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Force Brutalizes Track Records At Four-Wides

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 30 2022

Funny Car legend John Force appears to be speeding up with age. (Photo courtesy of John Force Racing)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – John Force fired a loud wake-up call Friday to anyone who thought the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion might be easier to defeat at age 72 as he set two track records during qualifying for the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Force broke the elapsed time Funny Car track record with a 3.850-second run Friday night in the second qualifying round. The old record was 3.851 seconds set by his daughter Courtney Force in 2017. He also broke the speed record for all of the NHRA classes that have competed at zMAX with a 334.24-mph run Friday night. That snapped the record of 334.07 mph set by Jack Beckham in 2019.

“It was straight as an arrow,” Force said about his run that allowed him to leave the track as the provisional No. 1qualifier in Funny Car. “I was thinking it might get loose somewhere and move around, but boy it stuck. That Chevy really has great aerodynamics. When it’s right, it’s right.” 

Also Friday after two rounds of qualifying, Justin Ashley possessed the provisional No.1 position in Top Fuel, while Steve Johnson owned the same position in Pro Stock Motorcycle. 

Ashley displaced Leah Pruett from the top spot with a 3.669-second run, 331.7 mph in the second round. Pruett’s ET of 3.686 seconds, 327.5 mph also came in Friday night’s qualifying session.

“That was a blast,” Ashley said about his second qualifying run. “The faster the run usually is the easier it feels behind the wheel. When things don’t go according to plan that’s when it feels a little bit off. This was smooth. This was straight. It felt good.” 

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Johnson posted a 6.767-second ET, 198.7-mph run in the first qualifying round, but failed to make a run in the second Friday night due to an oil leak. Johnson said he was fortunate because the engine was leaking oil when he made his first qualifying run Friday afternoon.

“I got crazy lucky to make that first run,” Johnson said. “There was oil everywhere on the motorcycle. I can’t believe we didn’t oil the track. I’m the engine guy and it’s driving me crazy. I made a huge mistake and I didn’t tighten some stuff. I know how to fix it, which is really, really good. I’m going to add a procedure to my tightening deal.”   

Angelle Sampey matched Johnson’s 6.767-second ET in Friday night’s qualifying session but was slower with a 196.19-mph run. 

Qualifying is scheduled to resume Saturday at 1 p.m.

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 Results Friday after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 12th annual
Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway, sixth of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag
Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.
Top Fuel — 1. Justin Ashley, 3.669 seconds, 331.77 mph; 2. Leah Pruett, 3.686, 327.51; 3. Steve
Torrence, 3.694, 327.43; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.700, 325.77; 5. Mike Salinas, 3.708, 329.10; 6. Josh
Hart, 3.715, 327.59; 7. Brittany Force, 3.725, 332.92; 8. Austin Prock, 3.725, 330.31; 9. Antron
Brown, 3.729, 329.10; 10. Spencer Massey, 3.749, 325.53; 11. Doug Foley, 3.774, 293.47; 12. Clay
Millican, 3.787, 324.59; 13. Shawn Langdon, 3.798, 322.50; 14. Alex Laughlin, 3.853, 311.05; 15.
Cameron Ferre, 3.854, 319.45; 16. Tony Schumacher, 3.895, 294.56. Not Qualified: 17. Kyle Wurtzel,
3.999, 266.06; 18. Krista Baldwin, 4.214, 242.32.
Funny Car — 1. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.850, 334.24; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.867, 330.55;
3. Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 3.873, 332.02; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.876, 328.38; 5. J.R. Todd,
Supra, 3.893, 330.63; 6. Blake Alexander, Ford Mustang, 3.894, 325.37; 7. Robert Hight, Camaro,
3.905, 326.00; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.909, 329.34; 9. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.960, 321.81; 10.
Paul Lee, Charger, 3.978, 317.49; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.028, 309.49; 12. Jim Campbell,
Charger, 4.082, 246.71; 13. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.100, 255.05; 14. Mike McIntire, Toyota Camry,
4.401, 202.33; 15. Chad Green, Mustang, 8.111, 70.67.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.767, 198.70; 2. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.767,
196.19; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.779, 198.73; 4. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.793, 199.55; 5. Jerry
Savoie, Suzuki, 6.801, 198.29; 6. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.804, 198.47; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki,
6.813, 199.14; 8. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.825, 200.44; 9. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.837, 199.88; 10. Hector
Arana Jr, Buell, 6.840, 196.22; 11. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.885, 193.16; 12. Marc Ingwersen, EBR,
6.924, 196.96; 13. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.934, 194.16; 14. Michael Ray, Victory, 6.961, 194.16; 15.
Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.010, 189.82; 16. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.135, 184.35. Not Qualified: 17.
David Barron, broke.

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 30 2022
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