BRAINERD, MN — Robert Hight leads John Force Racing as the preliminary No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway on Friday evening. Brittany Force is in the 11th spot in Top Fuel in her black and green Monster Energy dragster and John Force and Courtney Force are looking to improve from the No. 13 and No. 14 spots respectively in Funny Car.
Hight, who set the Funny Car national elapsed time record at 3.793-seconds at Brainerd last season, earned six bonus points throughout Friday qualifying. His 3.971-second pass at 326.95 mph from the first session landed him in the No. 1 spot for the night and his 3.989-second pass at 324.83 mph was the quickest of the second session.
“To be honest with you, that 3.97 first run, I was pretty happy. I honestly thought if we screwed up tonight, that would only be fifth. For some reason nobody stepped up tonight and we actually slowed down a hundredth,” explained Hight. “On that second run (crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) said it needed more power. Maybe the track was a little better than we anticipated and the changes we made, the track ate up. You have to stay ahead of the racetrack and obviously we didn’t.
BRAINERD, MN – Antron Brown hasn’t skipped a beat. Fresh off of his 50th Top Fuel win from the previous event, Brown closed out day one of qualifying at the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway as the provisional No. 1 qualifier.
The driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota Top Fuel dragster powered his 11,000-horsepower machine down the BIR track in 3.789-seconds at 325.45-mph during Q2, collecting three bonus points as he launched to the No. 1 spot.
Brown has raced to the BIR final round the past two years in a row, finishing as the runner-up both times. When asked how he and his team planned to take it one step further and finish the day in the winner’s circle this weekend, Brown said, “First you have to start off by qualifying well. I think our Q2 run is going to solidify us in the top-half of the field for sure. Our main goal is always to qualify in the top three so you can set your ladder up the way it needs to be.”
In addition to nabbing the provisional No. 1 seed, Brown officially clinched a playoff berth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship on Friday. With only one race left after Brainerd to set the Countdown standings, Brown knows he and his team must take advantage of every opportunity to collect points.
The U.S. Army driver trio of Leah Pritchett, Antron Brown and Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher are eighth, first and sixth on the provisional ladder, respectively, after the opening two rounds of qualifying Friday for this weekend’s 37th annual NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway.
Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, a three-time Brainerd Nationals winner, three-time runner-up and six-time No. 1 qualifier, opened the day with the better of his two runs, laying down an effort of 3.946 seconds at 308.92 mph despite dropping a cylinder. It was fifth-best in the opening session. “The Sarge” smoked his tires at halftrack during his second run and coasted across the finish line in 4.936 seconds at 144.27 mph, dropping down to eighth in the qualifying order by session’s end.
“We had a solid run despite dropping a cylinder, and then we missed the second one by just a little bit after seeing Antron’s run – it’s definitely a game of inches,” said Schumacher, who’s Brainerd victories came in 2000, 2004 and 2008. “We’ll see what we can do tomorrow in even warmer conditions, and then see how things play out on Sunday, which is supposed to be much cooler. The teams that can adapt are the ones that will benefit the most. We have the best nine guys in the business working on this U.S. Army car and I like our odds.”
Titan Motorsports famed Copper Supra has been tested at Orlando Speedworld in the middle of summer where track temperatures were into the 130 degree range. The Copper Supra can be considered a new chassis as it has been completely rebuilt for the new season. Now the car is back together with plans to run in various Import and Domestic events.
The vehicle has had many transformations, from switching to FuelTech for engine management and data acquisition, to changing to a 9” rear differential housing provided by Strange Engineering. The tires were changed to X275 per class rules, and in the first test sessions the Copper Supra was able to run 4.63 in the 1/8th which is considered competitive for its class.
The current car configuration is legal for Jamboree J275 and World Cup Hot Rod class which is exactly where it is headed next. With the first event being at Jamboree in Australia, fans and sponsors will get maximum exposure in a region that has a great fanbase for the sport.
LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Dragway has canceled its Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing program for August 17. Afternoon rain showers combined with the significant threat of evening thunderstorms forced officials to pull the plug on racing for the first time in the 2018 season.
The X-Press Signs Stock Car Series event scheduled for tomorrow is still on as planned. Racing starts at 6:30 p.m. for the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 for the Race of Champions Modified Series.
Drag racing action continues Tuesday night with Advance Auto Parts Test & Tune, Amateur Drags, Junior Dragsters and 7.50 Index Heads-Up class. Wednesday night Grudge Racing resumes this week after a two week break as well.
Next Friday is Big Rig Night for the Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing program. We will run special drag racing classes for big rigs, dump trucks and more. Time trials start at 5 p.m.
NORWALK, OH – On the heels of a busy weekend racing at the massive Night Under Fire event at Summit Motorsports Park, followed by a charity event on Tuesday in Painesville, Ohio, Australian Pro Mod racer Steve Easton will be back on track at the 17th annual NMCA All-American Nationals in Norwalk the weekend of August 23-26. The 35 year-old will be behind the wheel of the Patriot Pro Mod once again racing in the Rumble Wars Extreme 8 event and Easton continues to work with the team behind the scenes as well to give this amazing race car the best chance of success on the track.
“We have been incredibly busy but it has been totally worth it,” said Easton. “These long days pay off when you see the car run fast. You want everything to be right. When you are going out to win you have to have your equipment squared away. Every race team goes through this process and it is the behind the scenes blood, sweat and tears that really helps fuel this race car.”
The highlight of the Night Under Fire for Easton, in addition to the massive fireworks show, was getting the chance to talk with Parade.com writer Nancy Berk about racing in the U.S. and showing off the Patriot Pro Mod team at such an iconic event. The team was included in the article which ran on Thursday on parade.com and can be seen here.
BRAINERD, MN — Current Funny Car points leader Courtney Force and her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS show no signs of slowing down as they head into the final two races of the regular season. With four wins and ten No. 1 qualifiers to her name, Force is looking towards the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in search of more consistency and more momentum to carry the team into the Countdown to the Championship.
“This Advance Auto Parts team is ready to head back to Brainerd,” said Force. “With how we’re running right now it will be a good weekend. We’ve never won there before but we’ve qualified pretty well and been able to go some rounds. We’ll be looking to get that win heading into the Indy race hoping to improve on our points lead and be ready for the Countdown.”
Force has qualified inside the top 10 for three consecutive years at Brainerd International Raceway. She was No. 4 last year and defeated world champion Del Worsham in the first round before making a second round exit to veteran Tommy Johnson Jr. In 2016, Force had her career best finish at the event starting from the No. 6 spot and beating Brian Stewart and Johnson Jr. before losing to Del Worsham in the semifinals. In 2016 she again qualified in the top five with a No. 4 starting position.