BRISTOL, Tenn. – Sixteen-time Funny Car champion John Force went to the top of the category during the second qualifying session Friday evening at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta is the provisional No. 1 qualifier during the 11th of 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Force paced the Funny Car category Friday evening with a run of 3.911 seconds at 326.95 mph in his PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS. He is chasing his third No. 1 qualifier of the season, first win of the year and fifth at Bristol Dragway.
“We’re learning and I really thought that there would be a number of cars that would step up,” Force stated. “Especially Jimmy Prock (Robert Hight’s crew chief) and I thought he would run an .88 or something. Our car went though, and it was really hunting down there. Tomorrow is a new day but I’m excited for my guys. It’s a good race car and I’m proud to drive it. I’m learning about it and at my age I thought I knew everything about it.”
Shawn Langdon sits in the No. 2 spot with his pass of 3.944 seconds at 324.51 mph in his Global Electronics Toyota Camry. Bob Tasca III rounds out the top three.
Kalitta powered to the top of the Top Fuel class with a run of 3.755 seconds at 324.67 mph during the second round qualifying in his Mac Tools dragster. He is looking for his first No. 1 qualifier of the season, second victory of the year and seventh final round at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
“We are always excited to come here,” Kalitta said. “I remember coming here when I was working on Connie’s (Kalitta, team owner) cars back in the ‘80s so it’s a lot of cool history coming here just for me. It was a nice run though. It’s been awhile since we were low qualifier any of the days. I’m real proud of my guys though. We’re working our tails off to try and make it happen.”
Leah Pritchett is currently in the second position with her second qualifying pass of 3.757 seconds at 323.04 mph. Defending Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence is third.