Force’s power their ways to the top of the Nitro ladders in Friday night’s Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals, my thoughts

BROWNSBURG, Ind — The name of the series as well as the name of race weekend may be different, but Friday night’s NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series’ 60th trip to the Lucas Oil Raceway for the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals packed the typical same punch as it annually does.

Sometimes though, the best dish is savored when its served at the very end.

Following a pulse pounding night of speed on the west side of Indianapolis, Brittany Force turned in the top time of the opening day of action with a blazing hot pass in her Monster Energy dragster of 3.684 (334.57 mph).

That shouldn’t come much of a shock though with Force being the No. 1 qualifier in seven of her 12 previous races this season, five of which coming all consecutively.

Last year’s US Nationals/Top Fuel champion, Steve Torrence, went against Force in the final pairing and used that quality spot in Q1 to turn in the second quickest pass at 3.688 ET (329.50 mph).

Torrence, has qualified second in three of the last five races to Force and was actually the last to top her in qualifying too, as that came six races ago in Norwalk.

2019 US Nationals winner, Doug Kalitta, was P3 (3.751 ET, 317.05 mph) while Josh Hart bested Leah Pruett for the fourth spot in a tiebreaker. Both went 3.755 ET, but Hart’s speed of 325.22 mph compared to Pruett’s 322.88 puts him fourth and her fifth at the moment.

On the flip side, last year’s winner, Shawn Langdon, was 16th overall and holds the 16th and final qualifier spot into the Big Go at 4.553 ET.

Mike Salinas (4.908 ET), Lex Joon (5.166 ET) and 2018 winner Clay Millican (5.555 ET) are on the outside looking in.

While we have the 2017 and 2019 winners in the top three, we have the 2018 and 2020 winners in the bottom four too.

John Force is eyeing his 2nd US Nationals triumph in 3 years – NHRA Media Site

In Funny Car action, Force’s dad, John Force, currently sits at the No. 1 qualifier with a 3.877 ET (330.72 mph). Force, last won the top qualifying spot for a race in Charlotte as the 2019 US Nationals winner hasn’t qualified better than sixth in each of the last three races entering the weekend.

Like in Top Fuel, we had a tie in ET with Bob Tasca III and Robert Hight each running 3.889 ET under the lights of a seasonal September Indiana night. With the aroma of Nitro and Goodyear rubber in the clear night sky, Tasca III earned the tiebreaker in going 332.67 mph with Hight being at 329.67 mph.

10 total cars went in the 3-second ET barrier with Cruz Pedregon (3.896 ET), JR Todd (3.905 ET), Ron Capps (3.907), Alexis DeJoria (3.915 ET), Tim Wilkerson (3.949 ET), Bobby Bode III (3.952 ET) and Blake Alexander (3.970) all pretty much turning in evenly matched times.

You may be noticing an absence of points leader Matt Hagan who unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and as a result, will miss this weekend’s prestigious event. That will turn the standings on its head with Tasca III and Todd each trailing him by only 15 points coming into the final race of the regular season as well as Force being 16 points out in fourth.

Tasca III was second, Todd in fifth and Force in first while fifth place in points, Ron Capps, was sixth. Factor in Hight (3rd), DeJoria (7th), Pedregon (4th) and Wilkerson (8th) and you get 2nd through 9th in points taking spots 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 in Friday’s times.

Tommy Johnson Jr. is subbing for Hagan but didn’t make a pass after the crew found a malfunction with his car before he took off.

Kyle Koretsky (6.572 ET) was P1 in Pro Stocks while Eddie Krawiec (6.824 ET) was fastest in Pro Stock Bikes.

Of Note

Saturday’s schedule was adjusted a bit with the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying being moved up to Noon ET. That’s due to a threat of rain which is why the session was moved.

Q3 is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET, weather permitting too.

Other News Of The Day

Not only is the Funny Car points leader listed as out this weekend following a positive COVID-19 test, not only is Saturday’s schedule being adjusted due to the threat from mother nature, but we also got some big news on the future schedule front as well.

NHRA announced the All-Star Shootouts are coming back next season to the Gatornationals as well as here. The All-Star Shootouts will consist of the top eight drivers in both Top Fuel and Funny Car categories.

The top seeds will get to pick their opponents, then the second, third and fourth seeds following suit.

Top Fuel will have their shootout in Gainesville with their 8-car field being set from a combination of season end and qualifying points at the 2022 Lucas Oil NHRA Winernationals as well as the NHRA Arizona Nationals.

Funny Car’s will be here next year.

On top of this, the 2022 US Nationals will see the final eliminations being moved back to Monday (Labor Day) for the first time since 2019.

Top Fuel Times

  1. Force 3.684
  2. STorrence 3.688
  3. Kalitta 3.751
  4. Hart 3.755
  5. Pruett 3.755
  6. BTorrence 3.756
  7. Carrillo 3.769
  8. Laughlin 3.771
  9. Ashley 3.796
  10. Wurtzel 3.849
  11. Tatum 3.870
  12. Morrison 4.107
  13. Hull 4.162
  14. Baldwin 4.194
  15. Brown 4.305
  16. Langdon 4.553

Outside Looking In

17. Salinas 4.908

18. Joon 5.166

19. Millican 5.555

Funny Car

  1. Force 3.877
  2. Tasca III 3.889
  3. Hight 3.889
  4. Pedregon 3.896
  5. Todd 3.905
  6. Capps 3.907
  7. DeJoria 3.915
  8. Wilkerson 3.949
  9. Bode 3.952
  10. Alexander 3.970
  11. Schriefer 4.097
  12. Campbell 4.176
  13. Richards 4.433
  14. Green 4.482
  15. Haddock 5.194
  16. Creasy Jr. 6.609

Outside Looking IN:

17. Lee 7.240

Pro Stock

  1. Koretsky 6.572
  2. Coughlin Jr. 6.584
  3. Enders 6.588
  4. Glenn 6.592
  5. Delco 6.598
  6. Hartford 6.606
  7. Anderson 6.607
  8. CMcGaha 6.629
  9. Brogdon 6.631
  10. Kramer 6.632
  11. Stanfield 6.635
  12. MMcGaha 6.639
  13. FCuadra Jr. 6.644
  14. Massel 6.682
  15. CCuadra 6.696
  16. Morgan 6.791

Outside Looking IN

17. Benza 13.494

18. FCuadra 16.943

Pro Stock Bikes

  1. Krawiec 6.826
  2. Johnson 6.860
  3. Pollacheck 6.866
  4. Arana Jr. 6.871
  5. ASmith 6.886
  6. MSmith 6.892
  7. Sampey 6.924
  8. Stoffer 6.954
  9. Phillips 6.970
  10. Reed 6.998
  11. Oehler 7.003
  12. Gladstone 7.012
  13. Salinas 7.057
  14. Tornow 7.087
  15. Ingwersen 7.116
  16. Hines 7.138

Outside Looking IN

17. Clontz 7.146

18. Underdahl 7.160

19. Bostick 7.160

20. Poskey 7.162


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