Dallas: Saturday qualifying summary

Schumacher, Force and Anderson race to no. 1 qualifying spots ENNIS, Texas - John Force earned the 117th No. 1 qualifying position of his NHRA career and Greg Anderson is poised to win his first NHRA Pro Stock championship Saturday at the 18th...

Schumacher, Force and Anderson race to no. 1 qualifying spots

ENNIS, Texas - John Force earned the 117th No. 1 qualifying position of his NHRA career and Greg Anderson is poised to win his first NHRA Pro Stock championship Saturday at the 18th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.

Tony Schumacher and Anderson also earned the top qualifying positions in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the 20th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Force drove his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang to a run of 4.814-seconds at 322.11 mph to lead the 16-car Funny Car field. Force said he was just happy the rain has stayed away, unlike the last six weeks where soggy weather has delayed and postponed several rounds of racing.

"It's just a miracle we got four qualifying runs in this weekend," Force said. "When we get less, you can make one error and find yourself in a lot of trouble. Our car is running well right now and we're happy it has been consistent."

Force is now trying to help his teammate, Tony Pedregon, win his first NHRA Funny Car championship. Pedregon leads the points race going into Sunday's elimination rounds.

"One of us has got to win the championship," Force said. "Tony's getting the good parts right now. As soon as I got back to the pits, they pulled off our blower to put on their car."

Schumacher took the No. 1 qualifying spot in the Top Fuel category, going 4.548 at a track record 331.12 in the U.S. Army dragster. It is the third top qualifier of the season and seventh of his career. Schumacher has won three of the last four NHRA events.

"I can't wait for Sunday," Schumacher said. "I have Doug Kalitta in the first round and if we want to take over second place in the points, we have to take him out early. In that situation, there is nobody better to have on your side than (crew chief) Alan Johnson."

If Schumacher can beat Kalitta, the NHRA Top Fuel championship will go to defending champion Larry Dixon. If Kalitta can win the first round, Dixon must win two rounds to clinch his second consecutive series crown.

Anderson drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.826 at 203.11 to pace the Pro Stock field. If Anderson can win his first round matchup against Mark Pawuk, he will clinch his first Pro Stock championship.

"Every run the car got quicker," Anderson said. "This is Pro Stock haven here at the Motorplex. This place just loves Pro Stock cars. If you can't do a good job here, you can't run anywhere. It should be cooler Sunday and that means we could see some 6.70s."

Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Mark Pawuk , Tony Pedregon , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson