The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports Columns

August 28, 2013

Big heat facing Big Go at Nationals

After some of the drivers, fans and media withered under the scorching heat and soaring humidity during the U.S. Nationals press conference Wednesday, weather was a topic for the weekend.

The biggest news that came from the press conference was the lottery ball selection that decided the eighth competitor for the weekend Traxxas Nitro Shootout.

Saturday will be the Top Fuel competition and Sunday the Funny Cars will be in the spotlight. The first seven winners in each division get automatic berths. The final spot comes from fan vote. Each driver who earns votes gets a number of lottery balls equal to the percentage of votes that were cast.

In both drawings, the driver with the highest percentage was chosen. For the Top Fuel competition, Brittany Force had 49 percent of the vote. For Funny Cars, Tim Wilkerson captured 40 percent of the vote.

"I remember watching my dad (John Force) race in all the shootouts growing up and to follow in his footsteps and get a chance to compete in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, it's awesome," said Force.

"I'm very happy to get in the show and thanks to all of the fans for voting," said Wilkerson.

The winner of one or both of those three round events might be the one who can tame the hot, slippery track and make three passes without spinning the tires and ruining their chances.

The heat and humidity forecast for every day of the qualifying, makes the final round of qualifying of Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. each day crucial. With all of Sunday's qualifying done during the heat of the day, the only slight break in temperatures is likely to be during those evening rounds.

"It will be really huge," said Top fuel driver Brandon Bernstein. "Those will be the best conditions. We won't be able to put up any numbers those other times."

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