By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Living legend John Force is the No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car at the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lan NHRA SpringNationals. Force went 3.888 at 319.29 mph on Friday to claim the top spot at Houston Raceway Park presented by Pennzoil in Baytown, Texas.
This is Force’s 156th No. 1 qualifier of his career. This is the first-time that the J. Force and B. Force combo were the No. 1 qualifier at the same event.
“This sport brings me together with my children,” Force said. “That’s what I love about NHRA drag racing. We’re one big family. But to have a moment with her, that her and I can share together, you really become a lot closer, believe it or not.
“They were all really close, the girls, with their mom. But as I raced, like I did with Ashley (Force-Hood), then with Courtney (Force) and now with Brittany, you get closer. So, something like this, it’ll give us a moment of just looking at each other and me being proud of her. I’ve earned a lot of these (No. 1 qualifier) hats, not so many lately but these guys, (crew chiefs, Brian) Corradi and (Danny) Hood, they’re really doing a good job. They give me a hot rod that runs like that. Tomorrow’s a whole new ball game. [Sunday], we have to get after this thing. So [Saturday night], we can share the moment and [on Sunday] we come out here to Houston to entertain the fans.”
Force will face Terry Haddock in the first-round of eliminations.
NAPA Auto Parts pilot Ron Capps is the No. 2 qualifier. The Carlsbad, California native went 3.893 at 319.29 mph.
He will face “The Surfer” Jeff Diehl in their first round pairing.
Levi, Ray, and Shoup Inc. pilot Tim Wilkerson is the No. 3 qualifier. The Springfield, Illinois native went 3.895 at 321.13 mph.
He’ll face Blake Alexander in the first-round of eliminations.
Reigning Funny Car Champion J.R. Todd is the No. 4 qualifier. The Lawrenceburg, Indiana native went 3.903 at 326.08 mph.
He’ll face Jim Campbell in their first round pairing.
AAA of Texas sponsored pilot Robert Hight is the No. 5 qualifier. The Yorba Linda, California native went 3.908 at 314.17 mph.
He’ll face Jonnie Lindberg in the first-round of eliminations.
The rest of the pairings went like this:
6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.916, 318.47 vs. 11. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.959, 312.13
7. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.929, 324.67 vs. 10. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.948, 315.19
8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.932, 311.34 vs. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.940, 316.90.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Todd Simpson, 5.169, 149.56.