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Force Sisters On Top At Four-Wides

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 28 2018

Courtney Force launches during Friday night’s qualifying session in Concord, N.C. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – Sisters Brittany and Courtney Force owned the No. 1 starting positions in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, after two rounds of qualifying Friday in the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Brittany, who was fifth fastest after the first round, soared to the No. 1 position in Top Fuel with a track record elapsed time of 3.689 seconds in the second round, which was held at night. The old record was 3.713 seconds set by J.R. Todd in March 2015.

Courtney posted her E.T of 3.873 seconds, 332.92 mph, in Funny Car in the opening round. It’s the first time the sisters have been in the media center together as the No. 1 qualifiers since 2016 at Topeka, Kan.

“It’s pretty exciting to be able to share this with my sister,” Brittany said. “Every weekend whether it’s a bad weekend or a good weekend, she’s right there for me. I always lean on her. I go to her for advice.”

Other competitors with the provisional No. 1 qualifying positions were Drew Skillman in Pro Stock with an E.T. of 6.534 seconds and Cory Reed in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.838-second E.T.

Due to the cool temperature during the night session, Brittany believed the times would be quicker than those recorded on Saturday during the two afternoon sessions that begin at 2 p.m.

“This will be the run for the weekend. This was our best shot for going No. 1,” said Brittany, who drove the same dragster she piloted to victory last weekend in Texas. “Tomorrow is more about getting ready for Sunday.”

Courtney described it as a “great start” to the weekend.

“Obviously, it would be pretty cool if we could both hold on to it through tomorrow night, but there’s a lot of great cars out here; a lot of great competition,” Courtney said.

Sitting in a much more comfortable position than one week ago, 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force currently is eighth after a 3.938-second pass at 328.06 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro SS. Force failed to qualify at Royal Purple Raceway last Saturday, snapping a streak of 221 consecutive starts.

“That was a good run,” said “Brute” Force. “We’re in the show and that’s what our sponsors expect. We struggled last week but we’re getting back. We’ll keep getting better. This is a great facility and the fans love four-wide. We’ll get two more shots tomorrow and make the best of them.”

In Pro Stock, Skillman took the provisional pole in his Chevrolet Camaro SS after covering the traditional quarter-mile in 6.534-seconds at 210.37 mph during the second qualifying session. Skillman is seeking his first pole of the season and sixth of his career.

“We finally made a good pass, (but) our car has had the potential all season,” Skillman said. “Last season we ran really strong middle of the year and end of the summer. We got lost over the winter somehow but we’re kind of inching our way back. We went testing a couple of days ago and it’s showing.”

Reed raced to the qualifying lead in Pro Stock Motorcycle during the second session with a quarter-mile pass of 6.838-seconds at 193.54 mph aboard his Buell. The 2016 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner as NHRA’s rookie of the year, Reed is aiming for his first career No. 1 qualifying position.

“This bike took off and it felt like a rocket,” Reed said. “It was one of the smoothest runs I’ve had in a real long time and I can’t tell you how hard this team has been working for this.” Reed’s E.T. was just four-thousandths-of-a-second shy of setting a new career best.

“Honestly, after the first run, we didn’t get any data because it shook so hard,” Reed said. “So, I went up in the second session with no expectations really and when I heard what we ran, I couldn’t believe it. This definitely is a high point for all of us.”

Point-leader Eddie Krawiec, the four-time/reigning world champion, is seventh following his 6.872-second pass at 191.29 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod. Krawiec won the season’s first Pro Stock Bike event at historic Gainesville Raceway in Florida last month.

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Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the ninth annual NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., sixth 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, 3.689-seconds, 318.39 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.692, 331.61; 3. Antron Brown, 3.719, 331.77; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.731, 330.72; 5. Terry McMillen, 3.744, 329.75; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.758, 327.98; 7. Clay Millican, 3.773, 289.82; 8. Shawn Reed, 3.838, 323.43; 9. Dom Lagana, 3.846, 270.21; 10. Pat Dakin, 3.933, 309.13; 11. Kyle Wurtzel, 4.019, 247.34; 12. Audrey Worm, 4.143, 256.84; 13. Mike Salinas, 4.225, 197.33; 14. Terry Haddock, 4.227, 283.43; 15. Leah Pritchett, 4.249, 217.56; 16. Scott Palmer, 4.888, 147.15.
Not Qualified _ 17. Richie Crampton, 6.331, 90.71.

Funny Car _ 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.873, 332.92; 2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.886, 329.83; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.887, 328.70; 4. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.888, 330.96; 5. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.907, 326.16; 6. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.908, 321.42; 7. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.920, 323.50; 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.938, 328.06; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.949, 320.81; 10. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.966, 320.89; 11. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.973, 325.45; 12. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.983, 316.08; 13. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.062, 257.04; 14. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Stratus, 4.089, 315.12; 15. John Smith, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.156, 274.05; 16. Jim Campbell, Charger, 8.661, 77.26.
Not Qualified _ 17. Jeff Diehl, 8.756, 83.50.

Pro Stock _ 1. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.534, 210.50; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.548, 211.00; 3. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.549, 210.08; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.556, 210.31; 5. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.557, 211.26; 6. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.558, 210.90; 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.560, 210.64; 8. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.561, 210.24; 9. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.562, 210.01; 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.564, 211.39; 11. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.565, 210.57; 12. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.571, 210.93; 13. John Gaydosh Jr., Camaro, 6.622, 208.81; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.632, 208.39; 15. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.662, 208.07; 16. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.870, 201.79.

Not Qualified _ 17. Kenny Delco, 12.588, 69.70; 18. Tommy Lee, 15.830, 55.12.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.838, 193.54; 2. Hector Arana Jr., EBR, 6.848, 197.31; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.859, 196.64; 4. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.861, 195.48; 5. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.863, 193.21; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.866, 193.63; 7. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.872, 195.22; 8. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.874, 194.18; 9. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.881, 194.52; 10. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.882, 194.91; 11. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.898, 191.59; 12. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.934, 195.11; 13. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.948, 188.91; 14. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.953, 192.63; 15. Mark Paquette, Victory, 6.980, 189.84; 16. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.985, 192.30. Not Qualified _17. Angie Smith, 7.004, 191.29; 18. Scott Bottorff, 7.055, 188.12; 19. Lance Bonham, 7.315, 186.15; 20. Melissa Surber, 7.397, 152.92; 21. Kelly Clontz, 20.815, 25.48.
Khalid AlBalooshi thundered

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 28 2018
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