September 19, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
68°F
test

Still a Force to be reckoned with: John Force, 64, picks up one of four track records set during NHRA qualifying

NORWALK — John Force already had his name on the Summit Motorsports Park grandstands. Friday night he added his name to the track record book as well.

Force was one of four drivers to break track records in the first two rounds of qualifying at the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals.

The 64-year-old Funny Car driver made his way down the quarter-mile drag strip in a record-breaking elapsed time of 4.021 seconds, just one-hundredth of a second off his career best.

“To get low (time) for the night is good for us,” Force said. “There are a lot of good race cars out there and tomorrow it’s going to be much warmer with qualifying during the afternoon.”

Force is well-known to Norwalk fans thanks to his annual appearances at the track’s Night Under Fire.

“I feed off of the fans here,” he said. “They are really a different breed of fans here. I’ve been coming here so long people come up with pictures and I say, ‘Oh, look at that little kid he’s so cute,’ and they say, ‘That was me when I was a kid and I saw you race here 18 years ago.”

By the time racing had concluded for the night, five track records had fallen in the Funny Car, Top Fuel and Pro Stock divisions.

John Force Racing teammate and Force’s son-in-law Robert Hight set a track record with a top speed of 318.77 mph in his Funny Car.

In the Top Fuel Division, veteran racer Doug Kalitta set a pair of records with an elapsed time of 3.767 seconds and a 327.74 mph top speed.

Kalitta, a resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., said Summit Motorsports Park is like a home track for him and his Mac Tools racing team.

“The conditions were great tonight and I’m just real proud of my Mac Tools team,” he said. “They’ve been making this car fast all season. It’s nice to be able to race this close to home and in front of so many fans. The Bader family does a terrific job of filling this place up. They really know how to put on a great event.”

Although the forecast called for thunderstorms throughout the day, a near-capacity crowd was on hand when the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series drivers started their early evening qualifying sessions.

Another record fell in the Pro Stock division when Mike Edwards turned in a top speed of 209.92 mph. Edwards, the season points leader, is second in the Pro Stock qualifying, 0.009 behind Allen Johnson, who had an elapsed time of 6.592 seconds.

“After the sun went down the track got awesome,” Johnson said. “I haven’t had a No. 1 this season but I always seem to run good at this track.”

Edwards was the top qualifier in Norwalk last year and advanced to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Vincent Nobile, who qualified sixth Friday.

In the Pro Stock Motorcycle division, Michael Ray is the leader after two rounds of qualifying with a low elapsed time of 6.926, which he set in his first qualifying run. Hector Arana Jr. put up a top speed of 193.99 mph.

“After the first round of qualifying we went back to the pits and noticed that we had two intake valves broken, so we knew we were going to be way down on power if we didn’t fix that,” Ray said. “We were going to elect to pass on the second qualifying run but we decided to get it fixed and make sure it was peachy and loving life. We race early tomorrow and we wanted to be ready for tomorrow’s battle.”

Ray was .05 slower, with a time of 6.976, in his second run.

The teams will be back on the track for two more rounds of qualifying beginning today at 11:45 a.m. with elimination finals scheduled for Sunday.

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Qualifying results
Friday
At Summit Racing Equipment
Motorsports Park in Norwalk
Qualifying will continue today for Sunday’s final eliminations

Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta, 3.767 seconds, 327.74 mph. 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.778, 320.74. 3. Clay Millican, 3.795, 323.66. 4. Bob Vandergriff, 3.801, 321.04. 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.802, 315.64. 6. Steve Torrence, 3.806, 327.03. 7. Antron Brown, 3.812, 315.78. 8. David Grubnic, 3.813, 324.67. 9. Spencer Massey, 3.819, 324.67. 10. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.820, 321.50. 11. Terry McMillen, 3.842, 322.19. 12. Morgan Lucas, 3.874, 299.53. Not Qualified: 13. Leah Pruett, 4.009, 269.08. 14. Pat Dakin, 4.058, 246.93. 15. Troy Buff, 4.060, 246.93. 16. Brittany Force, 4.274, 197.05. 17. Larry Dixon, 4.326, 191.89. 18. Scott Palmer, 4.413, 188.15. 19. Chris Karamesines, 6.870, 85.27. 20. J.R. Todd, 7.143, 94.08.
Funny Car
1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.021, 317.72. 2. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.030, 318.77. 3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.040, 316.82. 4. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.061, 312.64. 5. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 4.065, 307.72. 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.071, 313.29. 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.082, 309.98. 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.091, 303.43. 9. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.106, 312.86. 10. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.107, 302.96. 11. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.115, 310.27. 12. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.124, 302.62. Not Qualified: 13. Jack Beckman, 4.142, 306.46. 14. Jeff Arend, 4.150, 303.50. 15. Blake Alexander, 4.179, 299.40. 16. Bob Tasca III, 4.204, 300.33.
Pro Stock
1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.592, 209.75. 2. Mike Edwards, Chevy Camaro, 6.601, 209.92. 3. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, 6.614, 208.91. 4. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.616, 209.56. 5. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.618, 209.23. 6. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.629, 208.75. 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.638, 208.97. 8. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.645, 208.52. 9. Rickie Jones, Camaro, 6.646, 209.23. 10. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.653, 208.91. 11. Steve Kent, Camaro, 6.655, 208.07. 12. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.658, 208.07. Not Qualified: 13. Kenny Delco, 6.756, 206.48. 14. Mark Hogan, 6.885, 204.66. 15. Steve Spiess, 10.642, 63.27.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.926, 193.68. 2. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.941, 193.16. 3. John Hall, Buell, 6.953, 192.96. 4. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.956, 193.99. 5. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.960, 192.00. 6. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.963, 192.00. 7. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.967, 192.71. 8. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.967, 191.38. 9. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.982, 192.82. 10. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.986, 190.51. 11. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.992, 192.91. 12. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.995, 192.55. Not Qualified: 13. Jim Underdahl, 7.002, 193.02. 14. Adam Arana, 7.040, 192.17. 15. Shawn Gann, 7.040, 191.43. 16. Dawn Minturn, 7.043, 188.91. 17. Michael Phillips, 7.064, 191.05. 18. Joe DeSantis, 7.111, 188.60. 19. Wesley Wells, 7.158, 187.42. 20. Odolph Daniels, 16.990, 45.32.