Brittany and Courtney Force Keep Top Spots at zMAX
And the Beat Goes On…
Brittany and Courtney Force Hold Onto Top Qualifying Spots at NGK Four Wide Nationals
Building on the momentum already established in the 2018 season, both Brittany and Courtney Force locked in their No.1 qualifying status for Sunday’s NGK Spark Plug Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
• Courtney Force earns her third No. 1 qualifying result of 2018
• Brittany Force’s pole is her career ninth No. 1
• Drew Skillman drove his Camaro to Pro Stock No. 1
• LE Tonglet returned to White Alligator Racing with a No. 1 effort
CONCORD, N.C. – The final day of qualifying for the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals concluded on Saturday afternoon. Funny Car racer Courtney Force along with her sister Brittany in Top Fuel, retained their No. 1 qualifying positions from Friday at zMAX Dragway.
Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the sixth of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
C. Force was able to use her 3.873-second pass at 332.92 mph run during the first day of qualifying in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro to maintain the top position. This is her third No. 1 of the year, her most recent at the event in Las Vegas, and the 20th career.
“I’m really excited for us to come here and race four-wide,” said C. Force. “For us to do it with my sister Brittany and her Monster Energy team right beside us is pretty amazing. I’m really excited and I hope it is something good for what is to come tomorrow and Brittany and I can celebrate in the winner’s circle.”
With the unique four-wide eliminations format she will face No. 16 qualifier Jim Campbell as well as her father John Force, and Tim Wilkerson in the first round.
In Top Fuel, B. Force secured her first No. 1 of the season and the ninth of her career with her run of 3.689 at 318.39 in her Monster Energy Dragster. B. Force and her team suffered a setback at the season opening race when she was involved in an incident. While she was uninjured, her primary car was destroyed in the accident. Her team debuted a new car at the most recent event in Houston, which she won, and now has a No. 1 qualifying position with the new machine.
“This is the third car we have run this season and it isn’t easy when you have to rebuild a whole new car,” said B. Force. “We went out and won the debut race and that is pretty impressive. I have to give credit to Alan Johnson (consultant) and Brian Husen (crew chief) and my Monster guys for making it happen. We are on a role and I’m happy we qualified No. 1 last night, held onto that spot but tomorrow is a whole new day. The plan is to go some rounds and win the thing.”
When eliminations begin on Sunday, she will face Audrey Worm as well as Shawn Reed and Scott Palmer.
Pro Stock is led by Skillman who raced to his sixth No. 1. qualifying position of his career as his 6.534 at 210.37 run from Friday remained the category leader. It is his first top position since the Sonoma event in 2017 for the driver of the Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro.
“Our car has run pretty good all weekend,” said Skillman. “After the second hit we had a lot of momentum going forward this weekend and we have a little bit of work to go yet before Sunday but our team is ready, our car is ready, and I’m ready to go.”
Skillman has yet to win this season and will face Val Smeland, Erica Enders and Jason Line in search of his sixth career victory.
Tonglet, in his first race back with the White Alligator Racing (WAR) Pro Stock Motorcycle team owned by 2016 world champ Jerry Savoie, raced to the No. 1 position with his run of 6.812 at 196.99 in the third round of qualifying. Tonglet the defending event winner, is the 2010 category champion, and earned his sixth career top position on his KPK/Nitrofish Suzuki.
“The success is all on team WAR and we couldn’t do it without them,” said Tonglet. “The build an awesome team, a really good program, and I’m just fortunate to be part of it. The bike is flying and I’m looking forward to going three rounds tomorrow. This is the only track I can say that. We just need to go out there and get win lights at the other end and I feel like I can do that.”
Tonglet will square off against Jim Underdahl, his teamowner Savoie and Hector Arana Jr.
Eliminations at the NGK Sparkplugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals begin at noon on Sunday.
CONCORD, N.C. -- First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the ninth annual NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway, the sixth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Brittany Force, 3.689 seconds, 318.39 mph vs. 16. Audrey Worm, 4.143, 256.84 vs. 8. Shawn Reed, 3.838, 323.43 vs. 9. Scott Palmer, 3.841, 313.58
2. Tony Schumacher, 3.692, 331.61 vs. 15. Leah Pritchett, 4.004, 294.31 vs. 7. Clay Millican, 3.773, 323.27 vs. 10. Dom Lagana, 3.846, 270.21
3. Antron Brown, 3.719, 331.77 vs. 14. Richie Crampton, 3.938, 307.86 vs. 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.758, 327.98 vs. 11. Mike Salinas, 3.884, 309.77
4. Steve Torrence, 3.731, 330.72 vs. 13. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.906, 301.40 vs. 5. Terry McMillen, 3.744, 329.75 vs. 12. Pat Dakin, 3.905, 315.34.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 4.227, 283.43.
Funny Car -- 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.873, 332.92 vs. 16. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.135, 307.44 vs. 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.938, 328.06 vs. 9. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.949, 320.81; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.886, 329.83 vs. 15. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Stratus, 4.089, 315.12 vs. 7. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.920, 323.50 vs. 10. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 3.960, 319.29; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.887, 328.70 vs. 14. John Smith, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.082, 307.23 vs. 6. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.908, 321.42 vs. 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.966, 320.89; 4. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.888, 330.96 vs. 13. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.983, 316.08 vs. 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.907, 326.16 vs. 12. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.973, 325.45.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Diehl, 4.247, 296.37.
Pro Stock -- 1. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.534, 211.69 vs. 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.655, 209.07 vs. 8. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.561, 210.60 vs. 9. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.562, 210.93
2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.548, 211.79 vs. 15. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.636, 208.75 vs. 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.560, 210.90 vs. 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.564, 211.66
3. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.549, 210.83 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.632, 208.39 vs. 6. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.558, 211.06 vs. 11. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.565, 210.93
4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.556, 210.90 vs. 13. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.618, 208.81 vs. 5. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.557, 211.26 vs. 12. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.571, 210.93.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Wally Stroupe, 6.870, 201.79; 18. Tommy Lee, 15.830, 55.12.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.812, 197.59 vs. 16. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.942, 195.25 vs. 8. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.841, 195.48 vs. 9. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.847, 197.31
2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.814, 197.80 vs. 15. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.934, 195.11 vs. 7. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.838, 196.96 vs. 10. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.866, 196.56
3. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.816, 197.74 vs. 14. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.929, 194.38 vs. 6. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.836, 196.73 vs. 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.866, 193.63
4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.827, 198.29 vs. 13. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.919, 194.27 vs. 5. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.833, 199.17 vs. 12. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.898, 196.30.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Mark Paquette, 6.980, 192.88; 18. Kelly Clontz, 7.041, 189.87; 19. Scott Bottorff, 7.055, 190.73; 20. Lance Bonham, 7.179, 188.10; 21. Melissa Surber, 7.397, 152.92.
In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the Four-Wide Nationals weekend, Khalid AlBalooshi held onto the No. 1 qualifying position. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Al-Anabi Performance, is the third of 12 events this season.
During qualifying on Friday AlBalooshi powered his ’18 Camaro raced to the No. 1 qualifying position with a pass of 5.729-seconds at 251.95 mph. This is his fifth top position of his career and his first since the second Charlotte event in 2015.
“I felt it was on a better pass before that one on Friday” said AlBalooshi. “I need a consistent car, consistent lights and I hope I catch a good light, stay consistent. But we are moving in the right direction.” He will face Michael Biehle II, Chad Green, and Chuck Little in the first round of eliminations.
Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.