Pro qualifying will wrap up today at the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at historic Lucas Oil Raceway. After three qualifying sessions, Indy fans have already see history in the sport's quickest Top Fuel field and a record number of three-second nitro Funny Cars. Today, Brittany Force, Jack Beckman, Bo Butner, and Angelle Sampey will look to maintain their leads in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle respectively.
When Brittany Force opened qualifying with a 3.670 on Friday night, not many would have predicted that she'd need to improve in order to maintain the top spot but that's exactly what happened yesterday when prime weather conditions and a quality field combined to make for a record-setting field. There are six cars in the 3.6s including the 2017 world champ, who drove her Advance Auto Parts dragster to a 3.645 to earn the provisional pole. The Capco dragsters of Billy and Steve Torrence are in hot pursuit with runs of 3.655 and 3.656. With two runs remaining the bump spot is already a record 3.782 by T.J. Zizzo.
The Funny Car field also appears set for a record bump with 14 drivers already in the three-second zone and a 4.06-bump spot that is currently held by Phil Burkart. So far, no one is quicker than Jack Beckman, who drove to a 3.861 in the Infinite Hero Dodge. Beckman was also the leader after Friday's lone run, but his lead over the rest of the field is slim. Teammate Matt Hagan is second-quickest at 3.874 while John Force is in the No. 3 spot at 3.876 in his Peak Camaro. There is a distinct possibility that Indy will have the sport's first all three-second field since Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jim Campbell are currently not qualified.
The qualifying lead changed hands in Pro Stock yesterday afternoon when Bo Butner knocked his KB Racing teammate off the provisional pole with a 6.559 from his Butner Auto Camaro. Butner, is also qualified for the 32-car field in the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown so he's got another busy day ahead of him. Line lost his round one race in Stock Eliminator on Sunday morning so his sole focus will be on regaining the top spot in his Summit Camaro. Another driver who is threatening to take the top spot is Erica Enders. The Brainerd runner-up is currently third with a 6.575, and is the quickest of the fleet of Elite Performance Pro Stock cars at Indy. With 21 cars in the field, the Pro Stock class features a spirited battle just to make the field and the list of drivers who are currently not qualified includes Elite team boss Richard Freeman.
Yesterday, it would have been hard to find anyone at Lucas Oil Raceway who was more excited than Angelle Sampey after she rode her Harley-Davidson FXDR to a 6.816 to bump teammate and Friday leader Andrew Hines from the top spot. Sampey has struggled at times to get acclimated to the Harley Pro Stock Motorcycle platform, but the three-time champ appears to have found her groove in time for NHRA's biggest event. Reigning champ Matt Smith also outran Hines with a 6.820 on his Denso EBR. Hector Arana Jr. rounds out the quick four with a 6.846 from his Lucas Oil EBR.
In addition to the two professional rounds, Sunday's action packed schedule at Indy will include qualifying in Pro Mod, Top Fuel Harley, Factory Stock, elimination rounds in the Lucas Oil sportsman classes, and a host of exhibition runs and other special features.
You can catch the action later this weekend on the FOX Sports 1, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. All the action is broadcast live on NHRA.tv, and the full TV schedule is available here at any time.
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