One of the strongest fields in five years will be on hand for the finals in the Utah National Sand Drag Championships today, including national champions and record holders.

Qualifying and time trials were held on Friday and Saturday. Today's schedule is for more time trials from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by eliminations starting at 1:30 p.m. at the new sand strip at Bonneville Raceway Park, 6555 W. 2100 South.Officials and members of the Intermountain Sand Drag Association spent the past two weeks redesigning the sandy strip at the Bonneville racing complex.

Friday's racing went off without problems, but when the high-speed top fuel and funny cars tried the track on their arrival on Saturday, they found lower portion of the outrun were too rough for the high speeds.

Crews brought in special equpment Saturday to smooth and extend the outrun.

When complete, consensus is that the track will be one of the fastest in the division.

D.L. King of Apple Valley, Calif., a national record holder in the D pro comp class, said after his first run on the track that it surprised most of the out-of-state drivers.

"We didn't expect it to be this fast," he said from his trailer near the starting area. "Actually we're running within a 10th (of a second) of what we do back home where the air's a lot thicker.

"I think you'll see some pretty good times. I know, we're running well right now. This is the fastest I've run here in Utah."

Don Fuller, another record holder from California, said that after looking at the track he, too, expects to run some of his fastest runs on Utah tracks.

According to association president Steve Wiseman, Sunday's field will include seven top alcohol cars, six funny cars, two top fuel and two AA funny cars, along with over 50 custome sand racing cars, such as Jeeps and rails.

In sand racing, cars run side-by-side for 100 yards instead of the quarter-mile like regular drag racing cars on asphalt.