By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Advance Auto Parts Funny Car pilot Courtney Force is the No. 1 qualifier for the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. This is Force’s fourth straight No. 1 qualifier.
Force had a 3.893 at 322.65 on Saturday after Friday’s qualifying sessions were rained out. This is her 14th career No. 1 qualifier.
“To have four No. 1 qualifiers in a row is pretty insane,” Force said. “Obviously our ultimate goal is to turn this green hat into a yellow one tomorrow. I think my team deserves a win after all of the No. 1 qualifiers they’ve been putting out there. Really hope we can get it done.”
She’ll face “The Surfer” Jeff Diehl in the first round of eliminations. Diehl in his Jeff Diehl Racing Toyota Solara on Sunday after he went 11.290 at 67.99.
Each time she collected the No. 1 qualifier during this stretch, he also set a track record.
“We’re just trying to get this car consistent from the first pass,” Force said. “I shut it off early (in the first session Saturday); it was trying to get a little bit to the centerline. We looked at it, and it was running how we wanted it. It was supposed to be an early shutoff originally, and it did exactly what we wanted.
“For my Advance Auto Parts team, for this Chevy Camaro, for PEAK, for Auto Club, for Monster Energy, I’m really excited for my sponsors to give them another No. 1 qualifier hat and hopefully a win tomorrow. That’s what my team deserves. For round one, we’re looking for consistency. It’s really important for our team to find it and maybe with this new car, we will.”
Matt Hagan is the No. 2 qualifier for Don Schumacher Racing. He went 3.930 at 325.45 mph in his Dodge Charger R/T and will face Cruz Pedregon in the first-round, as he went 5.709 at 120.22 mph.
Tommy Johnson Jr., another DSR Funny Car, qualified No. 3 with a 3.937 at 319.29 mph. He’ll face his DSR teammate Jack Beckman, who went 5.584 at 124.27 mph.
Ron Capps — the reigning Funny Car champion — is the No. 4 qualifier after a 3.955 at 323.97 mph pass. He’ll face J.R. Todd in his DHL Funny Car, who qualified with a 5.052 at 149.22 mph run.
Living legend John Force is the No. 5 qualifier with a 3.974 at 314.39 mph pass. He’ll face Lucas Oil-sponsored Del Worsham in the Worsham Family Funny Car, who had a 4.599 at 225.52 mph run.
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