Force Sisters Top Sonoma Round 1 Qualifying
Sisters Courtney and Brittany Force amped-up their intramural rivalry Friday by racing to provisional pole positions in Funny Car and Top Fuel, respectively, during the opening day of qualifications for the 27th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
Jason Line (Pro Stock) and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Northern California, the second of three races comprising the annual Western Swing.
Courtney Force, who claimed the 100th win by a female driver in NHRA history at Heartland Park Topeka earlier this season, covered the 1,000-foot distance in 4.045-seconds at 319.22 mph in her Traxxas Ford Mustang to claim the top spot in Funny Car.
Brittany Force covered the same distance in 3.762-seconds at 325.53 mph in her Castrol EDGE dragster. The youngest daughters of 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force will be chasing their third poles of the season when qualifying continues Saturday with two sessions. Brittany and Courtney previously qualified No. 1 together in Topeka, the first time two sisters have claimed poles at an NHRA national event.
“It’s always a good day for me if I’m paired up to next to my dad and I can turn on a win light,” said Courtney, who has five career No. 1 qualifiers. “I don’t care if it’s Q1 or the final round. It just makes my day right there.
“This is the middle of the Western Swing. To me, this is childhood memories all wrapped up at this event. I love coming out here. Obviously, I’m a California girl. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to sweep the Western Swing because we weren’t able to get the job done in Denver. But just to come out here so far and to be No. 1 qualifier _ it will hopefully be my third of the season _ but you never know until tomorrow. These guys are figuring it out and I think they’re going to continue to do that through Q3 and Q4.”
Two-time Funny Car world champ Cruz Pedregon ran his Snap-On Tools Toyota Camry to a 4.051-second pass at 311.92 mph to claim the No. 2 spot. Reigning champion John Force, who raced against Courtney in the second session, sits third at 4.070-seconds at 313.73 mph in his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford. Denver winner and series point-leader Robert Hight _ a former world champion and the fourth member of John Force Racing _ sits sixth in his Auto Club Mustang.
Brittany Force, the 2012 NHRA Auto Club Rookie of the Year, began the Western Swing with a runnerup finish at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., near Denver.
“It’s really exciting to go to No. 1, especially with my sister Courtney next to me in Funny Car,” Brittany said. “We did that back in Topeka and that was awesome, so it’s great to do it again out here in Sonoma, as I love coming out here; it’s one of my favorite tracks.”
Top Fuel point-leader Doug Kalitta sits second with a 3.791-second pass at 324.20 mph in his Mac Tools dragster. Seven-time Top Fuel world champ Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army dragster currently is third at 3.793-seconds at 323.43 mph. Denver winner J.R. Todd is eighth in his Optima Batteries dragster.
Line, a two-time world champion, is seeking his second Pro Stock pole in a row following his 6.550-second quarter-mile run at 210.93 mph in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro. Line rode the Denver No. 1 qualifier en route to a semifinal appearance.
“The track was very good,” said Line, a two-time winner at Sonoma Raceway. “It’s always good here. It’s a great place to race. We’ve (KB Racing) probably been as successful at this racetrack as any other one.”
Shane Gray ran his Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro to the second spot with a 6.552-second pass at 211.03 mph. Denver winner Allen Johnson, a former world champion, continued his strong performance with a 6.558-second run at 210.97 mph in his Magneti-Marelli Dodge Dart, good for third.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hall ran the quarter-mile in 6.951-seconds at 191.54 mph aboard his Matt Smith Racing Buell to pace the field.
“I’ve been running so bad lately any kind of win light in qualifying excites me,” Hall said. “Obviously this excites me to be No. 1. Hopefully we can hang on to it.”
Jerry Savoie sits second with a 6.953-second pass at 194.38 mph while Steve Johnson is third at 6.956-seconds and 191.16 mph. Denver winner and point-leader Andrew Hines is 12th aboard his Harley-Davidson with sessions remaining Saturday at 12:55 and 3:20 p.m. The MiraMonte Records Pro Bike Battle, a specialty bonus event matching eight of the best Pro Stock Motorcycle riders on the tour, will begin at 12:45 p.m.
ESPN will air a one-hour qualifying show Saturday at 7 p.m. (EDT) and three hours of elimination round coverage on Sunday at 9 p.m.
Friday’s qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 27th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, 15th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.
Top Fuel _1. Brittany Force, 3.762-seconds, 325.53 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.791, 324.20; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.793, 323.43; 4. Antron Brown, 3.796, 319.60; 5. Richie Crampton, 3.799, 324.05; 6. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 3.806, 319.60; 7. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.828, 316.52; 8. J.R. Todd, 3.836, 316.82; 9. Billy Torrence, 3.886, 314.31; 10. Shawn Langdon, 3.890, 313.37; 11. Steve Torrence, 3.898, 314.24; 12. Mike Salinas, 3.905, 290.44.
Not Qualified _ 13. Troy Buff, 3.929, 304.80; 14. Spencer Massey, 3.934, 306.19; 15. Clay Millican, 3.971, 301.94; 16. Terry McMillen, 4.201, 219.29; 17. Steven Chrisman, 4.292, 255.87.
Funny Car _ 1. Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 4.045, 319.22; 2. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.051, 311.92; 3. John Force, Mustang, 4.070, 313.73; 4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.075, 314.83; 5. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.075, 307.30; 6. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.088, 310.48; 7. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.093, 314.61; 8. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.098, 312.57; 9. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.125, 309.98; 10. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.129, 307.37; 11. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.185, 298.01; 12. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.214, 270.48.
Not Qualified _ 13. Jeff Diehl, 4.254, 290.38; 14. John Hale, 4.409, 269.29; 15. Tim Wilkerson, 4.444, 209.07; 16. Gary Densham, 4.480, 271.73; 17. Paul Lee, 5.157, 149.36.
Pro Stock _1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.550, 210.93; 2. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.552, 211.03; 3.Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.558, 210.97; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.562, 210.93; 5. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.564, 209.85; 6. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Dart, 6.574, 210.64; 7. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.593, 210.54; 8. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.602, 209.98; 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.612, 209.95; 10. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.613, 209.56; 11. Matt Hartford, Avenger, 6.621, 209.49; 12. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.643, 209.10.
Not Qualified _ 13. Tommy Lee, 6.677, 206.99; 14. Larry Morgan, 6.742, 207.46; 15. Joey Grose, 6.932, 198.23.
Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. John Hall, Buell, 6.951, 192.11; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.953, 194.38; 3. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.956, 191.16; 4. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.964, 191.81; 5. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.984, 192.55; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.987, 191.13; 7. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.991, 190.48; 8. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.992, 191.48; 9. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.995, 190.59; 10.Adam Arana, Buell, 6.997, 190.86; 11. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.004, 189.52; 12. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.022, 189.60.
Not Qualified _13. Katie Sullivan, 7.066, 189.31; 14. Shawn Gann, 7.094, 188.46; 15. Freddie Camarena, 7.099, 189.92; 16. Chaz Kennedy, 7.146, 185.28.No Comment