Brittany Force held on to the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel qualifying Saturday at zMAX Dragway. (NHRA photo)
Brittany Force held on to the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel qualifying Saturday at zMAX Dragway. (NHRA photo)

Force Family Controls Carolina Nationals Qualifying

CONCORD, N.C. – Brittany Force secured her eighth-straight No. 1 qualifier in the Top Fuel class during the final day of qualifying for the DeWalt Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway early Saturday evening.

Her father, John Force, joined her as one of the four top qualifiers for the second race of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship after the 72-year-old veteran led the Funny Car field.

Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the other top qualifiers Saturday at zMAX Dragway.

Brittany Force held on to the No. 1 spot thanks to her 3.662-second run at 331.85 mph from Friday’s evening session. The eight-straight top qualifying efforts is a single-season NHRA record and leaves her one shy of the all-time record of nine set by Gary Beck across two seasons.

While she continues to dominate qualifying, she only has one victory so far this year. She’ll hope to change that Sunday when she lines up against Artie Allen in the opening round of eliminations.

“We had solid, consistent runs all throughout qualifying,” Brittany Force said. “We feel good about it. I think we’ve got a good spot for tomorrow. Looking to have a long day.”

Mike Salinas jumped to the number two spot during the final round of qualifying and will race Joe Morrison to open eliminations. Clay Millican qualified third and will face Shawn Langdon Sunday morning.

Like his daughter, John Force held on to the No. 1 spot in Funny Car based on his time from Friday evening. His 3.860-second pass at 332.18 mph earned him not just the No. 1 spot, but a bye in the first round since there are only 15 Funny Cars on property at zMAX Dragway this weekend.

“Overall for the weekend we’re excited about it,” the elder Force said. “Now it’s Countdown time and now it’s time to show your stuff. Like I said yesterday there are a bunch of other cars in this hunt. There’s five or six right within a round and anybody could take the lead. So we’ll just see how it goes.”

Robert Hight qualified second and is set to take on Terry Haddock in round one. Cruz Pedregon took the No. 3 spot and will line up against Dave Richards to open eliminations. 

Stanfield earned the first No. 1 qualifier of his Pro Stock career thanks to his 6.575-second pass at 208.59 mph. He’ll face off with Baron Stroupe in the opening round of eliminations as he chases his fourth victory of the season.

Defending Pro Stock champion Erica Enders will start elimination Sunday from the No. 2 spot and will battle Alan Prusiensky in the opening round. Greg Anderson qualified third and will face Fernando Cuadra in his first round pairing. 

Marty Robertson, Fernando Cuadra Jr., Richie Stevens and Rob Tucker failed to qualify for the Pro Stock field. 

Johnson claimed his sixth No. 1 qualifier and second of the season after his 6.788-second run at 197.74 mph from Friday evening. He’s scheduled to face Chris Bostick in round one, but Bostick isn’t expected to compete after sharing on social media that he hurt the engine in his bike and he doesn’t have a backup. 

Should Bostick be unable to compete, Johnson would get a bye in the opening round.

Angelle Sampey hung on to second and is slated to face Ryan Oehler in the opening round Sunday. Defending class champion Matt Smith qualified third and will face Michael Phillips to begin eliminations.

Charles Poskey, David Barron and Ron Tornow did not qualify in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. 

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