CONCORD, N.C. – Brittany and Courtney Force topped the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes, respectively, during the first day of qualifying for the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA 4-Wide Nationals on Friday at zMAX Dragway.
Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Cory Reed (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also provisional qualifying leaders after the first day of qualifying for the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA 4-Wide Nationals.
Brittany Force, the reigning Top Fuel world champion, shot to the top of the Top Fuel charts during the second round of qualifying Friday night with a 3.689-second run at 318.39 mph aboard her John Force Racing Monster Energy dragster.
“It felt good, especially compared to the run we made earlier,” said Brittany Force, who set the elapsed time track record Friday evening. “This one, I just wanted a clean, safe pass down there. I wasn’t expecting to go No. 1 and when they told me when I got down to the top end I was pretty excited.
“This is a new dragster. We brought it out to Houston last weekend and won the event. The whole team is excited about it. It’s our new car and we’re ready for the season.”
Tony Schumacher qualified second with a faster speed of 331.61 mph, but his elapsed time was
Courtney Force’s 3.873-second pass at 332.92 mph came during the first round of qualifying on Friday afternoon. She was unable to improve upon her effort in the second round and no one was able to better it, leaving her at the top of the Funny Car pylon heading into Saturday.
The final quad of drivers to attempt to qualify in Funny Car, which included Courtney Force, Bob Tasca III, Robert Hight and Tim Wilkerson, all failed to make clean runs and shut their cars off before the finish line. Courtney Force said that was indicative of the fact that everyone was trying to find speed in the cool conditions Friday night.
“It’s a great start to our weekend for sure,” Courtney Force said. “Obviously going up for Q2, I think you could tell in the final quad that everybody was gunning for that top spot. We pushed it hard and we went up there and shaked and just kind of had to cost on down there. Luckily we were able to hang on to it. The conditions are going to be really good tomorrow too, so we’ll see if we can hold onto it another day.”
Ron Capps is currently qualified second fastest in the Funny Car division, with Tommy Johnson Jr. currently third fastest. Both of their times came during the second round of qualifying Friday night.
If the Force sisters are able to maintain their No. 1 qualifying positions on Saturday, it would be the second time that Brittany and Courtney Force both qualified No. 1 in their respective divisions on the same weekend. They previously accomplished the feat at Heartland Park Topeka in 2016.
“It would be pretty cool if we could both hold onto it,” said Courtney Force. “There are a lot of great cars out here and a lot of great competition.”
Skillman rocketed to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in the Pro Stock class on the strength of a 6.534-second pass at 210.37 mph during the second round of qualifying Friday evening.
Greg Anderson is currently second fastest in Pro Stock, followed by Vincent Nobile in third.
Reed put his ’08 Buell at the top of the Pro Stock Motorcycle division with an impressive 6.838-second pass at 193.54 mph. Hector Arana Jr. is currently second with a faster speed of 197.31 mph, but his elapsed time was .010 of a second slower than the ET put down by Reed.
Andrew Hines is currently qualified third with two rounds of qualifying left on Saturday.