John Force raced to his 150th No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car Saturday at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) also will lead their categories into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Seattle.
Force entered Saturday as the top qualifier but briefly lost the top spot to his daughter Courtney in the final qualifying round. John rallied with a track record run of 4.057 seconds at 307.86 mph on the final run of the day to take the top position from his daughter. This is Force’s fourth No. 1 of the season and sixth at Pacific Raceways.
"I was overloaded today, had too much on my plate," said Force. "And then she bumped me. I figured Robert (Hight) would do it, he didn't. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) turned around and said, 'What do you want to do?' I said, 'Turn 'er up.' We knew what it would do, but you really don't want to show the competition what you have. If you can hold your cards and get them in the evening, then you can step on it."
Courtney, who won last weekend in Sonoma and moved to the number two position with her run of 4.082 at 306.33, will face Gary Densham on Sunday. The 2011 Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan qualified third with a run of 4.100 at 302.69, aiming for his second win of the season when he faces Terry Haddock.
In Top Fuel, Schumacher retained his No. 1 qualifying position from Friday and will lead the Top Fuel category into eliminations. Schumacher will make his 400th NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series start against rookie Jenna Haddock in the opening round.
"We have a great car," Schumacher said. "I wouldn’t want to race me tomorrow. The fact that we went down both lanes just shows what (crew chiefs) Mike [Green] and Neal [Strausburg] have been looking for for a long time. We just didn’t go down the track but we were first or second each session and had some .820 60-foot times. They’re making some great calls. Our initial launch is what we’ve been longing for. Everyone knows that if you get the car moving, you can apply clutch quicker."
Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta qualified second with a run of 3.805 at 320.28 and is paired against Mike Salinas in the opening round. Shawn Langdon will begin eliminations in the third position with his run of 3.807 at 317.05 and will face Clay Millican.
Pro Stock’s Johnson retained his No. 1 qualifying position with his Friday effort of 6.535 at 211.86. It is the 35th No. 1 of his career and his third at this event. He has four No. 1 qualifying positions this season, but has yet to win when he starts from the top spot.
"The guys did an awesome job here," Johnson said. "All four rounds low and building up them baby points. That last round the track was representative of what we will see tomorrow. We made a really good run and we just need to keep doing what we are doing and be very consistent. If the driver does his job, we can get this thing done."
Teammate to Johnson, Jeg Coughlin qualified fourth with a run of 6.553 at 211.13 and he will face Larry Morgan in eliminations. Shane Gray, who was the No. 1 qualifier at the most recent event, qualified second at 6.538 at 211.96 and will race Travis Mazza in the opener.