ENNIS, Texas – It was an all-Force Friday during NHRA qualifying at the Texas Motorplex on Friday.
Brittany and John Force powered to the provisional top spots in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, during the opening night of qualifying at the 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the fourth of six races during the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
If it holds, it would mark the second time the father-daughter Force duo would claim the top spots at the same race. They accomplished the feat in Houston this year, becoming the first father-daughter combo to claim No. 1 at the same event.
B. Force set the track elapsed time record in Top Fuel in her Advance Auto Parts dragster on Friday with an impressive run of 3.651 seconds at 331.28 mph. If it holds it would be Force’s eighth No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 18th in her career.
“That was an awesome run,” said B. Force, who is third in points. “It was a very important run and tomorrow is going to be what’s really important. How we run tomorrow, getting two consistent runs going into raceday, we should be set up pretty good. I put all my faith in these guys. It’s an incredible team and we’re looking for a win. We love No. 1 qualifiers, but we would rather win on raceday.”
Leah Pritchett qualified second with a 3.681-second pass at a track speed record of 332.10 mph. Mike Salinas is third and points leader Steve Torrence is fourth.
Looking for his 17th world title, Funny Car’s J. Force is off to a good start in Dallas, going a remarkable 3.834 seconds at a career-best speed of 337.33 mph in his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil/BlueDEF Chevrolet Camaro SS.
If it holds it would give J. Force, who is currently third in points, his fifth No. 1 qualifier this season and 160th in his career. His teammate and back-to-back winner in Dallas, points leader Robert Hight, is in the second spot after his 3.851-second pass at 335.07 mph, while defending champ J.R. Todd is third.
“They stepped it up and they’ve given me a great race car, and I’m excited about that,” J. Force said. “We’ve got a fast car and my team is really good. I love being here and I’ve got to give credit to my guys. They make it happen and we’re having fun. I’m just having a ball.”
In Pro Stock, Coughlin shot to the top spot with his pass of 6.509 seconds at 210.41 mph in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro. Coughlin and his Elite Motorsports teammate, Erica Enders, put together a thrilling side-by-side pass under the lights, with the five-time world champ making the slightly better run. Coughlin is after his second No. 1 spot this year and 31st in his career.
Enders, the current points leader, picked up a handful of valuable qualifying points on Friday, and sits second with a run of 6.510 seconds at 211.53 mph. She has been the No. 1 qualifier at the first three races of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Deric Kramer, who won at zMAX Dragway on Monday, qualified in the third spot.
Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Matt Smith put together the lone 200-mph pass to set the track speed record in the category on Friday, blasting to the top spot with an impressive run of 6.776 seconds at 200.26 mph on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/MSR EBR.
Smith is after his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the year and 36th in his career. Jerry Savoie sits second with a 6.790-second pass at 196.13 mph, while Angelle Sampey is third.
Points leader Andrew Hines is currently fifth.