|Results| Notebook | Event news|
Robert Hight powered to the Funny Car qualifying lead Friday evening at the 30th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.
Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock), and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also provisional qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the 15th of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Hight set the national speed record at a 339.87 mph with his 3.807-second pass in his Auto Club of Southern California/California Highway Patrol Chevy Camaro during the second qualifying session. He most recently won in Denver for his first victory this season.
“When you have Jimmy Prock as your crew chief, he tries to get everything he can out of that racetrack,” Hight said. “It’s the coolest noise when you hear that nitro engine running up that kind of rpm; it’s music to your ears.”
Jack Beckman is second in Funny Car qualifying with a 3.854 at 328.70 in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger. Courtney Force rounded out the top three in preliminary qualifying, securing a 3.889 at 327.03 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro.
Pritchett leads the Top Fuel category after she set the track elapsed time record of 3.669 at 304.80 in her Papa John’s dragster. She is searching for her second consecutive No. 1 qualifier, fifth of the season, and sixth of her career.
“It feels incredible,” Pritchett stated. “I’m just overly impressed with my team. I knew we were going after it in Q2. The thing about these Q2 sessions is that you have to hang it all out on the line, from a crew chief stand point to a driver stand point, because things are going to get funky out there; and they did.”
Brittany Force sits second after a 3.689 run at 330.63 in her Monster Energy dragster, while Doug Kalitta set the track speed record at 331.28 mph with a 3.694 run in his Mac Tools dragster to secure third.
In Pro Stock, Skillman currently holds the top spot after driving to a 6.544 run at 211.73 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro during the second qualifying session. He is racing to secure back-to-back No. 1 qualifiers as well as a third consecutive victory.
“We are on a momentum of positive energy,” Skillman said. “We’ve got a great car, and we’ve got great horsepower. Can’t complain right now; life is good. We’re going to keep swinging and hope to improve tomorrow.”
Greg Anderson is currently second with a 6.553 at 211.39 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. Points leader Bo Butner is in the third spot with a 6.564 run at 211.66 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevrolet Camaro.
Tonglet sits atop the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying order after posting a time of 6.783 at 196.73 on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki during his second pass of the day. He is seeking his third No. 1 qualifier this season and sixth of his career.
“Being No. 1 builds up your confidence,” Tonglet said. “We’ve won here two times, and hopefully, we can add to that. Also, hopefully we can get a couple of round-wins at the Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle.”
Hector Arana Jr. is in the No. 2 slot after a 6.783 at 196.36 on his Lucas Oil Buell, while Jerry Savoie sits at third with a 6.788 at 197.05 on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki.
Qualifying at the 30th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals continues at 1:10 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. at Sonoma Raceway.