Force, Hight Set Track Records on Fast-Paced Friday at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The roar of 40,000 horsepower thrilled NHRA Four-Wide Nationals attendees on Friday night at zMAX Dragway, as Courtney Force shattered Matt Hagan's Funny Car track record for elapsed time and Robert Hight eclipsed the overall top speed mark during an action-packed day of qualifying.
"This is an important track because it's four-wide," said Force, whose 3.851-second pass at 323.27 miles per hour topped Hight by .022 seconds. "It's so crazy from a driver's perspective but it's so much fun. This track makes you a better driver. People will make mistakes, but you have to be on your A-game. … I'm really happy with the run. It's an exciting start to the weekend."
Hight's record 333.91-mph pass was the quickest in the track's 10-year history. His run continued a 1-2-3 result for John Force Racing, as the team's owner and namesake wound up third - only .038 seconds behind his daughter.
Clay Millican edged Doug Kalitta by .002 seconds with a 3.716-second, 325.77-mph pass to lead the Top Fuel field after one of two qualifying days.
"Really and truly, it's the team working on consistency," Millican said. "Last year, we wanted to run 3.6-second (passes). This year, we said we wanted to take a little step back but get down the track more. … It's just crazy that now we're at the front of the field. If it's 100 degrees tomorrow, I'm OK with that because we'll stay No. 1."
Jeg Coughlin out-ran Erica Enders and Greg Anderson in Pro Stock with a 210.24-mph, 6.578-second pass.
The Pro Mod class' first venture into four-wide racing was a historic one, as Michael Bowman posted the highest top speed - 258.67 miles per hour - in Pro Mod history. Bowman's 5.821-second pass set speed records, but his elapsed time was only third-best behind Troy Coughlin and Mike Castellana.
Jerry Savoie paced Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying with a 196.24-mph pass at 6.824 seconds.
Saturday qualifying for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals will begin at 1:30 p.m. for Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycles. Funny Car and Top Fuel's 40,000-horsepower festival of nitro kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday with a promising forecast of sun and warm temperatures as drivers chase the coveted Four-Wide Wally.