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Millican Round 1 Leader In Baytown

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 22 2017

Clay Millican had the best Top Fuel pass Friday in Texas. (Photo by Marc Gewertz/NHRA)

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Clay Millican powered his Parts Plus/Great Clips Top Fuel dragster into the provisional qualifying lead with a track-record elapsed time Friday at the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas.

 Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) also were provisional leaders in their respective categories at the fifth of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season schedule near Houston.

Seeking his first NHRA Top Fuel win after eight final-round appearances, Millican set the 1,000-foot track E.T. record with his 3.722-second run at 325.69 mph during the second session.

“I got to do my favorite thing and go out there and stomp on the ‘loud pedal,’^” said Millican, a two-time pole-winner last season working with crew chief David Grubnic. “I didn’t expect to go No. 1; I really didn’t. I hope it’s a typical Houston day tomorrow at 100 degrees and we stay No. 1.”

Antron Brown, the three-time/reigning Top Fuel world champion from Don Schumacher Racing, is second with a 3.723-second pass at 322.50 mph in his Matco Tools dragster. Doug Kalitta sits third in the Mac Tools dragster while Brittany Force is fourth in the Monster Energy car.

Courtney Force set both ends of the 1,000-foot track record with her 3.851-second run at 330.23 mph during the second session in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car. Force won here last season and is aiming to secure her first victory of 2017. 

“I don’t care if I have a million distractions to get the car running down there,” said Force, daughter of 16-time world champion John Force of John Force Racing. “To run a 3.85 and to get that track record on both ends felt amazing. To do it in front of all of these fans down here in Texas _ at the track that we won at last year _ we’ve definitely got something to prove.”

Reigning Funny Car world champion Ron Capps of DSR is second with a 3.884-second pass at 326.56 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. John Force is third in his PEAK Camaro SS and two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon is fourth after running a career-best 3.897-seconds in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry.

In Pro Stock, Coughlin Jr. drove his JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevy Camaro into the lead with a quarter-mile pass in 6.557-seconds at 210.70 mph during the second round. Coughlin is chasing his first pole since the 2014 Las Vegas spring race.

“The Q2 run was a really nice run,” said Coughlin, a five-time world champion. “It feels fantastic. The car was letter-perfect and I hardly touched the steering wheel the whole way down. It‘s a testament to the Elite Performance group’s hard work as we transitioned into Chevrolets this year.” Coughlin competed in Dodge Darts last year along with teammate and two-time world champion Erica Enders.

Bo Butner of Ken Black Racing is in the No. 2 spot at 6.560-seconds and 210.80 mph in his Jim Butner’s Auto Camaro. Teammate Greg Anderson, a four-time world champ, is third in the Summit Racing Equipment Camaro with rookie Tanner Gray fourth in the Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Camaro.

Qualifying continues Saturday at 1:15 p.m. with the final session slated for 4 p.m. Kalitta (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Anderson (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of an event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including three hours of finals coverage starting at 6 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday. FS1 will air one-hour of qualifying from Saturday at 2 a.m. Sunday, with a repeat broadcast at 5 p.m.

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Mike Castellana earned the provisional qualifying lead during the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway. This weekend’s Pro Mod event, presented by Real Pro Mod Association, is the second of 12 this season.

Castellana ran quickest in both sessions to hold onto the lead in his Al Anabi Racing 2017 Chevrolet Camaro. His 5.759-second pass at 250.46 mph during the second session set the track elapsed time record.

“It feels great, you know,” Castellana said. “I owe it all to my crew. I got the easy part _ I just let the clutch out and steer. They do all the hard work and make all the calls, so all the credit goes to them.”

Jonathon Gray, who is racing Rickie Smith’s second car while Smith recovers from back surgery, is second with a 5.788-second pass at 250.97 mph. Shane Molinari is third at 5.792-seconds at 257.24 mph; Danny Rowe is fourth at 5.800-seconds 250.00 mph.

Castellana currently is second in points behind Steven Whiteley, who won the season-opening Pro Mod Series event in Gainesville, Fla. Whiteley is not yet qualified for eliminations, sitting in the 24th spot. J&A Service Pro Mod Series qualifying continues Saturday at approximately 3 p.m., with the first round of eliminations slated for 5:30 p.m.

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Friday’s qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations:

Top Fuel _ 1. Clay Millican, 3.722-seconds, 325.69 mph; 2. Antron Brown, 3.723, 322.50; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.731, 327.03; 4. Brittany Force, 3.745, 327.27; 5. Leah Pritchett, 3.747, 326.87; 6. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 3.781, 320.43; 7. Tony Schumacher, 3.814, 307.51; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.825, 314.53; 9. Scott Palmer, 3.832, 316.52; 10. Shawn Reed, 3.869, 320.43; 11. Steve Torrence, 3.980, 258.52; 12. Troy Coughlin Jr., 4.094, 209.07; 13. Terry McMillen, 4.254, 208.04; 14. Terry Haddock, 4.701, 168.77; 15. Steven Chrisman, 5.767, 119.17; 16. Troy Buff, 7.023, 87.97.

Funny Car _ 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.851, 330.23; 2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.884, 326.56; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.890, 325.53; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.897, 324.98; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.931, 327.11; 6. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.961, 323.50; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.995, 320.97; 8. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.250, 223.65; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.551, 183.67; 10. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.862, 167.76; 11. Robert Hight, Camaro, 5.315, 135.97; 12. Del Worsham, Camry, 6.346, 104.53; 13. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 7.144, 86.40; 14. Todd Simpson, Camaro, 8.421, 85.90; 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 8.527, 74.10.

Pro Stock _ 1. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chevy Camaro, 6.557, 210.70; 2. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.560, 211.03; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.563, 211.10; 4. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.575, 209.79; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.576, 211.20; 6. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.591, 210.44; 7. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.602, 209.85; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.611, 209.59; 9. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.620, 209.36; 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.623, 209.72; 11. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.656, 208.84; 12. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.667, 209.01; 13. Richie Stevens, Dart, 6.888, 188.07.

Friday’s qualifying results after the first two of three rounds of time trials for the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway, second of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Saturday’s first round of eliminations:

Pro Modified _ 1. Mike Castellana, Chevy Camaro, 5.759, 250.97; 2. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 5.788, 250.97; 3. Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 5.792, 257.24; 4. Danny Rowe, Chevy Corvette, 5.800, 250.00; 5. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.813, 252.28; 6. Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.815, 247.29; 7. Troy Coughlin, Corvette, 5.820, 253.90; 8. Bob Rahaim, Corvette, 5.837, 248.11; 9. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.847, 249.53; 10. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 5.861, 249.44; 11. Shannon Jenkins, Ford Mustang, 5.868, 247.02; 12. Kevin Fiscus, Mustang, 5.893, 249.95; 13. Chip King, Dodge Daytona, 5.895, 245.49; 14. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.913, 233.96; 15. Kevin Rivenbark, Corvette, 5.916, 241.54; 16. Michael Biehle, Mustang, 5.920, 252.19.

Not Qualified _ 17. Doug Winters, 5.928, 241.80; 18. Jim Whiteley, 5.936, 245.27; 19. Todd Tutterow, 5.946, 244.16; 20. Eric Latino, 5.967, 251.34; 21. Pete Farber, 5.986, 244.29; 22. Sidnei Frigo, 6.119, 228.27; 23. Chuck Little, 6.235, 234.90; 24. Steven Whiteley, 6.355, 175.62; 25. Ruben Tetsoshvili, 6.540, 174.87; 26. Clint Satterfield, 7.067, 228.31; 27. Harry Hruska, 8.349, 113.93; 28. Mike Knowles, 9.262, 97.51.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 22 2017
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