Date published: April 13, 2012
* "The biggest thing now is that with the help of Jim Yates, we're trying to do just what is necessary to beat the car in the other lane instead of going for low e.t. in every round. After the Summit cars got beat [in round two], we didn't have to lean on it that hard." - Mark Ingersoll, crew chief of winner Allen Johnson's Dodge
* "It just wasn't practical in either a logistical or financial manner for us to take both cars all the way to the West Coast for just one race, and trying to run two cars out of one trailer doesn't work either, but both Kurt [Johnson, son] and I will be in Charlotte when we resume our racing schedule." - Warren Johnson, who did not compete at this event
* "I went from hero to zero. Sometimes a fast car can make up for a driver's reaction time just as a good light can help a driver make up for a slow car. Unfortunately, today we had neither." - Greg Anderson, who lost in round two with a .076 light and 6.67 e.t. after recording low e.t. of the meet (6.612) in round one
* "The car is talking to us, and we're listening. We knew there was going to be a learning curve when we switched from a Chevrolet to a Mopar combination, and right now we're a bit off with both the engine and chassis, but if we can pick up .02-second in each area, we'll be in pretty good shape." - Jeg Coughlin Jr., who qualified ninth and lost on a holeshot to Vincent Nobile in round one
* "We thought that our [Charlotte test] engine would run better, and we did run quicker than we had earlier in the weekend, but it turned out that we just didn't have enough." - Shane Gray, following his 6.63 to 6.68 loss in round one after qualifying 14th with a 6.74
Allen Johnson, Team Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge
Johnson and his team finally found the race-day consistency that had eluded them in the past. "Two things have fixed that: We have a different race car, and we have Jim Yates to help Mark [Ingersoll, crew chief] make the decisions to where Mark doesn't question himself so much," said Johnson. "We're right there with them [Greg Anderson, Jason Line, and Mike Edwards], if not a little bit ahead, and we want to keep it that way."
Greg Anderson, Summit Racing Pontiac
Anderson improved from his qualifying-best 6.697, which placed him sixth in the field, to a 6.612 (low e.t. of the meet) to defeat Chris McGaha in the first round. "We made about six or seven changes to the car on Saturday night," said Anderson, who lost to Allen Johnson in the second round, "and while we didn't find out exactly what was wrong with the car, we know that at least one of those changes made the difference."
Vincent Nobile, Mountain View Tire Dodge
After scoring only one round-win in the first three races of the season, Nobile recorded his first final-round appearance since the 2011 Phoenix event, where he was runner-up to Dodge teammate Allen Johnson. "We got off to a little bit of a slow start this season, so this was exactly what our Mountain View team needed," said Nobile. Among Nobile's wins was a second-round holeshot victory over No. 1 qualifier Jason Line.
Erica Enders, GK Racing Chevrolet
The weekend began slowly for Enders, who had a shutoff run in the third qualifying session and finished 10th on the ladder with a 6.721, well off Jason Line's pace-setting 6.659, but then she defeated Ronnie Humphrey on a holeshot in the first round (6.66 to 6.64) and outran Larry Morgan in round two (6.72 to 6.74) to reach the semi's, where she lost to Allen Johnson. "Our showing during eliminations made up for my first round [a holeshot loss] in Gainesville," said Enders. "Today was a real confidence-builder."
Mike Edwards, Penhall/K&N/Interstate Pontiac
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has always been one of Edwards' favorites tracks, but he could not make his car run hard in the first 60 feet at this event. "Our best 60-foot was a .996, and everything else was above a second," said Edwards. "And then we just ran through the clutch in the first round [to lose to Larry Morgan]. The track was a little bit better than we figured, and we just missed it on the tune-up. Fortunately for us, both Jason [Line] and Greg [Anderson] went out in the second round, so we didn't get hurt too bad in the points; otherwise, it might have been a pretty bad weekend."
Jason Line, Summit Racing Pontiac
Line had by far the most dominant car in qualifying - he had the quickest time in all four rounds and earned the maximum 12 bonus points - and his 6.616 in the first round was surpassed only by teammate Greg Anderson's 6.612, but his .050 light and clutch-slipping 6.65 were upset in the second round by Vincent Nobile's .018 light and 6.66. "You could say we got off to a bad finish," said Line. "Right now, we can probably get by with a single mistake but not two."
Larry Morgan, Lucas Oil/Summit Racing Ford
Severe handling problems had held Morgan to a 6.925 best going into the final qualifying session, and he was sitting precariously on the bump position, but his Mustang came to life with a 6.753 to move up to 15th in the field. "We first had strut problems and later discovered something wrong with the bead lock on one of the wheels," said Morgan. "Once those things were fixed, we were finally able to make a solid run. We had a whole bunch of guys helping us out, including Warren Johnson, Don Ness, Mark Wolfe, Brandon Huhtala, and others. I have to thank them for their help."
V. Gaines, Kendall Oil Dodge
Gaines had difficulties in the first three rounds of qualifying - tire shake in the first and third sessions and a blown engine in the second kept him from making a full pass - but he put it all together in Saturday afternoon's final session and made the field with a 6.786 that bumped out Steve Kent. "I sure don't like having to wait until the fourth round of qualifying to get into the show," said Gaines, "but if that's what it takes, I'm not going to complain."
Chris McGaha, Harlow Sammons of Odessa Dodge
After running two races last year with Richard Freeman's Elite Motorsports team, McGaha is making his presence felt with his new Avenger, which is powered by a David Nickensbuilt Dodge Hemi. "I had raced a lot of different altered-type cars before in Comp, but Pro Stock is the ultimate doorslammer category," said McGaha, who qualified ahead of Greg Stanfield, Kurt Johnson, Shane Gray, Larry Morgan, and V. Gaines with an 11th-best 6.721. "It's a much more competitive class, but we're enjoying the challenge."
Ronnie Humphrey, Genuine Hotrod Hardware Pontiac
After back-to-back No. 3 qualifying performances in Pomona and Phoenix and reaching the semifinals in Gainesville, Humphrey had his first subpar performance of the campaign: He was held to a seventhbest 6.706 and lost to Erica Enders in the first round. "We were having trouble adjusting to the different track conditions," said Humphrey. "Through qualifying, Jason [Line] was on a rail, and both Greg [Anderson] and I were struggling, but Greg really picked up in the first round, so that shows you that these things can be fixed. Now, we just have to make the same proper adjustments to our tune-up."
Gordie Rivera, Gordie's Speed Center GXP
"I had set a goal of having my engine reach a certain amount of horsepower before I would race this year," said class veteran Rivera. "We were just a bit short for the Phoenix race, so that's why I didn't run there. Right before Las Vegas, I figured I needed to take one more step to get the job done, so I took the engine apart and made the proper modifications. The increase showed on the dyno, and so here we are. I'm so glad that I was able to attend the race, especially after hearing that Bill Jenkins had died. He had helped me so much in the past, and I knew that he'd want me to be out here racing."
Allen Johnson, left, was congratulated by runner-up and Dodge teammate Vincent Nobile, center, and Ed DeMichelle, who is the orderfulfillment center and facilities manager at Summit Racing Equipment's Sparks, Nev., location and served as the event's grand marshal.
Allen Johnson, far lane, advanced to the final with a 6.65 to 6.73 semifinal victory over Erica Enders, who had her finest outing since reaching the semi's in Phoenix during last year's Countdown to the Championship.
(Above) Greg Stanfield, near lane, had an auspicious debut with the first newgeneration Camaro to run in the class. He scored a pair of round-wins before losing to Vincent Nobile in the semi's, where he red-lighted by just .002-second. (Left) In the biggest upset of the first round, Larry Morgan, near lane, got a .033 to .098 jump against Mike Edwards and held on for a 6.67 to 6.65 holeshot win.
(Above) In a race billed as a showdown between two starting-line artists, Jeg Coughlin Jr. cut a solid .016 light only to be outperformed by Vince Nobile's near-perfect .002, which resulted in a 6.676 to 6.674 holeshot victory. (Right) Shane Gray improved on his qualifying-best 6.742, which placed him in the No. 14 position, with a quicker 6.68 in the first round, but it was no match for Allen Johnson's 6.63.
Ron Krisher made his best qualifying run during Saturday's final session, a 6.690 that put him fourth in the field.
(Above) Steve Kent had a tough weekend. He jumped into the field with a 6.790 during the final qualifying session but was knocked out a pair later by V. Gaines' 6.786. (Left) Rodger Brogdon made the field with a fifth-best 6.693 but failed to take advantage of Sunday morning's improved weather conditions and lost a 6.68 to 6.69 contest to Greg Stanfield.