Force Thunders To No. 1 Spot
KENT, Wash. — John Force raced to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car during Friday qualifying at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Seattle.
Force ran a 4.085-second pass at 308.07 mph in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to top the leaderboard after the first day of qualifying. Force, the driver with the most professional victories at Pacific Raceways with seven, is looking for his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season and sixth at the facility.
“[Crew chief] Jimmy Prock’s been real consistent with this Ford,” said Force, whose hot rod has been to three straight finals. “It’s running real good. Temperatures started dropping real fast and Jimmy stepped it up.”
Defending event winner Matt Hagan sits second after the first day with a 4.100 at 302.41 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger. Two-time season race winner Alexis DeJoria drove her Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry to a 4.101 at 303.23, good enough for the provisional No. 3 spot. Sonoma winner Courtney Force sits fifth with a 4.125 at 301.60 in her Traxxas Ford Mustang.
In Top Fuel, Schumacher claimed the top spot on the last run of the day with his 3.804 at 318.32 in his U.S. Army dragster. Schumacher, a seven-time world champ, is two sessions away from securing his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and third career in Seattle.
“The car was excellent on that last run,” Schumacher said. “To go out and qualify No. 1 with all those stout cars, everyone within a hundredth or a hundredth and a half in the top eight, that’s pretty impressive.”
Top Fuel point leader Doug Kalitta ran his Mac Tools dragster 3.805 to 320.28 to claim the No. 2 position. Reigning Top Fuel world champ Shawn Langdon was the top qualifier following the first session but sits third in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster with a 3.807 at 317.05. Sonoma winner Khalid alBalooshi is provisionally sixth with a 3.813 at 319.22 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster.
Johnson is going for his fourth No. 1 of the season in Pro Stock following his 6.535 at 211.86 in the Magneti-Marelli Team Mopar Dodge Dart. Johnson has one career victory at Seattle coming in 2006.
“The track’s awesome,” Johnson said. “NHRA’s done a great job. My crew made some real wholesale changes with the car coming here from Sonoma on Sunday. To go out and do what we did, hats off to the team.”
Shane Gray ran a 6.538 at 211.96 in his Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro to sit second with two sessions remaining. Recent Sonoma winner Jason Line continued his positive momentum, driving his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro to the current No. 3 spot with a 6.549 at 211.36.