CHANDLER, Ariz. – Courtney Force set both ends of the Funny Car track record during the final day of qualifying on Saturday for the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) are also the No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories heading into Sunday’s eliminations.
Force took over the top spot in the Funny Car category with a record run of 3.826 seconds at 335.98 mph in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro during her second pass of the day. After recording seven No. 1 qualifiers in 2017, she is aiming for her first event victory since Houston in 2016.
“That last pass today was pretty incredible, we have run well here in the past and I’m excited to be back in that top spot,” Force said. “We are hoping to turn this consistency into a win, we just have to keep being consistent on race day.”
Force is set to face off against Del Worsham in round one of eliminations on Sunday. Ron Capps sits second after a 3.844-second pass at 330.80 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T during the final pass of qualifying on Saturday. Defending Funny Car champion Robert Hight qualified 11th after a 3.927-second run at 329.26 mph.
Schumacher led the Top Fuel category with a run of 3.649 seconds at 334.65 mph in his U.S. Army dragster posted during the first qualifying session on Friday. Schumacher also set the Top Fuel national speed record at 336.57 mph with a time of 3.667 seconds during his second pass on Friday. After securing four No. 1 qualifiers in the 2017 season, Schumacher locked in his first of the year on Saturday.
“We earned our three points and kept the top spot so it’s been a great weekend for us so far,” Schumacher said. “The car continues to be great and [crew chief] Mike Neff is comfortable and knows what the car is doing, so I think tomorrow is going to be great day.”
Schumacher will go against Greg Carrillo in round one of eliminations on Sunday. Steve Torrence qualified second after a 3.665-second pass at 331.45 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster. Defending world champion Brittany Force qualified in the 14th spot in her first race since a violent crash in the season opener in Pomona, Calif.
In Pro Stock, Kramer took over the top spot after driving to a 6.522-second run at 210.80 mph in his American Ethanol Dodge Dart during the fourth qualifying session of the weekend. Kramer secured the first No. 1 qualifying position of his career as he also chases his first victory in the class.
“It feels great to get that first No. 1 qualifier, and we had a great package put together this weekend and that was able to move us to the top,” Kramer said. “There were definitely some tuning adjustments from Pomona, but we went back to our old game plan with that KB power and it was a great combination.”
Kramer will race Alan Prusiensky in the first round of eliminations. Erica Enders is second in the qualifying order after a 6.527-second pass at 209.98 mph, while Alex Laughlin sits in the third spot.