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The latest update as of November 15, 2022

57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals logo

Saturday Qualifying Photos

Leading off our Saturday coverage is the third qualifying session for Top Fuel. Friday's two rounds saw all 18 cars on the property make at least one qualifying attempt, but the bump spot going into the final two sessions was a somewhat mediocre 4.422 e.t. However, the top ten cars were in at 3.718, or better, and even the #13 car was in the 3.70's. The non-qualifiers at this point were the "usual suspects" with Cameron Ferre (in the Terry Haddock car), and Steve Chrisman (in the Worsham Family car), sitting on the outside.

TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #3

Maurice DuPont --- Ron August Jr.

(LEFT) Leading off the session was the bubble holder, Maurice "Wicked Mo" DuPont, who was making his return to Top Fuel after a 30-year absence. With some serious backing from ex-Middleweight Boxing Champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., the "Money Team" was looking to make a statement this weekend. There was some good, and some bad for Maurice as he improved slightly to a 4.199 - 231.75, that saw the engine expire with a flash of flames just before the finish line.

(RIGHT) On the other hand, everything worked well for Ron August Jr. as he picked up nearly a quarter second from Friday's best of 4.113 - 269.56. The numbers this time, 3.886 - 315.71, were a career best elapsed time. However, that still left him in the #15 position on the ladder. With roving crew chief Tony Shortall tuning the car, it looks like they're creeping up on a competitive tune-up.

Steve Chrisman --- Alex Laughlin

(LEFT) After a year-long layoff, Steve Chrisman shut off very early to a 7-second time on his first pass yesterday, then laid down a career best e.t. and speed run at 3.894 - 311.70. Making it happen for Chrisman were the Worsham Family, with Chuck calling the shots along with lots of help from Del and what appeared to be half the crew from Alexis DeJoria's team.

(RIGHT) Hoping to improve on his early shutoff 3.79 pass on Friday, Alex Laughlin lost traction early in one of the Scott Palmer cars and shut off to a 9-second pass to stay in the #13 spot on the qualifying list.

Josh Hart --- Shawn Langdon

(LEFT) Improving his e.t. by four thousandths from Friday, Josh Hart picked up two spots on the ladder, to #8, with a great 3.714 - 330.63 effort. Interestingly, his speed dropped from his first session 335.07 number that had to be nearly a career best.

(RIGHT) Following his Friday best of 3.751, Shawn Langdon lost the grip early and clicked it off to a 6-second pass. That dropped him one spot to #12 on the ladder.

Tony Schumacher --- Tony Schumacher

With a new ARMY-look camouflage wrap, bannering "A Solider's Child Foundation", driver Tony Schumacher jumped up the list six spots (from #12 to #6) with a great 3.701 - 331.77 effort. It was nearly his quickest pass of the entire season.

Antron Brown --- Krista Baldwin

(LEFT) Improving just a thousandth from Friday, Antron Brown, was able to move up one spot to #9 with an excellent 3.705-331.04 pass.

(RIGHT) Sporting a "retro" paint scheme commemorating her late father, Bobby Baldwin, third-generation TF racer Krista Baldwin didn't quite match her Friday best with a good 3.874 - 293.92 pass as she shut off a little early/

Doug Kalitta --- Clay Millican

(LEFT) After his best run of the season in Friday's second qualifier, Doug Kalitta hazed the tires early and shut down to a 4.541 - 164.37 time. That left him in the #5 spot, courtesy of his Friday 3.699 - 328.94 effort.

(RIGHT) Trying to move into the fast half of the field, Clay Millican laid down a very good 3.705 - 331.04 to move into the #8 spot. It was only a one hundredth of a second improvement but it moved him up three notches on the ladder. Tight qualifying show, eh?

Mike Salinas --- Steve Torrence

(LEFT) Showing that conditions were definitely good enough to run quickly, Mike Salinas ran low e.t. (so far) of the round with a strong 3.673 - 333.91 that slightly improved on his Friday clocking of 3.679. It didn't move him up on the charts, but solidified his hold on the #4 rung on the ladder.

(RIGHT) The four-time defending TF champion, Steve Torrence was still mathematically in the hunt and sitting #2 on the ladder coming into the session, but slipped back a little in performance with a "merely" great 3.704 - 331.61 run.

Brittany Force

After running the fastest speed ever recorded in Top Fuel history, Brittany Force was certainly going to have trouble topping that performance, but she gave it a very good shot, lighting up the scoreboards with the quickest and fastest run of the session at 3.664 - 336.99 to show her competitors that the "Monster Energy" team was going all out for the championship.

FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3

Steven Densham --- Jeff Arend

(LEFT) After two forgettable efforts yesterday, Steven Densham pushed the family hot rod into the 3-second zone for the first time this season, and moved from outside the qualified field to the #13 spot with a solid 3.993 - 287.05 pass. Despite shutting off a little early, the e.t. was a season best for the father and son team.

(RIGHT) The ultimate long-distance partnership is featured here, as Canadian Jeff Arend is driving for the Australian duo of Peter & Helen Russo, in a car that's based in the U.S.A. They've only run at three events this year coming into Pomona, but they've been working on a low 4-second tuneup and turned their best numbers of the season yesterday at 4.067 - 306.40 to stake a spot in the field and ran even better in this session with a 4.057 - 313.44, but fell back a spot to #14 on the ladder.

Terry Haddock --- Paul Lee

(LEFT) With some much-needed help from the "Sierra Group" (auto dealerships), and a sharp new look, Terry Haddock came out for his second qualifying attempt of the weekend. His one pass on Friday resulted in a "no time recorded" as opponent Steven Densham wiped out the timing blocks and negated Haddock's tire-smoking effort.

(RIGHT) With tire smoke trailing him all the way back to the waterbox, this must be Paul Lee's burnout. The run that followed looked almost identical, with the tires blazing instantly on the launch. The resulting 12-second e.t. didn't compare well to Friday's solid 3.991 - 318.92 #12 qualifying effort.

Blake Alexander --- Ron Capps

(LEFT) Coming into the session sitting #9 in the field, Blake Alexander wanted to pick up a little e.t. and move into the fast half of the field. The Jim Head-tuned entry looked good for a few hundred feet before starting to spin the tires, forcing Blake to shut off to a 4.186 - 238.43 clocking.

(RIGHT) After a terrible Friday, with a "best" of 4.897 that left him in the #17 spot, and not qualified, Ron Capps jumped up in a big way, moving all the way up the charts to the #4 spot with a strong 3.864 - 334.15. Still hoping to catch points leader Robert Hight, that run was critical to his team's chances to overtake Hight for the championship.

Tim Wilkerson --- Alexis DeJoria

(LEFT) Following a great pair of Friday performances (3.894 and 3.882), Tim Wilkerson looked to maintain his hold on the seventh spot on the ladder, and came close with a very consistent 3.892 - 331.36 set of numbers. Three straight runs in the 3.80's, and over 330 mph was a great start to his weekend.

(RIGHT) Running alongside Wilkerson, Alexis DeJoria didn't fare quite as well as Wilk, despite being ahead at the 660' mark, as she "slowed" to a 3.913 at "only" 300.20 mph. She managed to hang on to the #8 spot on the list going into the last session.

Jason Rupert --- Bob Tasca III

(LEFT) It's Jason Rupert's burnout shot, but trying to sneak into the frame is his opponent in this round, Robert Hight. Rupert was trying to improve on the 4.159 - 246.84 that he ran on Friday, but the tires started smoking early and he was off the throttle and coasting to a 9-second pass. That left him on the bump spot going into the final qualifying session.

(RIGHT) Coming on strong after back-to-back semifinal finishes at Dallas and Las Vegas, Bob Tasca III ran just a few hundredths slower than his Friday best of 3.856, but still clocked an excellent 3.875 - 325.85 to hold on to the #4 spot on the list.

Cruz Pedregon --- John Force

(LEFT) Laying down a career best in his first run on Friday (3.840), and backing it up with a 3.849, Cruz Pedregon was really enjoying the performance boost that he credits to the installation of a six-disc clutch. He kept up the pace on this run, with a 3.847 - 323.43 ringing up on the scoreboards as he firmly put his stamp on the top qualifying spot.

(RIGHT) The G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) Funny Car racer, John Force is still a "force" (sorry for the very bad pun) in the sport as he can run with the quickest cars in the class, and came into Pomona fourth in the points standings. On this run he was on pace to nearly equal his Friday best of 3.864, but he started heading for the centerline on the top end, forcing him to click it early to a pass.

Matt Hagan --- Christina Gordon

(LEFT) Running alongside Force in the last pair of the session, Matt "Hulk" Hagan was still in contention for the world championship, and sitting in a good spot (#2) in the field. He ran a little slower (3.867) and a little faster (326.56) than Friday, but the consistency was encouraging to the team.

(RIGHT) A euphoric Christina Gordon is celebrating her team's second World Championship in Top Alcohol Funny Car after seeing challenger Shane Westerfield redlight away his chance to catch Doug Gordon in the championship chase.

PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #4 (FINAL)

Going into the final qualifying session, there were just two cars on the outside of the very tightly bunched field. In fact, 15 of the 16 cars in the field were in the 6.50's, ranging from Troy Coughlin Jr.'s leading 6.508, down to Chris McGaha's #15 6.573 e.t. That was a spread of just six hundredths of a second. Holding down the bump spot was transplanted Aussie Shane Tucker with a 6.605, followed by #17 Alan Prusiensky, just a fraction behind at 6.609, and at the bottom of the list, Kenny Delco, trailing with a best of 6.653. The session opened with Prusiensky and Delco paired off, both trying to find enough horsepower to bump into the Sunday show.

Alan Prusiensky --- Alan Prusiensky

In that first pair, Alan Prusiensky tried hard, with a solid, but slower, 6.623 - 207.50, that fell less than two hundredths short of making the field. In the other lane (not shown), Kenny Delco made his best run of the weekend, but his 6.625 - 208.80 was similarly short of qualifying. This pair finalized the competitors, but it remained to be seen where everyone would end up on the ladder.

Fernando Caudra --- Fernando Caudra

Already qualified in the #14 spot, Fernando Caudra was looking to move up the ladder, but his 6.577 - 209.65 wasn't quicker than his earlier 6.565 pass. Running alongside him was Shane Tucker (not shown), who picked up four thousandths and moved the bump spot down to 6.601, making it almost an entire 6.5-second field.

Matt Hartford --- Matt Hartford

Since Pro Stock cars are easily affected by atmospheric changes, this final session wasn't expected to show many, if any, e.t. or mph improvments. Following that logic it wasn't surprising to see Matt Hartford run slower than his earlier best of 6.556, but his 6.580 - 209.14 wasn't far off the earlier clocking.

Chris McGaha --- Camrie Caruso

(LEFT) Running in the same pairing as Hartford, Chris McGaha was likewise two hundredths slower, but picked up some mph, as did Hartford. McGaha's final qualifying effort was 6.595 - 208.94 as he stayed in the #15 spot.

(RIGHT) The 2022 NHRA Rookie of The Year, Camrie Caruso nearly matched her #13 qualifying e.t., running just two thousandths slower, as the clocks stopped at 65.50 - 210.37 on her run.

Fernando Caudra Jr. --- Fernando Caudra Jr.

Another racer with a close, but not better pass, Fernando Caudra Jr. was unable to elevate his qualifying position from #9, after his 6.561 - 209.26 was two hundredths slower than the #8 qualifying 6.541 elapsed time.

Erica Enders --- Cristian Caudra

(LEFT) Coming into this final session, Erica Enders was sitting in a very unfamiliar qualifying position, all the way down the ladder in the #8 spot. She did manage to improve, by one thousandth on this run, to a 6.540 - 210.60, but her position wasn't safe, with a few lower qualified cars waiting in the lanes.

(RIGHT) There was no improvment for the #11 qualifier, Cristian Caudra as his 6.577 - 209.85 was a few hundredths slower than his best (6.553) run in earlier qualifying.

Bo Butner III --- Bo Butner III

Firmly ensconced in the top half of the field in the #7 slot, Bo Butner III ran a little faster (210.42), but not quicker, as his 6.533 was five thousandths slower than his previous best.

Kyle Koretsky --- Aaron Stanfield

(LEFT) Another racer that stayed in his previous position (#6), Kyle Koretsky put down a solid 6.537 - 209.59 pass on his final attempt.

(RIGHT) Coming into the session in the #4 spot on the list, Aaron Stanfield stayed there despite a slower 6.551 - 210.01 time. His earlier best of 6.524 was right in the ballpark of the top cars this weekend though.

Deric Kramer --- Deric Kramer

Looking very different in his retro "Hiner & Miller" (old Pro Stock team) wrap, Deric Kramer fell off subtantially on his final qualifer, but an earlier 6.526 - 200.20 kept him in the #5 spot on the ladder.

Greg Anderson --- Greg Anderson

After a first round loss at the previous race (Las Vegas), Greg Anderson was definitely on the rebound with a 6.509 best during qualifying here. It was just .001 slower than Troy Coughlin Jr.'s top qualifying effort. On his final qualifier, Anderson launched hard but encountered some serious tire shake early and shut off to an 8-second clocking.

Troy Coughlin Jr. --- Troy Coughlin Jr.

Sitting at the top of the qualifying sheet, Troy Coughlin Jr. wasn't able to break into 6.40's, but he still had the quickest run of the final session, nearly two hundredths quicker than Mason McGaha's second-best effort. Coughlin's timelsip read 6.512 - 211.06, which was the fastest speed of the meet and nearly low e.t. as his earlier 6.508 was the quickest.

Dallas Glenn

Finishing off qualifying for Pro Stock, last year's NHRA Rookie of The Year, Dallas Glenn slowed a few hundredths but still maintained his #3 position on the ladder with a solid 6.544 - 209.95 on this pass.

TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #4 (FINAL)

The math coming into this final session was simple: 18 cars, 16 spots. Holding down the bump spot was veteran Steve Chrisman with a career best 3.894 - 311.70. The two non-qualifed racers, Cameron Ferre, and Maurice DuPont were at the head of the staging lanes and ready to give it their best shots at breaking into what had become a fairly tough field. Interestingly, Chrisman didn't came up to defend his spot.

Cameron Ferre --- Alex Laughlin

(LEFT) Sitting at the bottom of the list with a 5.112 "best", Cameron Ferre was basically dead in the water (so to speak) when the car launched with a fuel line undone on top of the engine and he was forced to shut off with 4.409 coming up on the boards. Seeing that they were safely qualified, Ron August Jr. (#15) and Krista Baldwin (#14) pulled out of line and returned to the pits.

(RIGHT) Hoping to improve his earlier 3.796 pass, Alex Laughlin wheeled the Havoline-sponsored, Scott Palmer-owned car to his best run of the event, with a solid 3.773 - 319.14. A very good run for the team but it still left him in the #13 position. However, three out of his four qualifying passes were in the 3.70's, showing some serious consistency.

Tony Schumacher --- Antron Brown

(LEFT) Sitting in the fast half of the field (#6), Tony Schumacher wanted to stay there, but fell back one spot after spinning the tires early enroute to a 6.129 - 98.72 pass. Bumping him back was his opponent, and ex-teammate, Antron Brown.

(RIGHT) Coming into the final session well down the list in the #11 spot, despite a very good 3.714 e.t., Antron Brown stepped up big time with the first 3.60 of the round, clocking in at 3.696 - 329.26 to vault to the #5 spot and first round lane choice.

Shawn Langdon --- Doug Kalitta

(LEFT) Coming to the end of what had to be a frustrating season, Shawn Langdon hoped to elevate his qualifying position to the upper half of the list, but that would take a run under 3.70. With a best of 3.751 - 324.59 under his belt, Langdon was consistent, but not quicker, with a 3.759 - 324.83 to stay in the #12 spot going into eliminations.

(RIGHT) Another racer who has had a forgettable season, Doug Kalitta punched out his second 3.60 of the event, with his 3.693 - 329.42 elevating him one spot on the ladder to #5, and bumping Antron Brown down a rung on the ladder.

Mike Salinas --- Clay Millican

(LEFT) He came into the countdown in second place in the standings, but since then, Mike Salinas has seen his placing slide down to fifth before a slight rebound to the #3 spot after a runner-up finish at Las Vegas. Sitting in the #4 position in the field with a 3.673 best, he moved up one spot on this run with a quickest of the session - so far - 3.666 - 331.45 to keep himself in the championship chase.

(RIGHT) Running in the lane next to Salinas was Clay Millican, who wanted to join the "60" club, but fell just short with a 3.721 - 312.78 pass that ended with a head gasket failure that slowed him on the top end. That kept him in the #9 spot with his earlier 3.705 - 331.04 best.

Steve Torrence --- Brittany Force

(LEFT) Even though he wasn't quite out of the championship chase, at least mathematically, Steve Torrence and his CAPCO team weren't giving up their title hopes without a fight. They proved it here with a best of the round 3.647 - 332.10 that kept him in the #2 spot and backed up and improved on their earlier 3.656 effort.

(RIGHT) Running in the last pair of the session, as she has done so many times this year (and throughout her career) Brittany Force was expected to "swing for the fences" on this run. She didn't quite hit the proverbial home run but backed up her earlier low qualifying numbers of 3.641 - 338.94 with an excellent 3.659 - 333.91 to finish qualifying. That made a string of 3.64, 3.66 and 3.65 runs in qualifying, easily the most consistent of any Top Fuel car.

FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #4 (FINAL)

The situation facing the Funny Car contingent was similar to that of Top Fuel. 18 cars, 16 spots, and the first pair out of the staging lanes were the two non-qualified car. Bobby Bode III and Terry Haddock were the racers under the gun to qualify. The bump spot, 4.159 was held down by Jason Rupert who was in line, ready to run, paired up with #14 Steven Densham ready to run if they had to.

Bobby Bode III --- Terry Haddock

(LEFT) Of the two cars on the outside, Bobby Bode III had the best chance to make the show on Sunday, as he had a string of 3-second times under his belt. The car left hard on his last chance run, but just before half track, lit up big-time and slowed to a 4.340 - 208.78, that left him at the bottom of the list and not qualified.

(RIGHT) Running beside Bode was perennial hard-trier Terry Haddock and he gave it a full effort, keeping the candles lit all the way to the finish line, but falling well short of the bump spot with his 4.264 - 275.79 clocking.

Jason Rupert --- Chad Green

(LEFT) There was a long wait for Jason Rupert in the staging lanes after Bode's fiery and oily pass, and while he was waiting, Steven Densham pulled out of the lanes and returned to the pits, with his position in the field safe. When the track was cleaned up and ready to run on, Rupert laid down a career best e.t. and speed at 4.030 - 313.44 to move up one spot on the ladder to the #15 position. With Johnny West helping on the tuneup, the car is making some solid progress.

(RIGHT) With the track almost fully dark, Chad Green was scheduled to run beside Jim Campbell but the lower-budget Jim Dunn elected to save the parts and fuel for tomorrow's eliminations and pulled out of line. Green wasn't able to improve on his earlier 3.95 best, but his 4.018 - 312.78 was close enough to show some consistency heading into eliminations. But he was starting from the #13 spot on Sunday and facing a really quick and fast opponent.

Paul Lee --- Paul Lee

It's been a tough season for Paul Lee, with crew chief and crew changes, and not a single round win until mid-season at Topeka's Heartland Nationals. Then another long dry spell until his second round win of the season at Dallas. Only attending 15 of 22 races on the schedule must have played a part in the team never really getting on top of the tuneup. Things turned around here with a solid 3.991 - 318.92 and a 3.942 - 328.22 in this final qualifying session. That moved them up one spot to #12 on the ladder.

Alexis DeJoria --- J.R. Todd

(LEFT) Sitting just on the outside of the top half of the field, Alexis DeJoria and her crew chief Del Worsham were looking to take advantage of the cool track and air conditions. They did just that with an excellent 3.862 - 333.00 to move up three spots to #6. Her e.t. was a career best by one thousandth and the speed was just a few hundredths of a mph short of a career best in that department.

(RIGHT) After DeJoria bumped him down one spot, J.R. Todd was under the gun to get back in the fast half, but he lit up the tires before the 330' mark, forcing him to shut off to a 6-second, 98 mph timeslip. That left him in the #9 spot and a first round matchup with Tim Wilkerson on Sunday morning.

Matt Hagan --- John Force

(LEFT) Sitting in the #2 qualifying position, and hungry for every point he can gain, Matt Hagan had the car loaded for bear in this final session. The car left hard but just before half track, the engine went BOOM and slowed him to a 4.057 - 245.32 clocking.

(RIGHT) In the other lane, John Force smoked the tires before the 330' mark and coasted through at 7.671 - 84.34, leaving him in the "lucky" #7 spot on the final qualifying list. That spot earns him a match with J.R. Todd in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

Cruz Pedregon --- Ron Capps

(LEFT) The final pair of Funny Car qualifying featured low qualifier Cruz Pedregon and he laid down an excellent 3.841 - 330.31, just one thousandth of a second slower than his career best and his best speed of the weekend. However, it wasn't enough to hang on to the #1 qualifying position.

(RIGHT) The reason Pedregon lost the #1 spot was due to Ron Capps laying down the run of the event at 3.837, coupled with a booming top end of 337.33 to take over the top spot on the ladder. Crew chief Dickie Venables went for broke on the run and made it work.

Nitro Mike Kunz wheelstander

The day's action closed with Canadian Crazy "Nitro" Mike Kunz and his "Walking Tall" PT Cruiser wheelstander. It puts on quite a show and holds the official Guinness World Record for the longest wheelstand. Obviously, he can't break that record at Pomona with the rather limited shutdown area but he kept the crowd entertained as the show closed on Saturday evening.