A warm Las Vegas afternoon brought along competitive speeds and a battle for the top spot in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In Funny Car, Ron Capps ran a competitive 3.882 on his final pass to grab the pole from John Force’s who held the provisional pole from his run on Friday of 3.887.
Capps seemed cool and collected before grabbing the top spot as he packed his chutes with a 5-year-old in the pits on his birthday.
"Yesterday's run had the same 60-foot time, .866, which was was pretty stout for that session and Guido was trying to go low e.t. He was actually trying to run an 87 in yesterday's second session and it just wouldn't take it that far-right lane., and so he was trying to do the same thing this time. I was screaming on the radio 'That thing hooked up!' and I just thought with the heat and the track temperature there's no way it's going to stick.
"You have this internal G meter and located somewhere in your body and you know when a run's really hauling the mail and you kind of calculate in your head knowing how hot it is out, how hot the track temp is, and in your head you just know there's no way it's going to make it, so I didn't think it would run that good honestly, but I knew Guido and Medlen were shooting for No. 1."
Capps will be looking for his 68th career funny car Wally on Sunday.
Mike Salinas and his team had to do a little thrashing on his car prior to the final run and the team had doubts they may not even be able to make a run. They were able to wrap things up just prior to pulling up for the burnout and the team appeared to regain the confidence they have shown in themselves all year.
After grabbing the top speed and securing the top of the ladder, Salinas visited the media center and was asked what was different in 2022 and why the team seems to be locked in with the confidence.
"We're having fun," said Salinas. "The last couple of years have been good, but it got us to where we're at now. We all matured and the crew is amazing there. They know their job. We don't have to worry about the car not being ready and prepared. And if you have you, that's 95-98% of the deal. The main thing is everybody's having fun,. You come to our pit, it's calm, it's relaxed, and it's 'Let's go win races.'
"We know we have a fast car and we know tomorrow it's going to be cool and there's going to be some .70 runs and maybe some .69s because it's race day, and everybody's gonna try to outdo each other."
Salinas is searching for his 5th career Top Fuel victory and looks strong going into Sundays final.
While Aaron Stanfield did not improve his provisional pole speed from Friday, he continued to appear to be the car to beat in comparison to the rest of the pro stock field.
“We definitely want to take advantage of the fast hot rod we’ve got now,” said Stanfield, who was also the qualifying leader at the most recent event in Gainesville and was the No. 2 qualifier in Pomona and Phoenix. “It’s important for us to go out and win some rounds tomorrow. Things got a little rough for us on Q3, but we came back and made a strong run in Q4 and that sets us up for tomorrow.
"I'd love to win a Four-Wide race," Stanfield said. "It's different; you need to really be focused on the starting line. As a driver, you want to be able to show you can get it done under any circumstances."
Stanfield is the low qualifier for the third time in his career and second time in 2022. Stanfield will be looking for his 6th Pro Stock victory on Sunday.
Check out a full recap of the days events at NHRA.com:
See the NHRA National Dragster photo gallery from Saturday:
Photo: Chris Bishop