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Brittany Force stormed to the provisional pole of the NHRA Virginia Nationals Friday night (JFR photo)

Brittany Force Powers On In Virginia

DINWIDDIE, Va. — Top Fuel points leader Brittany Force powered to both ends of the track record at Virginia Motorsports Park, racing to the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday at the Virginia NHRA Nationals.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Angie Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers, as five of the six track records were broken on Friday at the seventh of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

In NHRA’s first appearance at the track in three years, Force went an impressive 3.710 seconds at 335.82 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac dragster, making the quickest and fastest run in Virginia Motorsports Park history. 

If it holds, it would be the second top spot this year and 34th overall for Force, who now has nine of the 10 fastest runs in Top Fuel history. The stellar run also gives Force, a two-time winner in 2022, track ET records at 11 different facilities.

“It cleared up and (crew chief, David) Grubnic had a goal set and we hit that mark,” Force said. “We’re excited about that. It was a good, solid run and we’re hoping for two more runs tomorrow. (I’m) pretty excited to make that run here in Virginia. It’s been since 2019 that we were here last, so to be able to come out here for the fans and make that run and put a show for them, that was great. We just want to keep improving and see what we can do on race day.”

Justin Ashley, who qualified No. 1 at the most recent race at zMAX Dragway, is currently second after his pass of 3.725 at 327.82. Doug Foley is right behind in third thanks to his 3.733 at 318.69.

Hagan, the Funny Car points leader, also obliterated the track speed record, going to the top with a 3.914 at 335.82 in his 11,000-horsepower Smithfield Brand Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. The impressive pass bested the previous track record by nearly 10 mph, putting Hagan, who already has a pair of wins this season, on track for his second No. 1 qualifier this season. In his 300th career start, it would also be the 45th career No. 1 qualifier for the Virginia native.

“I’m so proud of everyone on this team,” Hagan said. “All of them do a great job and all in all, I’m pretty happy with that run. That 335 mph is a representation of the horsepower in this car. It’s my 300th career start and we’ve got a new look on the car, so it’s nice to be the provisional No. 1. I’m blessed to do what we do and it’s just cool to stick around for 300 races. There’s such a fine line in these cars and everything has to line up perfectly, but that’s just a testament to (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) and our guys.”

Dale Creasy Jr. made a career-best pass of 3.974 at 319.07 and is currently in the second position. It was the only other three-second pass during Friday’s Funny Car session. Blake Alexander went 4.007 at 304.05 to currently put him in the third spot.

Smith closed out the day with a pair of track records in Pro Stock Motorcycle, making her own bit of history with a standout pass of 6.788 at 200.38 on her Denso Auto Parts Buell. It is the first 200-mph motorcycle run in track history and also gave Smith the quickest run at VMP. If it holds, it would be Smith’s second career No. 1 qualifier as she looks to pick up her first victory of the 2022 season.

“It was very exciting to go 200 mph,” Smith said. “I love this facility and we come test out here a lot, and it’s just a great track. I would say it’s my second home and that was a good run. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going. We got off the starting line well and that’s the key with these bikes. It’s a very consistent track for us and to see that 200 pop up on the scoreboard is exciting. You want to put on a good show for the fans.”

Point leader Steve Johnson, who has won back-to-back races, went 6.826 at 198.12 to give him the second spot, while Angie’s husband and defending world champ, Matt, is third after going 6.827 at 199.32.

 

 

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