SONOMA, Calif. — official release — NHRA photo — Courtney Force raced to the current No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car during Friday qualifying at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock), and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Northern California.
Courtney Force ran a 4.045-second pass at 319.22 mph in her Traxxas Ford Mustang to claim the top spot after the first day of qualifying. Force, who claimed the 100th win by a female driver in NHRA history in Topeka, is looking for her third top-starting spot of the season.
“It’s always a good day for me if I’m paired up next to my dad and I can turn on a win light,” said Force, who has five career No. 1 qualifiers. “I don’t care if it’s Q1 or the final round. It just makes my day right there.”
Two-time Funny Car world champ Cruz Pedregon ran his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry to a 4.051 at 311.92 to claim the provisional No. 2 spot. Reigning champion John Force raced against daughter Courtney in the second session and sits third with a 4.070 at 313.73 in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. Denver winner and series points leader Robert Hight sits sixth in his Auto Club Ford Mustang.
In Top Fuel, Brittany Force tied her sister’s provisional No. 1 feat with a 3.762 at 325.53 in her Castrol Edge dragster to take the qualifying lead. Force is going for her third No. 1 starting spot of the season with two sessions remaining. Brittany and Courtney previously qualified No. 1 together in Topeka, the first time two sisters have qualified No. 1 at an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.
“It’s really exciting to go especially with Courtney next to me again,” Force said. “I love coming out to Sonoma. It’s one of my favorite tracks to race on.”
Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta sits second with a 3.791 at 324.20 in his Mac Tools dragster. Seven-time Top Fuel world champ Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army dragster is currently third with a 3.793 at 323.43. Denver winner J.R. Todd is currently qualified eighth in his Optima Batteries dragster.
Line is going for his second No. 1 starting spot in a row in Pro Stock following his 6.550 at 210.93 in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro. Line was the Denver No. 1 qualifier en route to a semifinal appearance and will be looking to lock up another high starting spot for the second stop on the Western Swing.
“The track was very good,” said Line, a two-time winner at Sonoma Raceway. “It’s always good here. It’s a great place to race. We’ve [KB Racing] probably been as successful at this race track as any other one.”
Shane Gray ran his Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro to the second spot with a 6.552 at 211.03. Denver event winner Allen Johnson continued his performance with a 6.558 at 210.97 in his Magneti Marelli Dodge Dart, good for third on the first day of qualifying.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hall ran a 6.951 at 191.54 on his Matt Smith Racing Buell to pace the field. He is looking for his first No. 1 qualifying position.
“I’ve been running so bad lately,” said Hall. “Any kind of win light in qualifying excites me. Obviously, this excites me to be No. 1. Hopefully we can hang on to it tomorrow.”
Jerry Savoie sits second with a 6.953 at 194.38, and Steve Johnson is currently qualified third with a 6.956 at 191.16. Denver winner and points leader Andrew Hines is 12th with two sessions remaining.
Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 12:55 and 3:20 p.m. The MiraMonte Records NHRA Pro Bike Battle, a specialty bonus event that pits eight of the best Pro Stock Motorcycle riders on the planet, will begin at 12:45 p.m.