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NHRA: Schumacher, C. Force, Anderson head into Sunday’s Las Vegas finals as No. 1 qualifiers

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NHRA MEDIA RELEASE

LAS VEGAS – Greg Anderson raced to victory in the K&N Horsepower Challenge at the 19th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals on Saturday afternoon at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Anderson’s 6.731-second pass at 205.47 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro bested the defending world champion Bo Butner who red-lit in the final round of the specialty race to secure the $50,000 prize.

Anderson also secured his second No. 1 qualifier of the season with a 6.669 at 206.45 run that stood strong from the weekend’s first round of qualifying on Friday.

“It’s an honor to race for that K&N check, they have been great supporters of this class for years and it definitely gave me a confidence boost heading into race day,” Anderson said. “This is two weeks in a row I’ve gotten a No. 1 qualifying position and I know I have the car, crew chief and team to turn things around.”

He opened the challenge as the No. 1 seed and outran Vincent Nobile and Drew Skillman to advance to the finals. It was Anderson’s seventh career victory and third consecutive in the Pro Stuck bonus event. Anderson is set to take on Joey Grose, Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

In other racing, Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Courtney Force (Funny Car) secured the No. 1 qualifying positions in their respective categories at the fourth of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Schumacher moved into the top spot with his 3.765 run at 328.46 in his U.S. Army dragster during the fourth qualifying session. This is the 86th No. 1 qualifier of his career and second of the season after also locking down the top spot in Phoenix.

“It was warmer out than we expected but the track is better than our grip meter was saying, and we made the run that we expected to in that final pass,” Schumacher said. “I’m comfortable racing with this team and at this track, and we are going to come out and try to win tomorrow against some tough competition.”

Schumacher will face off against Steve Chrisman, Scott Palmer and Terry McMillen in round one of eliminations.

Teammate Antron Brown qualified second in Top Fuel after his 3.772 at 324.83 in his Matco Tools dragster during the second round of qualifying, while defending Top Fuel champion Brittany Force is third headed into Sunday.

In Funny Car, Force took home the top qualifying position after driving to a 3.927 at 326.40 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro during the fourth qualifying round. She locked in her second No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 19th of her career.

“We’ve had some decent passes throughout qualifying, but we kept it on all eight cylinders in that final round and had a much more solid pass,” Force said. “It’s great to be out here at a track where the crew chiefs are really challenged but are able to really show their knowledge over the course of the weekend.”

Force will match up against Jim Campbell, Cruz Pedregon and Jonnie Lindberg when eliminations get underway.

Tommy Johnson Jr. enters Sunday second in Funny Car qualifying with a 3.932 at 318.84 in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T, while J.R. Todd qualified in the third slot.

Eliminations for the 19th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals will begin at noon PT on Sunday, as the four-wide racing experience continues for the first time for fans on the West Coast. Watch the action live on FOX Sports 1 at 6 p.m. ET.

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LAS VEGAS — First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the 19th annual DENSO Spark Plug NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the fourth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

TOP FUEL: 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.765 seconds, 328.46 mph vs. 16. Steven Chrisman, 12.555, 35.31 vs. 8. Scott Palmer, 3.815, 322.73 vs. 9. Terry McMillen, 3.819, 319.52; 2. Antron Brown, 3.772, 324.83 vs. 15. Terry Totten, 4.267, 235.27 vs. 7. Leah Pritchett, 3.798, 323.35 vs. 10. Mike Salinas, 3.820, 308.43; 3. Brittany Force, 3.773, 324.05 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, 4.025, 272.45 vs. 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.786, 320.58 vs. 11. Richie Crampton, 3.829, 313.66; 4. Billy Torrence, 3.776, 325.06 vs. 13. Clay Millican, 3.987, 236.46 vs. 5. Steve Torrence, 3.783, 326.63 vs. 12. Troy Buff, 3.931, 283.37.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.927, 326.40 vs. 16. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.137, 303.03 vs. 8. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.993, 316.23 vs. 9. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.998, 311.05; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.932, 318.84 vs. 15. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.048, 312.93 vs. 7. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.987, 322.96 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.000, 318.02; 3. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.952, 319.67 vs. 14. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.040, 304.87 vs. 6. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.968, 320.51 vs. 11. John Force, Camaro, 4.018, 314.39; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.953, 321.50 vs. 13. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.028, 310.05 vs. 5. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.963, 321.42 vs. 12. Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.021, 306.26.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Diehl, 4.153, 303.91; 18. Jeff Arend, 4.202, 288.83; 19. Bob Bode, 4.244, 239.27; 20. Phil Burkart, 4.260, 288.52.

PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.669, 206.45 vs. 16. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.916, 201.28 vs. 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.718, 204.88 vs. 9. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.721, 204.35; 2. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.681, 205.63 vs. 15. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.844, 202.76 vs. 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.710, 204.94 vs. 10. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.722, 205.51; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.702, 205.32 vs. 14. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.797, 203.25 vs. 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.709, 204.63 vs. 11. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.724, 205.51; 4. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.704, 205.72 vs. 13. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.752, 204.05 vs. 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.705, 205.10 vs. 12. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.734, 205.38.

K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE:

ROUND ONE — Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.724, 205.51 def. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.998, 168.60; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.752, 203.71 def. Jason Line, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.689, 206.20 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.721, 204.35; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.716, 203.52 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.718, 204.57;

SEMIFINALS — Butner, 6.751, 203.16 def. Skillman, 6.769, 204.79; Anderson, 6.749, 204.88 def. Coughlin, 6.795, 202.39;

FINAL — Anderson, 6.731, 205.47 def. Butner, Foul – Red Light.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.