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Leah Pritchett set the Top Fuel elapsed-time national record with her second session pass during the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on Friday.
Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) were also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the second of 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Pritchett’s 3.658-second pass at 329.34 mph in her Papa John’s Pizza dragster during the second round of qualifying puts her at the top of the field heading into the final two session of qualifying on Saturday.
“To be behind the wheel of this machine that is constantly putting out time and time again fast numbers and quick numbers is, to be honest, a little bit difficult to comprehend,” said Pritchett who is coming off a win at the season opening event in Pomona, Calif. “It’s everything that dreams are made of. It’s almost too good to be true, but it’s not. Seeing the extra attention to detail that I’ve never seen before and, I’ve been around a lot of crews in my life, it’s paying off on the track so well and so much.”
Don Schumacher Racing teammates Tony Schumacher in his U.S. Army dragster is second with a 3.667 pass at 323.89, the third quickest run in NHRA history, and reigning world champ Antron Brown in his Matco Tools dragster, are in third after a 3.689 pass at 326.56. Rookie Troy Coughlin Jr. is in fourth after running a career best 3.696 in the SealMaster dragster.
Force set both ends of the Funny Car track record with her 3.838 pass at 332.67 in her Advanced Auto Chevy Camaro during the first session.
“It’s always that first run of the weekend that you’re always the most nervous about,” Force said. “To be able to lay down a number like that for a track record and having (Matt) Hagan right out my window, I knew it was going to be a great pass. We ran killer numbers here during testing, that’s going to be our goal to be able to do it here again this weekend.”
Hagan is in the second position with a 3.839 at 329.67 in his Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T and Tim Wilkerson, who won the event last year, is in third with a 3.852 run at 329.42 in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang.
Line raced to a 6.509 at 212.19 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro for the Pro Stock leading qualifier position.
“This off season was much different than last,” Line said. “This year was about refining the recipe. And we did and it’s paying dividends for us right now. That was a really nice run. The track was really good here. No matter what tomorrow brings I’m going to have fun driving (the car).”
Line took the top spot from Summit Racing Equipment teammate Greg Anderson who had a 6.522 at 211.73 in the second session. Rookie Tanner Gray is currently qualified third with a 6.538 at 211.79 in his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevy Camaro.
Qualifying at the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals will continue Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.