NHRA: Schumacher sets career-low ET, C. Force and Enders-Stevens also lead way in qualifying near Phoenix

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Two reigning champions and a potential future champ took the early provisional No. 1 qualifying spots Friday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Chandler, Ariz.

Reigning Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher and Pro Stock champ Erica Enders-Stevens led their classes, while Courtney Force – daughter of 16-time champ John Force – led the Funny Car ranks.

Schumacher, who won his eighth career Top Fuel championship last season, streaked down the drag strip at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park with a very stout elapsed time (3.722 seconds) and speed (325.61 mph).

Schumacher’s ET was the quickest of his career.

“I feel like this track has really come around,” Schumacher said in a NHRA media release. “We just ran my quickest run ever right here, right now. The fans are getting their money’s worth. (Doug) Kalitta, (Shawn) Langdon, and our team cars can pull off miracles, but barring a miracle, I think that’s going to hold (for the No. 1 spot).”

Kalitta was second-quickest but also faster than Schumacher: 3.733 seconds at 329.02 mph.

In Pro Stock, Enders-Stevens paced the field with a top run of 6.545 seconds at 211.20 mph.

“We’re still learning, trying to acquire some data, and having some team cars out there really helps,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve got four guys in Pro Stock, including myself, that are running Elite Performance power, and three of us are 1-2-3, so I’m very proud of my team.

“I’m happy to be on top here after Friday, but we’ve got our work cut out for us (Saturday).”

Rodger Brogdon was second-quickest in Pro Stock (6.545 seconds at 210.90 mph).

Courtney Force had a very impressive run to lead the Funny Car ranks, covering the 1,000 foot track in 3.996 seconds (the only driver in her class to break four seconds), while also setting a track record speed of 321.58 mph.

Two weeks ago in the season-opening race in Pomona, Calif., Force was No. 1 qualifier based on a top run of 3.995 seconds.

“We just tried to get down there and put up a good, solid pass,” Force said. “It feels good to put a three-second run on the board this year and not just once.”

Alexis DeJoria, who won this event last year, had the second-best run behind Force at 4.000 seconds at 313.58 mph.

The second and final round of qualifying takes place Saturday afternoon to set the field for Sunday’s final eliminations.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS:

Top Fuel: 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.722 seconds, 325.61 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.733, 329.02; 3. J.R. Todd, 3.753, 323.97; 4. Antron Brown, 3.753, 318.69; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.755, 319.37; 6. Larry Dixon, 3.784, 321.42; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.790, 323.27; 8. Brittany Force, 3.792, 323.81; 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.808, 317.72; 10. Terry McMillen, 3.844, 310.27; 11. Troy Buff, 3.905, 306.81; 12. Richie Crampton, 4.016, 219.86.  Not Qualified: 13. Jenna Haddock, 4.037, 257.14; 14. Steven Chrisman, 4.343, 218.90; 15. Spencer Massey, 4.638, 162.08; 16. Dave Connolly, 5.549, 122.23; 17. Clay Millican, 8.102, 82.71.

Funny Car: 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.996, 321.58; 2. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.000, 313.58; 3. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.005, 318.17; 4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.025, 320.13; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.032, 306.60; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.034, 312.21; 7. John Force, Camaro, 4.035, 315.05; 8. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.038, 301.00; 9. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.060, 310.13; 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.066, 311.20; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.076, 314.39; 12. Chad Head, Camry, 4.078, 309.13.  Not Qualified: 13. Shane Westerfield, 4.125, 273.22; 14. John Hale, 4.212, 299.06; 15. Jeff Diehl, 6.329, 113.66; 16. Jack Beckman, 10.584, 58.48.

Pro Stock: 1. Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.545, 211.26; 2. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.545, 211.63; 3. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.548, 211.03; 4. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.551, 211.36; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.559, 210.54; 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.562, 211.16; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.565, 211.00; 8. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.569, 211.89; 9. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.578, 210.34; 10. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.586, 210.87; 11. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.588, 210.67; 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.620, 209.95.  Not Qualified: 13. Matt Hartford, 6.621, 209.14; 14. Deric Kramer, 6.637, 208.55; 15. Jimmy Alund, 6.654, 207.91; 16. Joey Grose, 6.672, 207.05; 17. Jeff Isbell, 9.326, 99.68.

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