BAYTOWN, TX – Traxxas backed Courtney Force qualified in the provisional No. 3 spot today after two sessions in the Texas heat. She was No. 12 after the first pass, but came back on the second run to put a 3.915 ET on the board at the 29th annual NHRA SpringNationals. The 27-year-old Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car driver picked up one bonus point for making the third-quickest pass of the second session.
“We’re lucky we were able to get two qualifying sessions in today at Houston. The weather held off great. We got a pretty good crowd out here. Our Traxxas team made a decent pass on the first run. The car tried to pull me hard to the left and I made two minor corrections and it wasn’t doing the job so I tried to pull it a little bit harder and it pulled me hard to the right out of the groove so I had to get out of it early. It still put me in the No. 12 spot with that run.”
“Luckily, we had a second shot at it. My crew chiefs Ronnie Thompson and Dan Hood, they really tuned this thing up and pushed it hard. We were able to run a 3.91 on Q2. That wasn’t all we had in store for that run. It was going to run even harder than that, but it did a little pop-bang at the top end and slowed us down a little bit. I’m hoping we can push it harder tomorrow. We’re excited to be in the No. 3 spot. We picked up a bonus point and we’re excited to see what we can do the rest of the weekend,” said Force.
In the last session Robert Hight and the AAA Texas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team blasted down the left lane and into the top half of the field. Prior to the run Hight was outside the critical top eight but a 3.953 second run at a booming 324.98 mph was enough to secure the No. 5 provisional qualifying spot with a shaky weather forecast for Saturday. The two-time SpringNationals winner suffered through a pedestrian run in the first qualifying session when he experienced tire shake at the top end and posted a 4.000 second run at 322.42 mph which had him 7th at the end of the session.
“That last run was important because you definitely want to be in the top half going into tomorrow. You don’t know what the weather is going to do but I feel good about that run. We had some tire shake on the first run and we had to get more aggressive on that run. I am happy to be running this AAA Texas Camaro and hopefully we’ll get some more runs tomorrow,” said Hight.
After the first session Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel team were the No. 1 dragster on the strength of her 3.761 second run at 298.54 mph. Force picked up three valuable qualifying bonus points and positioned her team to get optimal conditions for the final run on Friday night.
The temperature was dropping throughout the final session and Force was in the last pair with two-time Top Fuel champion Antron Brown. As the tree came down both dragsters launched hard but Force’s dragster lost traction and crossed the finish line with a time of 4.982 seconds. The Brian Husen tuned dragster was obviously trying to chase down eventual provisional No. 1 qualifier Steve Torrence’s 3.724 second run.
“Coming into this weekend weather has definitely been an issue. Your biggest goal is to get qualified on Friday. You don’t know what the weather is going to do so you want to make at least one decent run which we did in Q1. It was an awesome pass. On the second run we pushed it a little bit after we saw what Steve Torrence ran. We were trying to run as quick as him or quicker and it just didn’t work out. We aren’t worried about being 7th since I feel like you can win the race from any position,” said Brittany Force winner of two of the last three races.
Six-time SpringNationals winner John Force was philosophical about his personal performance today. In the opening session he tripped the finish line timing system with a 4.005 second run at 322.11 mph. His ET was just a tick slower than the track record but on a day when nine drivers ran quicker than the previous record the 143-time winner had to settle for the provisional No. 10 qualifying spot. At the end of the day Force realized there were bigger issues in the area and welcomed the chance to bring some entertainment to a water-logged section of Texas.
“I am still up there with a four flat. In this day and age when you have 3.89s by guys like (Tim) Wilkerson with Courtney (Force) and Alexis (DeJoria) running 3.91s it is just unbelievable. I have no complaints about what our cars are doing. My car had a computer issue that threw off the timing,” said Force. “What has been going on in this state of Texas that we all love we were hoping to get out here and give these families a little entertainment. They deserve to have some fun and we were lucky today. The good Lord gave us good weather to get some racing in and tomorrow it looks like we might get to make some more runs. I want to invite everyone to take a break and come out and watch us burn some nitro tomorrow and we’ll give you a show.”
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NHRA ON TV
Saturday, April 30 Qualifying 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM ET/7:00 PM - 8:00 PM PT (FS1)
Sunday, May 1 Finals 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM ET/2:00 PM - 5:00 PM PT (FS1)
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JOHN FORCE, 66, PEAK/Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 10th at 4.005 seconds, 322.11 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
ROBERT HIGHT, 46, AAA Texas Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 5th at 3.953 seconds, 324.98 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
COURTNEY FORCE, 27, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 3rd at 3.915 seconds, 320.66 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q2)
BRITTANY FORCE, 29, Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying: 7th at 3.771 seconds, 319.90 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +3 (Quickest of Q1)