Friday's opening qualifying rounds at the 13th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals featued some of the best side-by-side runs seen this season and Saturday's final two runs promises to deliver more of the same.
In Top Fuel, 12 drivers ran in the 3.7s and none of them were quicker than 2017 world champion Brittany Force, who wheeled her Advance Auto Parts dragster to a 3.712 to lead the pack. Leah Pritchett and recent Bristol winner Mike Salinas are close behind with runs of 3.714 and 3.720, respectively. There are 19 Top Fuel dragsters on the grounds at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park so there will be a fierce battle at the tail end of the field today.
Last night, the lead in Funny Car swapped hands several times before Ron Capps and his NAPA Dodge team finally took over the provisional pole with a 3.879 to bump John Force (3.884) and Jack Beckman (3.915) down to second and third. A total of 11 Funny Car drivers have found the three-second zone with more sure to follow. A 20-car field of nitro floppers also guarantees a drama-filled Saturday in Norwalk.
The Norwalk Pro Stock field is shaping up to be one of the most competitive of the season with the top eight qualifiers separated by little more than a hundredth of a second. Chicago winner Deric Kramer occupies the top spot with a 6.559 from his American Ethanol Camaro. Matt Hartford, Chris McGaha, and Rodger Brogdon are also in the mix for the top spot.
Harley-Davidson teammates Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines, the current Pro Stock Motorcycle points leaders, are also the top two qualifiers in Norwalk after Friday's two rounds. Krawiec, seeking his first win of the season, set the bar with a 6.844 with Hines close behind at 6.852. Reigning world champ Matt Smith has settled into the No. 3 spot at 6.867 on his Denso EBR.
In addition to the four Mello Yello series pro categories, qualifying will wrap up today in the E3 Pro Mod series, the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown, and the Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car classes.
Action gets underway at 11:15 a.m. with the final alcohol session while today's professional qualifying rounds are scheduled for 1:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
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