The first day of professional qualifying at the Auto Club NHRA Finals only served to heighten the drama that surrounds the battle for the Camping World NHRA championships in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The championship battle in Top Fuel is not close as three-time and reigning champ Steve Torrence maintains an advantage of more than 100 points over Brittany Force.
Force smoked the tires in her Monster Energy dragster while Torrence is off to a fast start with a 3.698 in his Capco dragster that is currently good for the No. 2 spot. Torrence trails only Las Vegas winner Mike Salinas, who took the early lead thanks to a 3.694 in his Scrappers dragster.
In Funny Car, championship leader Ron Capps made a huge move on Friday with a 3.908 that has the NAPA driver in the No. 2 spot. Capps earned three bonus points and has now pushed his lead over teammate Matt Hagan to 61 points which is equal to three elimination rounds.
Robert Hight, who has struggled during the Countdown to the Championship, is on the provisional pole in Funny Car after a 3.894 in his Auto Club Camaro.
Hagan did not get down the track while Cruz Pedregon, who is also in the running for the title, ended the day as the No. 4 qualifier with a 3.939 in his Snap-on Dodge.
The biggest movement came in Pro Stock, where leader Greg Anderson drove to the top spot with his HendrickCars.com Camaro, extending his lead over championship rival Erica Enders from 31 to 35 points. Anderson led a KB Racing sweep of the top three spots with a 6.656 while team drivers Kyle Koretsky and Dallas Glenn finished second and third with identical 6.584 second runs.
Enders finished the session as the No. 4 qualifier with a 6.589, as she battles Anderson for what will be a fifth title for one of them. Enders’ Elite Motorsports teamamtes Troy Coughlin Jr., Cristian Cuadra, and Aaron Stanfield each shut off early in an effort to catch Anderson early in eliminations.
Matt Smith is also chasing a fifth title in Pro Stock Motorcycle and he helped himself with a 6.779 to take the top spot and bank four more qualifying points. Smith came into Pomona leading Steve Johnson by 20 points and 30 points ahead of three-time champion Angelle Sampey.
Johnson, the Las Vegas winner, finished the day in the No. 3 spot while Sampey is fourth with her Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki.
On Friday, a pair of Lucas Oil Series championships were decided as Jerry Emmons claimed his first title in Stock and Christopher Dodd successfully defended his Super Comp championship.
You can catch the action all weekend on FOX Sports 1 and NHRA.tv.
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NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Final eliminations start Sunday, Nov. 14 at 10:00 a.m.
Qualifying: Sunday, Nov. 14, 2-4 p.m. Eastern, FS1
Eliminations: Sunday, Nov. 14, 4-7 p.m. Eastern, FS1