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Clay Millican, John Force, Jason Line, Andrew Hines secure poles at Virginia NHRA Nationals

Clay Millican (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock), Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) earned No. 1 qualifiers at the Virginia NHRA Nationals.
18 May 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Race coverage
Clay Millican

Clay Millican and Mike Kloeber are No. 1 for the first time in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing competition. The reunited driver/tuner duo enjoyed plenty of success together at Virginia Motorsports Park over the years, but the PartsPlus Top Fuel team earned pole position in NHRA competition for the first time in the eighth race of the 24-race schedule. Millican will race Dan Mercier in the first round after running a track-record 3.749-second pass during the first round of qualifying. [Ladder]

Racing is set to begin at 11 a.m. Eastern and can be watched live on NHRA.TV. Eliminations coverage will be aired on FS1 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. 

John Force earned his NHRA-record 157th No. 1 qualifier on the back of his 3.899-second run from the second qualifying session. The 16-time champion will square off against Jeff Diehl in the first round while hunting down his 150th-career victory. His daughter, Courtney Force, won in Richmond in 2018. [Ladder]

Jason Line secured his first pole since 2017 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro with a 6.563-second lap. Pro Stock returned to racing after a three-race break and K.B. Racing dominated qualifying with Line, who heads up tuning and drives one of five cars using K.B. power, taking full advantage of the time off. Fernando Cuadra Jr. qualified in the No. 15 spot in his first-ever Pro Stock event and will race Deric Kramer. [Ladder]

Andrew Hines wrapped up his second pole of the year and tied his brother, Matt Hines, and teammate, Eddie Krawiec, with his 44th all time. His 6.812-second pass extended his 2019 points lead and booked him a matchup with Jianna Salinas, who qualified for her first Pro Stock Motorcycle race in her fifth attempt. [Ladder]

TOP FUEL LOW QUALIFIER CLAY MILLICAN: “Having Mike Kloeber back [as crew chief] was a no-brainer for me because there was no learning process. The first time that we started the car in Phoenix [testing] I just started smiling because we’d done it thousands of times before. There was no learning curve. He understands the gibberish when I try to explain what I felt and he knows what it means. From Day 1, everything I do, from how many pairs of socks I ear and how many gloves I wear, he taught me.

“From a guy that qualified No. 1 12 times last year and only won twice, qualifying No. 1 doesn’t mean you’re going to win; I can tell you that. Qualifying No. 1 doesn’t pay anything; it’s all about turning on win lights, and that’s our plan for tomorrow.”

FUNNY CAR LOW QUALIFIER JOHN FORCE: “Nothing’s changed since yesterday; it just got hot, but it’s good to be [No. 1]. Give credit to Brian Corradi, Daniel Hood and the team who gave me a good car and we got a raceday tune-up.

“I spent the day just talking to the fans and taking care of the sponsors, trying to stay cool and calm, keep my body temperature down and work on driving the car. Reaction times are off for everyone and I’m really terrible, so I have lot of work to do tomorrow if I’m going to get [win No.] 150, but I’m sure gonna try. That’s why I come here. If it comes, it comes, and it will.”

PRO STOCK NO. 1 QUALIFIER JASON LINE: “I have a really good race car right now and it’s nice to get a green hat, I didn’t know they still gave these things out.

“Yeah, I won here 13 years ago, but in my defense, we did stop racing here for a while. I mean, why not, right? I’d like to see me win here rather than anyone else. We’re certainly not any worse off than we were before the break, so I’m going to say that yeah, it definitely helped. I think we learned some things and tomorrow we’re going to have a good race car.”

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE NO. 1 QUALIFIER ANDREW HINES: “When I was a young kid, I watched my brother (Matt Hines) basically come out and clobber No. 1 qualifiers. It honestly seemed like he could do no wrong on that thing, so it’s really cool to be in that same classification. Eddie is also right there and the all-time leader, Angelle Sampey, is on our team right now. 

“That last run, I kind of took a chance on the 60 foot to see what the track would hold, and I was really happy with what we laid down. The track wasn’t quite as good, but I think we have a good idea of what the track will hold.”