I got to the track a little late on Friday morning so I did not get to see the first qualifying session for Stock eliminator but the first class I got to see was Competition eliminator. This class has everything from altereds to door cars, to dragsters with every engine combination imaginable. Here is Bill Kent and William Hatcher in their first run.

2020 NHRA Arizona Nationals

Every February my favorite event of the year is held, the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. It is the chance to catch up with friends that I only get to see once or twice a year and watch some great racing at my home track. This year saw some more fantastic racing with quick times and fast speeds and a few wild moments mixed in. 

One of the local heavy-hitters Tibor Kadar races against another division seven standout Doug Lambeck.

Even in the sportsman levels of drag racing, it is a family affair. Here are the Comstock's, Karen in her Mustang stocker and Rodger in his super comp car. 

Ed Olpin, Jr. side-by-side in qualifying of Top Sportsman.

While walking back to the pits I saw Dan Fletcher, the winningest sportsman driver in history waiting to qualify in his Super Comp dragster.

Alexis Dejoria climbs into her car for her first warm-up of the weekend. Alexis returns to full-time funny car competition after taking a couple of years off.

I ran into my buddy Mike Channing in the pits. Mike was a longtime crewman for Gordie Rivera when he raced. He was with Jack Jones who is the man who graces the wally trophy that is awarded to winners at each and every race.

Jason Line being towed to the staging lanes prior to the first qualifying session.

Greg Anderson and Aaron Stanfield side-by-side during the first qualifying session.

Jason Line & Jeg Coughlin side-by-side in the opening session. Both drivers announced before the season began that they would retire at the conclusion of 2020.

Funny car qualifying kicked off with Blake Alexander, now driving for Jim Head, making a three-second pass.

Cruz Pedregon in his new look Snap-On sponsored funny car makes a solid opening pass.

Tommy Johnson Jr. in his new-look funny car which now banners the MD Anderson Cancer Center. This car is 100% funded by the Chandler family like it has for years.

Top fuel independent Terry Totten kicked off the session with a solid 4.12 @ 269 mph pass.

During some downtime, I noticed the team for Joey Grose performing an engine swap after hurting a motor in the first qualifying session.

Arizona's own Jim Maroney makes the first appearance on his home track since starting this team towards the end of last season. 

Winternationals winner Doug Kalitta on his opening pass of the weekend

In another tradition for the Enders team when they finish with winners circle photos she drivers the car back to the pits in a tradition called, drive the bitch back. 

As the day winds down the party always begins in the Palmer pits. Earlier in the weekend, Nick Trask of Trask Performance in Phoenix gifted Scott Palmer an Evel Knievel themed motorcycle. Nick took the honors on doing burnouts and donuts in the pits on the beautiful bike.

Steve Torrence joined in for a photo on top of the motorcycle with Nick, Scott and his crew chief Bobby Lagana.

Mary Baltzell the winner of the AZ big tire shootout posing with longtime friends Scott Palmer and the entire Palmer team in the pits on Sunday night.

That wraps up another great Arizona Nationals weekend. It is always fun to snap some photos of the fastest accelerating cars on the planet but it is even better to spend time with family and friends enjoying good races. Hopefully, I get to a few more NHRA races this year.

Crewmembers for Shawn Langdon lifting the supercharger after removing it from the dragster during the in-between round maintenance.

A fan gets a healthy dose of nitromethane from Tim Wilkerson's warmup.

Pomona winner Randal Andras makes a his qualifying pass on Friday night.

Another Pomona winner Jack Beckman kicks off Friday night qualifying with a beautiful and fast flames up run.

John Force & Ron Capps during Friday night qualifying.

J.R. Todd & Bob Tasca both making solid runs on Friday night.

Terry McMillen just missed a career-best run on his Friday night pass by .001 seconds.

Top Fuel racer Doug Foley made his first appearance in NHRA competition in nearly a decade. Things got a little hot on this pass as his engine labored and burned up a head gasket.

Saturday brought rain all morning and into the afternoon. Some of the pro stock pits were turned into mini lakes.

Luckily the rain stayed away long enough to get one qualifying session in. Here are us fans enjoying the sweet smell of nitromethane from Shawn Langdon's warmup.

Here are some more fans videoing the warmup from John Force's team.

Speaking of John Force here he is zipping around on his scooter inspecting the freshly prepped racetrack.

The first car out on the track was Scott Palmer. He was a little aggressive and was just starting to smoke the tires. 

The conditions on Saturday were good but it was a fine line of overpowering the track and making a great run. Both Austin Prock and Doug Kalitta smoked the tires at the same time.

Justin Ashley and Terry McMillen's teams figured out the track and made solid runs.

I really liked the chrome decals on Leah Pruett's car because they would reflect off of the racetrack.

Billy Torrence & Brittany Force side by side with Brittany running 3.670 to grab the #1 qualifying spot.

Funny car independent Terry Haddock doing a burnout prior to his final qualifying pass.

I was really digging Cruz Pedregon's new look on his Snap-On tools funny car.

Since I was closer to the starting line than I normally was I got some burnout shots. Here is Alexis Dejorai .

I always love the late afternoon light because the colors just pop and everything is nice and bright. Here is Alexis Dejoria and Ron Capps making solid sub-three second passes.

Another good looking funny car that is new for this season is Matt Hagan's Mopar sponsored funny car.

Tommy Johnson Jr. finishes up qualifying with a 3.868 pass that was the quickest of Saturday qualifying.

Pro Stock rookie Marty Robertson driving for Elite Motorsports qualifies on his last pass to make his first pro stock field.

Father and son, Fernando Cuadra Sr. races alongside Fernando Jr.

As the sun set behind the Estrella mountains it provided a nice sky and great foreground with one of the mini lakes created by the afternoon rain storms. 

Local pro stock racer Matt Hartford performs a burnout prior to his last qualifying run.

Ricky House carrying the front wheel on his final qualifying pass that put him #1.

A sell-out crowd showed up to Wild Horse on Sunday for final eliminations. The crowd was greeted by cool temperatures which provided for some quick and fast racing. 

The best part about Sunday morning is that most teams warm-up at about the same time. Within about five minutes both Kalitta dragsters warmed up followed by a very rich warmup from Alexis Dejoria which concluded with a very loud throttle whack. 

Terry Totten's team pulls out and heads for the staging lanes followed by Scott Palmer's team.

The first pair of Top Fuel eliminations saw Doug Kalitta continue his winning ways from Pomona with a 330mph run over a red lighting Shawn Reed. 

Scott Palmer gave it a good run but could not repeat his final round finish from two years prior when he lost to Justin Ashley in the opening round.

Antron Brown with the flames up to the finish line in his opening-round win over Terry McMillen. 

Brittany Force made the run of the weekend in the first round as she ran both ends of the track record. The 337.92 mph run was the 2nd fastest run in history and the 3.643 second run was the 6th quickest in history.

Jack Beckman had to pedal his way to a first-round win over Cruz Pedregon.

In a bizarre race, Matt Hagan appeared to be on his way to a round win with the quickest run of the weekend when he barely nicked the finish line timing block and was disqualified handing the win to Jeff Diehl.  

Later during the day, I ran into a fan who got the timing block that Hagan barely hit. He got several drivers to sign it including the benefactor Jeff Diehl.

Jim Campbell would have an even wilder opening round race. Jim would get into a pedaling contest with defending world champion Robert Hight and was pulling away when...

As Jim neared the finish line he would suffer a pretty big explosion and a sizeable fire that would crack the body but not blow it off.

The resulting fire would be pretty big by todays standard but Jim would safely stop the car and the Jim Dunn team would return for round 2.

I got to the track a little late on Friday morning so I did not get to see the first qualifying session for Stock eliminator but the first class I got to see was Competition eliminator. This class has everything from altereds to door cars, to dragsters with every engine combination imaginable. Here is Bill Kent and William Hatcher in their first run.

Alex Laughlin defeats local racer Matt Hartford in the opening round of pro stock.

Bo Butner had a wild opening round as he nuked an engine before half track but got the win when his opponent red lighted by .001 seconds.

One of the biggest upsets of the day came in first round when Cristian Cuadra picked up his first career round win over Aaron Stanfield who got loose and had to shut off.

Val Torres defeating Chad Webber in the 4th round of super comp on his way to winning the event.  

Antron Brown kicked off the second round of top fuel with an easy victory over a tire smoking Justin Ashley.

Steve Torrence smoked the tires and pedaled his way to a round two victory over Shawn Langdon.

Doug Kalitta & Brittany Force had a great side by side race in the second round with both running sub 3.70 passes and Doug Kalitta winning on a holeshot.

Round two of funny car saw 3 of the 4 races determined by red lights as redlights as Bob Tasca would be the victim of one of those red lights.

Jeff Diehl who won his first round of racing in a few years also had a red light in the second round.

The red lights would continue in pro stock as Kenny Delco was next to red light and again Bo Butner caught a lucky break as he had to shut off at half track as the car was getting loose on him.

For the first time all season somebody would out-run Jeg Coughlin as his engine would break and Alex Laughlin would beat him.

It was father and son matchup in one half of the top fuel semi-finals as Steve Torrence and Billy Torrence had the race of the day with both running 3.69's and Steve winning by two hundreths of a second.

Jack Beckman & John Force racing in the semi-finals. Jack is one of the very few 

Tommy Johnson defeated Ron Capps in their semi-final race to assure owner Don Schumacher a funny car victory.

The lucky breaks continued for Bo Butner who nearly crossed the centerline but he got the round win when Alex Laughlin broke right off of the starting line. Obviously Alex did not think too highly of his fortune.

After the pro stock semi-finals and before sportsman finals began they ran the finals of the AZ Big tire shootout exhibition class. The final put Mary Baltzell against Brian Manske. 

As they neared the 1/8 mile finish line Brian's Firebird broke loose and spun out of control.

Brian tagged the wall with the front end pretty hard.

As all four of the tires lifted off of the ground he rear-end came around and smacked the wall.

The fuel cell broke from the first impact but luckily for Brian it did not catch fire even though a lot of fuel sprayed from the damaged cell.

Brian's car would fishtail a couple more times before finally coming to a stop along the near wall.

What was left of Brian's car being towed back to the pits. Most importantly Brian was ok other than a hurt pride and a lighter wallet.

Here is the full sequence of Brian Manske's wild ride.

After a bit of a cleanup, it was time for the pro final rounds. In the pro stock final, Erica Enders finished up a dominating day by beating Bo Butner.

In a matchup of the late Terry Chandler's two giving cars as she called them Tommy Johnson defeated a tire-smoking Jack Beckman in the funny car final.

Steve Torrence wasted no time in his title defense as he won in his first start of the season after skipping Pomona. He beat Pomona winner Doug Kalitta and ended his round win streak at 11.

The three pro winners celebrating in the winners circle which is now on the racetrack.

As Steve Torrence and team did winners circle photos they invited all of us fans into the area to take a winners photo which was pretty cool.

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