Brittany Force put on a show to open the 2019 NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
The 2017 Top Fuel world champion set the elapsed time record at Maple Grove to claim the provisional pole at 3.651-seconds and speed of 332.92-miles per hour. She is chasing her third-straight No. 1 qualifying position and her second win of the season.
Force earned three bonus points during Friday qualifying after making the sixth-best pass of the first session. That 3.721 put Force and first-year (with the Advance Auto Parts team) crew chief David Grubnic in a position to build in the second session. The dragster draped in red did not disappoint.
Don Schumacher Racing driver and Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals winner Leah Pritchett came closest to Force on the qualifying sheet. Pritchett qualified .022-second behind Force with a 3.673 effort and an identical speed. Shawn Langdon, who now races Funny Car with Kalitta Motorsports, still holds the track speed record in Top Fuel.
Richie Crampton, who drives the DHL Top Fuel machine for Kalitta Motorsports, continued to post impressive qualifying results. He snagged a bonus point and is qualified third with a 3.689 at 328.14-mph, sliding past Antron Brown thanks to his superior speed.
Brown earned three bonus points in the first session but failed to get off the starting line in the final run of the evening for nitro. He and Doug Kalitta, who also made a great run in the first session, blew the tires off their respective rides while trying to get down the track at the end of the second qualifying session.
Steve Torrence, who enters the event at the defending champion (world and event) did not make it down the track in either of his passes. He is in the No. 15 spot with a 9.301-second pass as his best of the weekend thus far. Todd Paton is in the No. 16 spot of the 16-car field.
The second day of qualifying at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil begins at 12:45 p.m. with Pro Stock Motorcycle. Qualifying wraps up with the fourth session at 3 p.m. Eastern. Race day is slated to begin Sunday at 11 a.m. You can catch all the action on FS1 and NHRA.tv.