Brittany Force made the fastest pass in Top Fuel history, a national-record run of 338.17 in 3.659 seconds, an e.t. that carried her to the No. 1 spot and broke the track e.t. record. The old national speed record was 336.57 set by Tony Schumacher at Phoenix in early 2018. Force and crew chief David Grubnic have made a habit of these kinds of Friday-night heroics, but not like this.
“A 3.65 was not the plan going up there; [crew chief David Grubnic] told me we were trying to run a 3.68 but obviously once he saw what he cars in front of us were doing that plan changed,” said Force, who set the national e.t. record in September in Reading at 3.623. “I knew on the other end it was going to be quicker than a 3.68. I didn’t have a radio on that run so I couldn’t talk to my guys but I knew it was freaking fast; the finish line just comes up so much faster. I knew it was a killer run. Being No. 1 in Vegas is outstanding; this is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit and I would love to win here.”
Billy Torrence improved an even tenth of a second from a 3.762 opening run to a 3.662 that broke Schumacher’s two-year-old track e.t. record of 3.673 before being bettered one pair later by Force, shifting him down one spot to No. 2.
Richie Crampton tried to follow his DHL Funny Car teammate J.R. Todd to the No. 1 spot and held it briefly with a 3.709 before being pushed back to fifth by Force, Torrence, Leah Pritchett (3.681) and Mike Salinas (3.682), and
Terry McMillen, whose first career victory came at this event in 2017, opened Top Fuel qualifying with the best pass of Q1, a 3.714 that barely edged out Force’s 3.717 but he had to sit on that number after failing to improve in Q2, dropping him to sixth.
Points leader Steve Torrence opened with a 3.765 but also couldn’t get a grip on the track in Q2 and is in the bottom half of the field, in 10th.
Scott Palmer, who broke before making his first run, could manage just a 4.11 in Q2 but it’s a run that nonetheless has him in the field in its 16th and final spot.