Shawn Langdon spent a lot of time in the No. 1 in his nine years of Top Fuel racing before switching to Funny Car for a two-year stint in 2018-19, but the former Top Fuel world champ wasted no time reclaiming the top spot, grabbing the provisional pole Friday in his return to Top Fuel.
Langdon, who qualified No. 18 times between 2009 and 2015, powered the Kalitta Motorsports DHL dragster to a 3.699 in Q2 to steal the pole from fellow former world champ Brittany Force, who had carded a 3.706 on her first pass down the Pomona track in her new Monster Energy machine.
Leah Pruett also dropped back a spot from Q1 when neither she nor Force made a full run in Q2, but her 3.715 in the white with blue stripes Mopar dragster held onto the No. 3 spot.
World championship runner-up Doug Kalitta, winner of the Auto Club NHRA Finals here in November, is qualified No. 4 in the Mac Tools dragster with a 3.729.
Shawn Reed, driving the only Bob Vandergriff Racing machine entered, put down a pair of quality passes with Hughes oilfield transportation rail, an opening 3.771 and a 3.735 in Q2 that secured the No. 5 qualifying spot overnight.
Terry McMillen (3.758), Clay Millican (3.779), and Antron Brown (3.780) hold the next three spots with Top Fuel newcomer Brandon Welch sitting an admirable ninth after an engine-blowing 3.841 in Q1.
Force’s teammate, reigning rookie of the year Austin Prock, was not so fortunate, struggling on both runs and clocking a best of just 4.361 for the No. 12 spot out of the 12 cars that ran on the opening day.