Four races into the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, three names just seem to stand out from the crowd: Lucas, Hight and Line.
These three drivers just seem to have it on the cam--far more than anyone else.
Morgan Lucas nabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot in Top Fuel for the third time in four races this year with his Friday night 3.817-second pass down The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, good for 321.96 mph in his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster.
After making it down the hot and windy 1,000-foot dragstrip in each session, the most recent winner said, " That last run today, it was just a good example of consistency and that's what we were trying to do. We keep trying new things to see exactly what the car is going to do, and it seems to be responding real well. I've never had back to back wins in Top Fuel; it would be an awesome feeling to know you've had that consistent of a car for that long of a time."
With 18 Top Fuel cars on the grounds, Damien Harris and Cory McClenathan didn't make the show. The top half of the field behind Lucas are Spencer Massey, Clay Millican, Tony Schumacher Shawn Langdon, Bob Vandergriff, Khalid alBalooshi and Doug Kalitta.
Robert Hight, too, is on a roll in his John Force Racing Auto ClubFord Mustang, overcoming these hot and windy conditions to hold onto the No. 1 spot--his second of 2012 and 41st overall--by kicking in a pass of 4.132 seconds at 310.41 mph to take his sixth No. 1 at this track. "I think it's supposed to be a little cooler tomorrow so it's going to be exciting. You're going to see a lot of runs at the finish line that you're going to need that instant replay camera to tell who won," he predicted.
The Funny Car top-half behind Hight includes Bob Tasca III, who missed gaining top spot by two thousandths of a second, Jack Beckman, rookie Courtney Force, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon, Mike Neff and Gary Densham. Those not qualifying are both Jon and Ron Capps, Todd Lesenko, Jim Head, Jeff Diehl and James Day, for a total of 22 Funny Car entries, a health field.
Greg Stanfield's new Camaro - courtesy Greg StanfieldEnlarge Photo
In Pro Stock, Jason Line did the deed in team owner Ken Black's hometown with his Friday run of 6.659 at 207.34 in the Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GXP--likely the car's final dance before the team brings out its Chevrolet Camaro. Greg Stanfield received his Camaro body last week and brought it to Las Vegas, making the field in 12th place for the body's first time on track. Line, who tunes teammate Greg Anderson's car noted that "we're struggling with Greg's car right now but we hope to have it straightened out by tomorrow."
He was surprised Mike Edwards didn't take No. 1 as the 2009 champ won both races here last year and holds both ends of the Pro Stock track record in his GXP. Edwards starts second, with Allen Johnson (Avenger), Ron Krisher (GXP), Rodger Brogdon (GXP), Anderson, Ronnie Humphrey (GXP) and Vincent Nobile in an Avenger making up the top half of the field. Steve Kent and Gordie Rivera failed to qualify.
The 13th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals start at 11AM PDT on Sunday. Weather conditions are supposed to change dramatically from hot and windy to cool and breezy, which takes the onus to crew chiefs--and that's the kind of challenge they love.