CLERMONT, Ind — The lights went on and the speeds went up. The rumble of the pavement at Lucas Oil Raceway set a blazing hot trail to the top end with the annual Friday night qualifying session for the 66th edition of the Denso Spark Plugs US Nationals. This has become one of the most exhilarating nights on the NHRA circuit as it’s a sight to behold to smell the Nitro fumes and witness cars going at speeds well in excess of 300 mph under the lights.
On Friday night, recent birthday boy Shawn Langdon set the top time of 3.728 ET (313.22 mph). He narrowly topped a class of 11 drivers that all were in the 3.7 ET bracket. He bested the defending champion, Steve Torrence, who went 3.731 ET (325.06 mph). Torrence, just won here last month for the Dodge NHRA Nationals too.
Clay Millican (3.733 ET) chimed in at third while defending US Nationals champion Doug Kalitta (3.726 ET) was one spot behind in fourth. Doug Foley rounded out the top five with a surprise run of 3.756 ET. Foley, was ahead of names like Antron Brown (3.760 ET), Cory McClenathan (3.762 ET), Terry McMillen (3.799 ET), Billy Torrence (3.799 ET) and 10 time Indy champion Tony Schumacher (3.863 ET) who all ended up being 6-7-10-11-12 respectively.
For Funny Car, Ron Capps kept his hot steak going with ending up P1 on Friday night. In the second to last grouping for the Funny Car’s, Capps went 3.895 ET (330.63 mph). He won last months Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals but looking for his first Big Go triumph. He’s off to a great start.
Bob Tasca III drove an electric powered Mustang earlier in the day posted his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang to P2 at 3.895 ET (327.11 mph). His teammate Tim Wilkerson was third at 3.918 ET (322.11 mph) as they took it to the DSR cars with DSR being 1-2-3-4 in the points standings and winning eight straight events dating back to Dallas last Fall.
Matt Hagan (3.977 ET) was fifth in his DSR car while Alexis DeJoria was fourth at 3.932 ET. Hagan, faces teammate Jack Beckman for the rain delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals finals on Saturday. These were the only five to run a sub 4 second ET.
Six-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson wound up P1 after Friday night with a pass of 6.549 ET in his Summit Camaro. A green hat at the end of the day Saturday would be his 105th of his career.
Chris McGaha (6.553 ET) was second to Anderson while Matt Hartford (6.572 ET) was third. The Pro Stocks have some heavy hitters mid pack on back. Defending champion Erica Enders is eighth. Points leader Jeff Coughlin Jr is on the bubble in 16th. Defending US Nationals winner Alex Laughlin was 10th.
There’s two rounds of qualifying on Saturday. Pro Stocks are at 1:35 pm ET and 5:20 pm ET. The Nitro cars are set to go off at 2 pm ET then 6:15 pm ET to set the ladders for Sunday’s final eliminations.