Story By: NHRA – TOPEKA, KS – With another dominant run to close out qualifying action, Brittany Force continued her qualifying magic in Top Fuel, taking the No. 1 spot for the fourth straight race on Saturday at the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor at Heartland Motorsports Park.
J.R. Todd (Funny Car) and Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) also qualified No. 1 in their respective categories at the 11th race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Force put down a stellar blast of 3.716-seconds at 329.02 seconds in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy dragster, recording her sixth No. 1 qualifier of the year and the 26th in her career. It’s the fourth straight No. 1 qualifier for Force, who has qualified at the top at every race for the past month. She’ll open eliminations against Scott Palmer, hopeful her strong performance so far in qualifying will lead to her first victory of the season.
“That’s going to be the tough part. We’ve had some luck on Friday and Saturday in qualifying, running well and getting the No. 1 qualifying hat, but raceday is where we need to turn our luck around,” Force said. “ (Crew chief) David Grubnic, Mac Savage and these Monster Energy boys, we’re working hard and we’re ready for that win.”
Force’s spectacular run to close out Saturday bumped Billy Torrence and his 3.717 at 322.27 from Friday to second. Mike Salinas finished in the third spot with a run of 3.739 at 316.08 and points leader Steve Torrence is fourth thanks to a 3.747 at 324.36.
Todd’s run of 3.884 at 332.67 in his 11,000-horsepower DHL Toyota from Friday held up to give the former world champ his second top qualifier in 2021 and 14th in his career. Looking to get in championship form to start the second half of the season, Todd, a former Funny Car world champ, hopes Friday’s strong run translates into round wins on Sunday. Todd, who has a bye in the opening round, is after his second victory in 2021 and 20th in his career.
“You want to get every point you can, but the bigger picture is coming out of here with a trophy tomorrow,” Todd said. “We were the No. 1 qualifier and that’s nice and all, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t finish the deal. Hats off to this team for digging deep and putting us on the pole and giving us those added points going into tomorrow. We’re going to have to work for it if we want it, and we definitely want it. We want to be in the hunt and I think we’ll be right there.”
Alexis DeJoria remained in the second position on the strength of her 3.894 from Friday, while Bob Tasca III also had his run from Friday hold up. He qualified third with a run of 3.905 at 328.86.
In Pro Stock, Coughlin finished off a banner day for the young driver, racing to the No. 1 position for the first time in his career after a standout run of 6.600 at 205.07 in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro. Coughlin claimed the top spot early on Saturday, but then had to take it from Greg Anderson on the final run of the session in Pro Stock. He’ll meet Cristian Cuadra to open eliminations as Coughlin tries to win for the first time in his Pro Stock career.
“The guys in the yellow and black, and the Elite (Motorsports) group are excellent in what they do,” Coughlin said. “They know the cars, the track and the conditions we’re up against, and it’s going to be an excellent Sunday, so let’s go racing.”
Anderson, the current points leader, just missed out on qualifying No. 1 for the ninth time in 10 Pro Stock races this season, finishing second with a 6.606 at 206.67. Defending world champ Erica Enders made a pair of good runs on Saturday, taking third with a 6.612 at 207.18.
Eliminations for the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor begin at 11 a.m. CT at Heartland Motorsports Park.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 32nd annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by PetArmor at Heartland Motorsports Park, the 11th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Brittany Force, 3.716 seconds, 329.02 mph vs. 14. Scott Palmer, 4.223, 215.10; 2. Billy Torrence, 3.717, 322.27 vs. 13. Terry Totten, 4.161, 244.03; 3. Mike Salinas, 3.739, 316.08 vs. 12. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.904, 305.84; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.747, 324.36 vs. 11. Leah Pruett, 3.897, 314.31; 5. Justin Ashley, 3.769, 324.05 vs. 10. Alex Laughlin, 3.846, 317.34; 6. Clay Millican, 3.798, 316.38 vs. 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.815, 289.63; 7. Shawn Langdon, 3.805, 311.34 vs. 8. Antron Brown, 3.808, 322.34.
Funny Car — 1. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.884, 332.67 vs. Bye; 2. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.894, 329.67 vs. 15. Chris King, Toyota Camary, 5.776, 118.37; 3. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.905, 328.86 vs. 14. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 5.004, 153.25; 4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.911, 325.14 vs. 13. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 4.319, 226.43; 5. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.920, 332.92 vs. 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.070, 293.98; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.944, 325.92 vs. 11. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.013, 277.60; 7. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.962, 322.19 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.969, 301.67; 8. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.962, 320.05 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.968, 324.36.
Pro Stock — 1. Troy Coughlin Jr., Chevy Camaro, 6.600, 205.07 vs. 16. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.672, 206.23; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.606, 206.67 vs. 15. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.668, 205.38; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.612, 207.18 vs. 14. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.644, 204.17; 4. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.617, 207.82 vs. 13. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.644, 208.10; 5. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.621, 206.61 vs. 12. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.641, 206.73; 6. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.622, 207.24 vs. 11. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.640, 206.61; 7. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.622, 206.01 vs. 10. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.640, 206.67; 8. Bruno Massel, Camaro, 6.639, 202.58 vs. 9. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.640, 207.24.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Val Smeland, 6.674, 207.46; 18. Fernando Cuadra, 6.687, 207.05; 19. Richie Stevens, 6.746, 203.25; 20. Rob Tucker, 6.777, 203.34.