Larry Dixon raced to the Top Fuel qualifying lead Friday in the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, the second-to-last event of the season.
Dixon, second in the championship standings, powered his dragster to a performance of 3.805 seconds at a track-record speed of 318.24 mph at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. If his time holds through Saturday's two qualifying sessions, it will be his ninth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 40th of his career.
Series leader Tony Schumacher, who holds a 45-point lead over Dixon, was third overall with a 3.893 at 313.07.
Matt Hagan, Mike Edwards and Hector Arana also led their categories at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event, the fifth of six races in the Countdown to 1, NHRA's championship playoffs.
Rookie driver Hagan paced the Funny Car order with his track-record performance of 4.030 seconds at 313.88 mph in a Dodge Charger. Series leader Robert Hight was third with a 4.065 at 308.71 in a Ford Mustang, while second-place Ashley Force Hood was 13th in her Mustang, clocking a 4.163 at 303.23.
In Pro Stock, Edwards moved into position to earn his 15th No. 1 qualifying effort of the season and trimmed his magic number for clinching his first world championship title to 19 points, or less than one round over three-time champ Greg Anderson. Edwards had a track-record run of 6.623 at 207.75 in a Pontiac GXP.
Series leader Arana was first in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.979 at 192.03. Second-place rider Eddie Krawiec, the defending series champion, was fourth after two rounds, posting a 7.029 at 190.97 on a Buell.