Force Family Top FallNationals Qualifying

0
103
John Force paced Funny Car qualifying at the Texas Motorplex. (NHRA Photo)
John Force paced Funny Car qualifying at the Texas Motorplex. (NHRA Photo)

ENNIS, Texas – Brittany and John Force both raced to the No. 1 spot in their respective classes Saturday at Texas Motorplex during the 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.

The pair are trying to become the first father-daughter combo in NHRA history to win at the same event.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also earned No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the fourth of six races during the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

B. Force’s track record run of 3.651 seconds at 331.28 mph from Friday in her Advance Auto Parts dragster held up to take the No. 1 spot for the eighth time this year and 18th time in her career. She finished qualifying with another impressive run in the 3.60s on Saturday and will meet Cameron Ferre to open eliminations. It marks the second time B. Force and her father qualified No. 1 at the same event, with the first also coming in Texas during the race in Houston last spring.

“It’s always really special to hold the No. 1 qualifier with my dad,” B. Force said. “He’s the one who taught me everything about this sport and he’s the reason I’m out here. We did it earlier in the season and to do it again, it’s special to me. It’s on my bucket list to double-up (with a win) with my dad. It would just be awesome to share that with him. Our team is in a very good place.”

Leah Pritchett qualified second and Mike Salinas is third. Points leader Steve Torrence qualified fourth.

J. Force earned his fifth No. 1 qualifier this season and a remarkable 160th in his career thanks to his 3.834-second run at a career-best 337.33 mph on Friday in his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil/BlueDEF Chevrolet Camaro SS. A seven-time winner in Dallas, J. Force will try to win for the sixth time from the No. 1 spot at Texas Motorplex and join his daughter in the winner’s circle.

Brittany Force joined her father, John, as a top qualifier for the NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex. (NHRA Photo)
Brittany Force joined her father, John, as a top qualifier for the NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex. (NHRA Photo)

“That makes it really special anytime you can do something with your kids,” said J. Force, who will race Jeff Arend in the opening round on Sunday. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow. This is what we do and what we love. Those were prime conditions (last night), and we wanted to push it today. We’ve got a good car for raceday tomorrow.”

After qualifying second with a 3.851-second run at 335.07 mph from Friday, Robert Hight is racing for a third straight win in Dallas. Defending world champ J.R. Todd qualified third.

In Pro Stock, Coughlin earned his second No. 1 of the year and 31st in his career after his 6.509-second run at 210.41 mph in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro from Friday held up. Coughlin, who now has back-to-back No. 1 in Dallas, made a pair of consistent runs on Saturday as well, including the quickest of the final qualifying session, adding to his momentum for Sunday. He will race Richie Stevens in the opening round of eliminations.

Coughlin’s Elite Motorsports teammate, points leader Erica Enders, will start raceday from the second position. Charlotte winner Deric Kramer qualified third.

“We’ve had some unique weather conditions here, so it feels great to be No. 1,” said Coughlin, who is after his second victory of 2019. “We’ve got three races left in the Countdown and we were No. 1 in three of the four sessions, so our team is looking really, really strong. I’m really looking forward to hitting the track tomorrow.”

Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Matt Smith stayed in the top spot after his impressive run of 6.776 seconds at 200.26 mph on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/MSR EBR on Friday. Smith, who also set the track speed record, earned his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the year and 36th in his career.

Jerry Savoie will begin eliminations from the second position, while Steve Johnson moved into the third spot on Saturday.

“It’s just a lot of hard work after the struggles we had at Charlotte,” Smith said. “We had two tough days of non-stop work, and I can’t say enough about my crew guys and the people who help me. Not only are we No. 1 qualifier, we get some bonus points and we get a bye in the first round. All in all, we’ve got a good bike for tomorrow.”

Drew Skillman clinched the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown championship on Saturday, locking up his first title at the conclusion of qualifying. Skillman had a banner campaign, winning three races en route to the championship.