The final day of qualifying at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway didn't see much moving around at the top in Top Fuel or Pro Stock, but in Funny Car the quickest car didn't make its move until the final session.
Reigning Funny Car champ John Force continued his domination of Sin City when he took his Castol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to the top of the pack at the end of the day. Force ran a 4.136-second pass at 309.27 mph straight down the track.
Force said he really didn't think it was going to hold up because his teammates Mike Neff and Robert Hight were yet to run.
"We were just trying to run what we thought the track would hold," Force said. "There were still great cars behind us, they just pushed it a little too hard so it stuck for us."
The 15-time champ has had a lot of success at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, winning both races during the 2010 season. The last time Force lost a round at The Strip was to his teammate Hight at the Fall race in 2009.
Force will be paired up with Bob Bode and his Alard Machine Products Chevy Impala in Round 1 on Sunday. Bode beat Force last year season en route to his first career victory.
"Bode is a good kid," Force said. "He knows how to race, real savvy. We're just going to look at his numbers and try and run a little bit quicker than he did."
Current Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon will be starting from a place he was very comfortable all last season, the pole. The Al-Anabi Racing rail ran a 3.904-second pass at 312.78 mph during the heat of the day on Friday afternoon and it held up all through Saturday qualifying.
"I'm really surprised my run stuck for No. 1," Dixon said. "I really thought some of the cars, especially Del's, that would actually knock my run off."
Dixon has won this event four times in his career and five times overall at The Strip. The conditions for race day are supposed to be the best of the weekend, but that doesn't change Dixon's attitude or expectations.
"Honestly for me, my job is the same no matter the weather," Dixon said. "We just have to go out there try real hard and know that the Al-Anabi team is going to do their best to give me a great race horse."
This is Dixon's second pole of the season but he hasn't managed to take his Al-Anabi rail to victory yet this season. The veteran driver isn't worried about it though.
"We're going to do our best to try and get into the Winner's Circle, just like everyone else out there tomorrow," Dixon said. "I have a great car and we'll do our best to try and win here tomorrow."
Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards drove his Penhall Pontiac GXP right to the No. 1 spot with a great run of 6.695 seconds at 206.51 mph. Edwards laid down that stellar run during the team's third qualifying attempt.
"Hats off to my guys, we really needed this," Edwards said. "We struggled the first couple races so starting off on the pole is big for us. We had four really good runs too."
The 2009 Full Throttle champion was the only Pro Stocker to dip into the 6.6-second range during the weekend's qualifying efforts. Consistency was key for Edwards all weekend never running slower than 6.713 seconds.
"We've ran well in the past and we came here to do that again," Edwards said. "It should be outstanding tomorrow since it'll be cooler. Conditions are so important so the fans will get a great show."
Edwards is matched up against Richard Freeman and his RaceAuction.com Pontiac GXP in the first round of eliminations. Freeman's best run of the weekend was a 6.779 at 204.14 MPH, which he laid down during his final qualifying shot on Saturday.
Eliminations for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals begin at 11 a.m. Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Top Fuel -- 1. Larry Dixon, 3.904 seconds, 312.78 mph vs. 16. Steve Torrence, 4.183, 283.49; 2. Brandon Bernstein, 3.926, 305.01 vs. 15. Steve Faria, 4.159, 268.92; 3. Del Worsham, 3.938, 305.42 vs. 14. Steven Chrisman, 4.133, 285.47; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.939, 314.75 vs. 13. Troy Buff, 4.032, 288.33; 5. Antron Brown, 3.939, 311.34 vs. 12. Morgan Lucas, 4.017, 266.69; 6. Spencer Massey, 3.945, 309.70 vs. 11. Shawn Langdon, 3.985, 297.81; 7. David Grubnic, 3.947, 306.05 vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.982, 302.75; 8. Bob Vandergriff, 3.950, 315.12 vs. 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.968, 312.28. Did Not Qualify: 17. Ron August, 4.211, 230.72; 18. Terry Sainty, 4.274, 261.22; 19. Mike Strasburg, DQ.
Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.136, 309.27 vs. 16. Bob Bode, Chevy Impala SS, 4.350, 285.89; 2. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Solara, 4.145, 306.19 vs. 15. Gary Densham, Dodge Charger, 4.314, 284.69; 3. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.146, 309.56 vs. 14. Jim Head, Solara, 4.302, 288.46; 4. Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.153, 306.46 vs. 13. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.267, 292.52; 5. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.180, 298.73 vs. 12. Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.254, 284.15; 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.189, 298.34 vs. 11. Paul Lee, Impala SS, 4.224, 295.34; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.196, 295.21 vs. 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.223, 297.35; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.202, 294.63 vs. 9. Tony Pedregon, Impala SS, 4.211, 300.13. Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Diehl, 4.359, 283.97; 18. Melanie Troxel, 4.404, 229.63; 19. Grant Downing, 4.415, 243.94; 20. Brian Thiel, 4.420, 279.21; 21. Terry Haddock, 4.615, 273.11.
Pro Stock -- 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.695, 206.51 vs. 16. Richard Freeman, GXP, 6.779, 204.14; 2. Jason Line, GXP, 6.707, 205.47 vs. 15. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.762, 205.35; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.711, 206.07 vs. 14. Kurt Johnson, GXP, 6.758, 204.32; 4. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.711, 205.91 vs. 13. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.755, 205.79; 5. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.721, 205.72 vs. 12. Shane Gray, GXP, 6.737, 205.54; 6. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.723, 205.88 vs. 11. Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.735, 205.19; 7. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.727, 205.47 vs. 10. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.730, 205.22; 8. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.729, 205.69 vs. 9. Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.730, 205.41. Did Not Qualify: 17. Buddy Perkinson, 6.783, 203.37.