The NHRA's championship chases that looked like runaways when the weekend started at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway tightened up considerably on Sunday at the conclusion of the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals.
John Force beat Matt Hagan in the Funny Car final to pull within 37 points of Hagan in the championship standings. Meanwhile, Larry Dixon and Cory McClenathan both went out early in Top Fuel, which allowed Sunday's winner, Tony Schumacher, to step through the door and move into second place. Pro Stock points leader Greg Anderson extended his lead over Mike Edwards with his victory.
Force-vs.-Hagan was the heavyweight matchup everyone looked for in Vegas. Like many heavyweight fights, it didn't quite live up the its billing after Force's Castrol High Mileage Ford Mustang went straight down the track in 4.232 seconds at 281.36 mph, while Hagan's DieHard Dodge Charger sputtered and belched to a 6.925-second run at 110.96 mph.
Force is now less than two rounds behind Hagan with one race and 150 points total to go in the season.
Schumacher went from being on the edges of the hunt to right in the thick of things in Top Fuel. He trails Dixon by 85 points. It's a scenario Schumacher has faced several times before during his career.
However, Schumacher and the U.S. Army dragster had way too much power for everyone in the field. His final round run of 3.845 seconds at 316.60 mph was about 9 mph slower than his average pass during the day, but it was still good enough to dispatch Lagana and the Big O Tires dragster, which crossed the line in 3.987 seconds at 274.39 mph.
In Pro Stock, Anderson beat teammate Jason Line by a narrow margin in the final, which was a matchup of Summit Racing Pontiacs. Anderson ran 6.654 seconds at 207.43 mph, while Line was inches behind, 6.656 seconds at 207.46 mph.
Anderson leads second-place Mike Edwards by 115 points heading into the season finale, which will begin on Nov. 11 at Auto Club Speedway in Pomona, Calif. It will be the first time since the NHRA adjusted the Countdown to One format in 2007 that all pro championships will be decided during the season finale.