John Force Ends Qualifying Slump
“We might have got that No. 1 qualifying position last night, but it kicked the rods out right before the lights,” Langdon said. “We feel like we can get a little more out of it by working on our cylinder-dropping issue on the top end. The weather held out with the cloud cover today, and we felt that the third session was the session to really go for it.”
Langdon will seek his first Topeka victory and his second win of the season with an opening round match against veteran driver Pat Dakin.
“[Crew chief] Brian Husen does a great job making the right calls at the right time, and Alan Johnson just works magic out there,” Langdon said. “I saw Alan with his hands on his hips with his sunglasses on before the last run, so I could tell he was in his thinking mode with the track getting hotter. He made some last-minute changes to the clutch that worked out.”
Friday’s qualifying leader Tony Schumacher was second with a 3.769 at 326.08 in the U.S. Army dragster and will meet Houston winner Bob Vandergriff in the first round. Doug Kalitta qualified third in the Mac Tools dragster with a 3.770 at 324.98 and will face Morgan Lucas in the opener.
Edwards cruised to his seventh top qualifying position of the season in Pro Stock, and will race Steve Kent in the opening round. Edwards took his 48th career No. 1 and fourth at HPT with his Friday run of 6.618 at 208.55 in his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro.
“The air wasn’t as good for us today with a higher water count, and that really affects the Pro Stock engines,” Edwards said. “They just don’t burn water very well. But even though it slowed us down and we had a problem with the transmission dead-heading the gears in the final session, we still ran very well against the rest of the field, and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Edwards jointly holds the record for most No. 1 qualifying positions in a season (16) with Greg Anderson. After taking seven top spots in the first eight races, the Oklahoma native is on a similar roll to his magical 2009 season.
“Some people say that qualifying No. 1 is not that big of a deal, but to us it’s really awesome,” said Edwards, a two-time winner at HPT. “We’ve been able to do it from sea level to altitudes as high as 4,100 feet, and that’s a great feeling to be able to do it.”
Erica Enders-Stevens qualified second with a 6.625 at 208.30 in her Black iGuana Chevy Camaro and will race fellow Houston native Rodger Brogdon in the first round, while defending event winner and world champ Allen Johnson will start third in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger and will meet Deric Kramer in the opening round.