Welcome to Day 2 of the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals and the final two rounds of qualifying to set the fields for Sunday’s final eliminations. After a track-record-setting day Friday, today’s forecast calls for warmer temperatures, which means that Friday’s No. 1s likely will remain there and that teams will spend the day working on their Sunday tune-ups.
Brittany Force broke the track elapsed time record in Friday’s night session with a 3.651 that tied for the 10th quickest run in the sport’s history (a run she made in Reading a month ago) while Leah Pritchett erased the Motorplex speed record with a run of 332.10 mph. Points leader Steve Torrence is also eager to do well in front of the home crowd as the defending world and event champ tries to increase what is a tenuous points lead over Doug Kalitta. Keep an eye also of Mike Salinas, who is qualified No. 2 and also is very much in the championship battle.
John Force’s sizzling 3.83 Friday night will likely hold up as the 160th No. 1 qualifying effort of his career and his fifth this season as he tries to track down teammate and points leader (and defending event champ) Robert Hight and Jack Beckman. Force made two great runs Friday to earn the maximum six bonus points to cut slightly into his deficit. Hight is right behind him on the qualifying sheets and world champ J.R. Todd is nipping at both of their heels. With 18 cars trying for 16 spots, there should be some qualifying bumping drama come Q4.
Elite Motorsports teammates Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Erica Enders finished 1-2 on their qualifying sheets Friday night, separated by just a thousandth of a second. Coughlin’s team was very aggressive on both Friday passes but admits that they would be challenged to match those times if the track gets warmer today. Deric Kramer, who less than a week ago won the Countdown event in Charlotte, looks good again this weekend with the American Ethanol Camaro but he and the rest of the field are more than two-hundredths of second behind Coughlin and Enders entering the final two qualifying passes.
Matt Smith made the first 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycle pass in Texas Motorplex history with his Denso EBR as he and Jerry Savoie clocked the class’ only 6.7-second passes Friday, with Angelle Sampey’s Harley the next closest by half a tenth back at 6.84. Only 15 bikes made qualifying passes Friday, setting up the possibility that the No. 1 qualifier would get a bye in Sunday’s first round, and that’s likely to be Smith, who could use the points as he sits sixth in the standings as he attempts to repeat last year’s championship.
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Friday, 10/18/2019, NHRA Friday Nitro Live (1.0 Hr.) , 10:00 PM PT / 1:00 AM ET (FS1)
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Sunday, 10/20/2019 , NHRA Finals (3.0 Hrs.) , Check Local Listings *
2018 EVENT WINNERS: Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Robert Hight, Funny Car; Tanner Gray, Pro Stock; LE Tonglet, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
MOST VICTORIES: John Force, FC, 7; Tony Schumacher, TF, 6; Warren Johnson, PS, 5; Cruz Pedregon, FC, 4; Robert Hight, FC 4, Greg Anderson, PS, 4, Eddie Krawiec, 3, PSM.
3.651 sec. by Brittany Force Oct. 19; 332.10 mph by Leah Pritchett, Oct. ’19
3.828 sec. and 338.60 mph by Robert Hight, Oct. ’17;
6.457 sec. and 214.59 mph by Greg Anderson, Oct. ’15
Pro Stock Motorcycle
6.744 sec. and 198.99 mph by Jerry Savoie, Oct. ’15
3.623 sec. by Brittany Force, Sept. '19, Reading, Pa.; 336.57 mph by Tony Schumacher, Feb. ‘18, Phoenix
3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. '17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Robert Hight, July ’17, Sonoma, Calif.
6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ’14, Englishtown N.J.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
6.720 sec. by Andrew Hines, March ‘19, Gainesville, Fla.; 201.76 mph by Matt Smith, March ‘19, Gainesville, Fla.