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The latest update as of November 2, 2018

Friday qualifying highlights from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Following up on a pair of time trial sessions on Thursday that saw five dragsters and eight funny cars making runs, it was time to get down to business with the first official qualifying session of the weekend. Facing some thin air (4322' corrected altitude) and warm track temps of 107 F, the racers gave it their best opening shots.

Dan Provost - T/D --- Jirka Kaplan - TA/FC

Before we move into the Top Alcohol portion, here's a shot (LEFT) of Abbotsford, BC's Dan Provost, one of the serious challengers in Top Dragster with his RAD Torque Systems car, leaving with the wheels up enroute to a 6.76 - 201.43 clocking. While it placed him well down the qualifying list in the 64-car field (#40) it's consistency that counts in that category as it's essentially a very fast bracket race. (RIGHT) It's Calgary's Jirka Kaplan burning out prior to his great opening 5.530 - 263.77 pass that put him into the top spot.... temporarily

Steve Gasparelli - TA/FC --- Ulf Leanders - TA/FC

Running alongside Kaplan in that pair was (LEFT) Steve Gasparelli who trailed at 5.630 - 256.60, still good enough to pull in behind him on the qualifying list. But Gasparelli didn't stay in the #2 spot long as in the next pair, Sweden's Ulf Leanders cranked out a very good 5.531 - 265.59 to take over the spot

Steve Burck - TA/FC --- Ray Martin - TA/FC

Running beside Leanders was (LEFT) Texan Steve Burck who bumped everyone down a notch with a fine 5.516 - 264.08. In the next pair Ray Martin (RIGHT) in his Alaska-based "International Incident" (there's got to be a story in that name), put down a solid opening effort of 5.590 - 258.47 to drop into the #5 spot

Chris Marshall - TA/FC --- Shane Westerfield - TA/FC

(LEFT) Seemingly coming out of nowhere (actually Mcminville, Oregon) just three years ago, Chris Marshall has rocketed to near the top of the class in Top Alcohol Funny Car, culminating in his first national event win at Seattle in August of this year. That event saw him top qualify (5.451), then mow down a very tough field with a series of 5.45 - 5.47 runs to take the trophy. Today's effort (5.514 - 266.64) was a little slower but still put him in the provisional #2 slot

(RIGHT) His final round opponent from that Seattle race (and 2017 world champion) Shane Westerfield ran in the final pair of the session and carded a very good 5.543 - 267.11 that was only good enough for the 7th spot in what was rapidly becoming a very tight field

Mike Burns - A/FD --- Matt Sackman - A/FD

Making what might be his first competition pass in "The Bull" A/Fuel Dragster, Mike Burns (LEFT) cranks out a career best e.t and speed at 5.413 - 272.56 to kick things off and take the top spot... at least until the first pair go down the track. Another racer without much seat time in an A/FD, Matt Sackman (RIGHT) laid down a better 5.356 - 271.73 to knock Burns down to #3 on the list

Johnny Ahten - A/FD --- Fred Hanssen - B/AD

Helping drop Mike Burns down was (LEFT) Johnny Ahten as he took over the top rung with a 5.308 - 268.06 to open his event account. The first of four blown alky dragsters came up next (RIGHT) and Norwegian Fred Hanssen ran into trouble early and clicked it off to an 11-second pass

Jackie Fricke - A/FD --- Duane Shields - A/FD

The next pair featured two A/Fuel cars, both in the Top Ten in the national standings, as (LEFT) Jackie Fricke put down a best (so far) of 5.265 - 268.87 to grab the #1 spot, while Duane Shields (RIGHT) trailed her at 5.366 - 271.19 to land in the #4 position

Joey Severance - B/AD --- Shawn Cowie - B/AD

Saving the best for last, the top two blown alcohol dragsters in the country (and #1 & #2 in the world championship standings), faced off yet again. On the (LEFT) Joey Severance put down a very good 5.247 - 276.41 to move everyone down a notch, except for (LEFT) Shawn Cowie who aced him at the finish line with an even better 5.226 - 276.29 to take the #1 spot after the first round of qualifying