Schumacher, Force and Anderson Lead Qualifying KENT, Wash. - John Force has been the No. 1 qualifier in NHRA racing 118 times throughout his championship career. He took a step closer to No. 119 Friday night, leading the first day of Funny Car...
Schumacher, Force and Anderson Lead Qualifying
KENT, Wash. - John Force has been the No. 1 qualifier in NHRA racing 118 times throughout his championship career. He took a step closer to No. 119 Friday night, leading the first day of Funny Car qualifying at the 17th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) also lead qualifying in their respective categories at the $1.4 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event.
Force drove his Castrol Start-Up Ford Mustang to a 4.923-second run at 306.67 mph to lead the category after two sessions.
Track temperatures soared into the 130s as all nitro teams made their first runs on the new 85-percent nitromethane rule. Fuel in the two fastest categories can not have any more than 85 percent nitromethane, down from 90 percent. The rule went into effect this weekend.
But the Force Racing squad didn't stumble with tuning decisions. He also praised the newly resurfaced quarter-mile strip.
"(Crew chief, Austin) Coil said this track is so nice and that's with it being hotter than heck," Force said. "We're running better than we were last year and we're at 85 percent nitromethane. Can anyone tell we're running slower when a car goes by? Because I sure can't. We're slowed by a hair, but not too much.
"The main thing is we have great side-by-side action every pass now and these fans out here deserve that."
Schumacher went 4.631 at 319.90 in his U.S. Army dragster to pace Top Fuel. Schumacher has earned four victories in six final round appearances. If the current points leader stays in the No. 1 position, Schumacher will have two top qualifying awards this season and 11 in his career.
"I found it really unique that after the first round of Top Fuel and Funny Car we had only one car that had smoked the tires," Schumacher said. "That tells me everyone was weak and that there is plenty more E.T. and speed to be had. Whatever the NHRA's intentions, this 85-percent nitro rule is obviously going to make for some great racing.
"(Crew chief) Alan Johnson always makes the right calls. We won four different races in four different cars a year ago. That's all Alan. He just has the ability to work within the rules, look at what a track can hold and make a car run. He's a genius."
Anderson drove his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am to the top of Pro Stock with a 6.776 pass at 204.57.
"The track is so much better and it's only going to improve," Anderson said. "Already, considering it was 135 degrees in round one, I can tell you there aren't many tracks in the country that would have held in that kind of direct heat.
"The tough thing is that we have no data on the track and certainly very limited data on running in heat like we had. The good news is that we have lots of room for improvement. We're way off right now, but we're still No. 1 so we can't complain."
Qualifying continues at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday. Final eliminations are set for 11 a.m. on Sunday.