NHRA: C. Force, Todd, McGaha and Arana Jr. qualify No. 1 for 4-Wide Nationals eliminations


It was a double dose of Force in Saturday’s final rounds of qualifying for the sixth-annual NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

Daughter Courtney Force zoomed from 16th to the No. 1 qualifier (4.011 seconds at 312.35 mph) in her second of two attempts (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying were rained out), while father John Force qualified No. 2 for Sunday’s final eliminations, which begin at 1 pm ET.

It’s Courtney Force’s second No. 1 qualifier of the season and ninth of her career. She’s also seeking her first career win at zMAX.

She’ll race Chad Head, Dale Creasy Jr. and Del Worsham in the first round of the unique four-car, side-by-side elimination race.

“Going from zero to hero is great, but it’s really my crew chief (Ron Douglas) and my team,” Courtney Force said. “It’s lucky that we went straight from 16 to 1, but we still have a lot to work on and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

John Force, meanwhile, will race Alexis DeJoria, Robert Hight and Tony Pedregon in Sunday’s first round, while points leader and 2014 Funny Car champ Matt Hagan will face John Hale, Cruz Pedregon and Tim Wilkerson.

In Top Fuel, J.R. Todd (3.713 seconds at 309.63 mph) shot to the top of the speed charts to earn the No. 1 qualifying position, his first of the season and seventh of his career.

“That was my career best, but the crazy thing is that the car didn’t make it to the finish line under power,” Todd said. “I think we could have run a 3.70-flat or maybe even a 3.69. I really hope we get three shots tomorrow, but tomorrow is all about win lights.”

Todd will face defending race winner Antron Brown, Dave Connolly and points leader Shawn Langdon in the first round Sunday.

“This is a driver’s game for sure,” Todd added. “All three of them are capable of putting up big numbers so we’ve got to be prepared.”

Veteran independent Top Fuel racer Pat Dakin, who last won an NHRA national event more than 40 years ago (in 1973), qualified No. 2 at a career-best 3.715 seconds at 318.84 mph.

Dakin will face Brittany Force, Richie Crampton and Chris Karamesines in the first round of eliminations.

In Pro Stock, Chris McGaha earned his second No. 1 qualifying spot (6.474 seconds at 213.70 mph). He’ll face Shane Gray, Buddy Perkinson and Erica Enders-Stevens in Sunday’s opening round.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hector Arana Jr. rode to the top of the speed chart (6.794 seconds at 196.22 mph) for his first No. 1 of the season and 17th of his career.

Arana will race Jim Underdahl, Chaz Kennedy and Katie Sullivan in Sunday’s first round.

“We knew we had to do everything we could to get the power to the track, so we took our best guess,” Arana said. “We’ve got new fuel, a new track surface, and conditions we’ve never seen before, but we managed to hit it and go right down the track. I honestly had a feeling we would run good today.”


Top Fuel: 1. J.R. Todd, 3.713 seconds, 309.84 mph  vs. 16. Shawn Langdon, 5.089, 275.56  vs. 8. Antron Brown, 3.792, 318.62  vs. 9. Dave Connolly, 3.807, 317.05; 2. Pat Dakin, 3.715, 318.84  vs. 15. Chris Karamesines, 4.343, 185.72  vs. 7. Richie Crampton, 3.771, 327.03  vs. 10. Brittany Force, 3.826, 318.32; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.726, 328.94  vs. 14. Leah Pritchett, 4.130, 305.70  vs. 6. Clay Millican, 3.768, 315.05  vs. 11. Larry Dixon, 3.829, 314.75; 4. Spencer Massey, 3.730, 326.32  vs. 13. Ike Maier, 4.020, 303.84  vs. 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.736, 325.06  vs. 12. Steve Torrence, 3.837, 321.35.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry McMillen, 10.498, 87.29.

Funny Car: 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.011, 312.35  vs. 16. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 5.087, 172.01  vs. 8. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 4.077, 303.91  vs. 9. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.101, 305.63; 2. John Force, Camaro, 4.040, 310.84  vs. 15. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.839, 218.55  vs. 7. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.061, 308.07  vs. 10. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.123, 300.53; 3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.051, 308.78  vs. 14. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.634, 184.40  vs. 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.059, 304.67  vs. 11. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.132, 251.20; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.055, 306.60  vs. 13. John Hale, Charger, 4.317, 296.63  vs. 5. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.055, 300.06  vs. 12. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.167, 305.42.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Diehl, 7.463, 103.78; 18. Bob Tasca III, 12.969, 63.65.

Pro Stock: 1. Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.474, 213.70  vs. 16. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, broke  vs. 8. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.525, 211.99  vs. 9. Buddy Perkinson, Dodge Avenger, 6.528, 212.49; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.481, 214.18  vs. 15. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 6.858, 176.07 vs. 7. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.523, 213.16  vs. 10. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.532, 213.84; 3. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.487, 213.57  vs. 14. Mark Hogan, GXP, 6.741, 206.73  vs. 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.517, 213.47  vs. 11. Jimmy Alund, GXP, 6.536, 212.76; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.502, 213.64  vs. 13. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.683, 206.48  vs. 5. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.513, 213.77 vs. 12. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.545, 212.26.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.794, 198.03  vs. 16. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 6.966, 192.91; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.826, 194.77  vs. 15. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.956, 191.51; 3. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.853, 187.11  vs. 14. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.953, 190.92; 4. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.861, 195.03  vs. 13. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.949, 193.49; 5. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.870, 192.55  vs. 12. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 6.925, 197.77; 6. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.907, 195.62  vs. 11. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.924, 189.42; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.913, 193.46  vs. 10. Brian Pretzel, Buell, 6.924, 190.70; 8. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.914, 195.53 vs. 9. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.924, 192.25.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeremy Teasley, 6.982, 193.54; 18. Jerry Savoie, 6.988, 192.80; 19. Angie Smith, 7.129, 184.30; 20. Steve Johnson, 7.155, 189.02; 21. Roy Olsen, 7.261, 182.16.

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IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”