittany Force, 3.801, 310.77 vs. 10. Clay Millican, 3.847, 315.86; 8. Dom Lagana, 3.805, 300.66 vs. 9. Dave Connolly, 3.817, 320.66. Did Not Qualify: 17. Jenna Haddock, 4.110, 295.66; 18. Steven Chrisman, 4.617, 214.62.
Funny Car -- 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.007, 318.02 vs. 16. Jeff Arend, Charger, 5.090, 162.35; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.014, 315.64 vs. 15. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.393, 295.27; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.020, 313.07 vs. 14. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 4.296, 290.76; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.037, 308.78 vs. 13. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.236, 297.16; 5. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.048, 316.52 vs. 12. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.129, 303.98; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.065, 314.31 vs. 11. John Hale, Charger, 4.091, 311.92; 7. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.075, 316.15 vs. 10. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.091, 314.97; 8. John Force, Camaro, 4.086, 317.19 vs. 9. Chad Head, Camry, 4.090, 303.84. Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, broke.
Pro Stock -- 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.606, 208.75 vs. 16. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.794, 203.46; 2. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.617, 208.94 vs. 15. Matt Hartford, Pontiac GXP, 6.768, 204.85; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.621, 208.84 vs. 14. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.695, 207.88; 4. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.624, 208.36 vs. 13. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.691, 206.51; 5. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.630, 208.49 vs. 12. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.690, 207.50; 6. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.631, 208.71 vs. 11. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.682, 207.98; 7. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.641, 208.30 vs. 10. Jimmy Alund, GXP, 6.647, 208.07; 8. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.645, 208.59 vs. 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.647, 208.36. Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Isbell, 6.825, 203.00.