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Force, Capps, Gray and Smith lead qualifying at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago

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Force, Capps, Gray and Smith lead qualifying at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago
Jul 9, 2016, 1:56 PM

Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 19th annual K&N Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway,

Ron Capps
Ron Capps
Doug Kalitta
Tim Wilkerson
Bo Butner
Steve Johnson
Bo Butner
Robert Hight
Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson
Robert Hight
Matt Smith
Doug Kalitta
Ron Capps
Tim Wilkerson
Bo Butner
Steve Johnson
Shane Gray
Shawn Langdon
Ron Capps
Brittany Force
Doug Kalitta

Joliet, Ill. – Brittany Force led a parade of track record performances Friday at the K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals by powering to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel.

Ron Capps (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders in their classes at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.

Funny Car

Force, a two-time winner this season, celebrated her 30th birthday by posting the fourth quickest Top Fuel elapsed time in history, a track record of 3.692 seconds at 325.69 mph in her Monster Energy dragster.

“I was shocked that we ran that because it was such a big jump from what we ran earlier,” said Force, who improved from third to first in the qualifying order with the effort. “It felt good. I got out and thanked my team, crew chief [Brian Husen] and Alan Johnson [consultant]. They are the ones who make it happen and it really is a team effort. To run a number like that and be No. 1 is exactly where we want to be and it is the absolute best birthday present ever.”

Series leader Doug Kalitta, a three-time winner this season, qualified second in his Mac Tools dragster with a 3.732 at a track record speed of 330.55. Shawn Langdon, who enters this event riding a two-race winning streak, was third in his Sandvik/ Red Fuel dragster with a 3.739 at 327.19. Native Chicagoan Tony Schumacher, a five-time winner at this track, sits fourth in his U.S. Army dragster with a 3.744 at 326.63.

Top Fuel — 1. Brittany Force, 3.692 seconds, 326.87 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.732, 330.55; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.739, 327.19; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.744, 326.63; 5. J.R. Todd, 3.748, 320.43; 6. Steve Torrence, 3.748, 321.04; 7. Antron Brown, 3.753, 319.37; 8. Richie Crampton, 3.753, 311.56; 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.811, 321.50; 10. Pat Dakin, 3.823, 317.79; 11. Terry McMillen, 3.940, 309.56; 12. T.J. Zizzo, 3.942, 248.98. Not Qualified: 13. Clay Millican, 4.245, 200.65; 14. Kyle Wurtzel, 4.526, 171.29; 15. Chris Karamesines, 4.623, 176.77; 16. Luigi Novelli, 9.495, 81.81.

Funny Car

Capps, who has won three of the last four races and earned four No. 1 qualifying positions this season in Funny Car, continued the red-hot trend by covering the distance with a track record time of 3.888 at 328.78 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T.

“Man I am loving this right now, it is so much fun,” said Capps, the series points leader. “I am so proud of [crew chief] Rahn Tobler and what we’ve done. When we left Topeka we were close, but Rahn and the guys worked so hard between races to give us what we’ve needed and in New Hampshire it just showed and we’ve been able to keep it going from there.”

Local favorite Tim Wilkerson, of Springfield, Ill., was second in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang, clocking a 3.894 at a track record speed of 330.23 mph. Robert Hight qualified third in his Auto Club Chevy Camaro with a 3.894 at 325.22. Three-time Chicago winner Matt Hagan is fourth with a 3.895 at 330.07 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger.

Funny Car — 1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.888, 328.78; 2. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.894, 330.23; 3. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.894, 325.22; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.895, 330.07; 5. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.895, 328.06; 6. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.910, 321.58; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.921, 325.45; 8. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.930, 324.20; 9. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.958, 326.87; 10. John Force, Camaro, 3.979, 312.93; 11. Chad Head, Camry, 3.982, 315.34; 12. Brian Stewart, Mustang, 4.075, 309.70. Not Qualified: 13. John Hale, 4.083, 315.42; 14. Bob Tasca III, 4.091, 240.81; 15. Justin Schriefer, 4.303, 297.29; 16. Cruz Pedregon, 4.585, 179.95; 17. Bob Bode, 4.850, 164.41.

Pro Stock

Gray momentarily broke the stranglehold that Jason Line and Greg Anderson have had over the Pro Stock class by posting the day’s quickest run. Gray powered his Valvoline/Nova Services Chevy Camaro to a leading time of 6.578 at 209.43 to pace the 16-car field.

“I think we are catching up we just need to find the consistency to go and repeat what we did tonight, tomorrow,” Gray said. “It showed tonight that we’ve got it. We’re capable. I’ve got a wonderful group of guys from [crew chief] Dave Connolly on down and great guys in the engine shop. My dad [retired Funny Car driver Johnny Gray] has supported this deal for seven years and we couldn’t do it without him for sure. Everything is starting to come around and it’s actually fun to be at the race track.”

Bo Butner trailed Gray with a 6.596 at 210.21 in his Jim Butner Auto Camaro and series leader Line was third in his Summit Racing Camaro with a 6.599 at 210.01. Anderson is fourth with a 6.610 at 209.30 in his Summit Camaro.

Pro Stock — 1. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.578, 209.43; 2. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.596, 210.21; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.599, 210.01; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.610, 209.30; 5. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.616, 209.07; 6. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.620, 208.75; 7. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.623, 208.46; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.626, 208.36; 9. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.637, 207.82; 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.645, 207.08; 11. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.666, 208.07; 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.720, 204.85. Not Qualified: 13. Dave River, 6.773, 203.86; 14. Kevin Lawrence, 6.782, 204.01; 15. Mark Hogan, 6.802, 202.88; 16. Charlie Westcott Jr., 6.805, 202.88; 17. Alan Prusiensky, 13.227, 82.05. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, two-time world champ Smith was quickest on his Victory Gunner setting a track record time of 6.842 seconds at 195.51 mph.

“Our Victory Gunner is running strong,” Smith said. “We’ve done a lot of work and did a lot of testing. We’ve had a lot of gremlins and bugs that have bit us this year. When we qualify we are fast. We’ve been very, very good when we’ve gone down the track and hopefully it will stand up and be No. 1 tomorrow. I know it is supposed to be cooler, but we are going to swap motors tomorrow. We have a good piece here and we will put it back in on Sunday if we need to.”

Veteran rider Steve Johnson qualified second on his RaceTheVote.com Suzuki with a 6.854 at 195.76 and was followed by 2010 champ LE Tonglet, who posted a 6.865 at 195.82 on his Nitro Fish Suzuki. Points leader Eddie Krawiec sits sixth on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.842, 195.51; 2. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.854, 195.76; 3. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.865, 195.82; 4. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.879, 194.10; 5. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.885, 196.39; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.889, 193.82; 7. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.894, 193.90; 8. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.896, 196.24; 9. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.920, 195.08; 10. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.930, 196.36; 11. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.931, 194.02; 12. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.945, 195.25. Not Qualified: 13. Scotty Pollacheck, 6.951, 194.16; 14. Michael Phillips, 6.955, 195.22; 15. Michael Ray, 6.959, 194.27; 16. Angie Smith, 6.987, 191.87; 17. Angelle Sampey, 7.001, 193.13; 18. Shawn Gann, 7.130, 187.94; 19. Lance Bonham, 7.309, 183.22; 20. Tyler Fisher, 7.849, 125.13; 21. Melissa Surber, 10.553, 78.73.

Qualifying continues Saturday with rounds at 3:15 and 6 p.m. to set the fields for Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations.

NHRA

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Hagan, Force, Gray and Smith earn No. 1 qualifying positions at Chicago

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