NHRA: Forces of speed — Brittany, Courtney Force are preliminary No. 1 Qualifiers in Charlotte

NHRA
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Courtesy NHRA Media Relations

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA – Fans in attendance at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals witnessed two sisters take the preliminary top spots in their respective categories. Top Fuel pilot Brittany Force and Funny Car racer Courtney Force, are qualifying leaders after the first day of action at zMAX Dragway.
Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Cory Reed (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the sixth of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
In the final Friday qualifying session, Brittany Force raced her Monster Energy dragster to a pass of 3.689-seconds at 318.39 mph to take the provisional top position. She has yet to have a No. 1 qualifying position this season but won the most recent event in Houston. Her elapsed time is a zMax Dragway track record.
“It felt good, especially compared to that first run we made earlier,” said Brittany Force. “I just wanted a clean safe pass and I wasn’t expecting to go No. 1. When they told me when I got out at the top end that was pretty exciting. My team is pretty pumped.”
Courtney Force, in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro, was able to retain the top spot with her 3.873 at 332.92 pass from the first of two sessions. She was the No. 1 qualifier in Phoenix, where she also raced to victory and notched her second top spot in Las Vegas.
“We have done pretty well here but have yet to take home a win,” said Courtney Force. “I love coming out here to Concord, to zMAX Dragway, (track owner) Bruton Smith always does it right, and it is a lot of fun to race on any of his racetracks.”
In Pro Stock, Skillman, behind the wheel of his Ray Skillman Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro, holds the top spot after driving to a 6.534 at 210.37 during the second qualifying session. Skillman has yet to record a No. 1 qualifying position of the year and sixth of his career.
“We finally made a good pass, our car has had the potential all season,” said Skillman. “Last season we ran really strong middle of the year and end of the summer. We got lost over the winter somehow but we are kinda inching our way back. We have been testing a couple of days ago and it is showing.”
Reed raced to the qualifying lead in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category during the second session with a pass of 6.838 at 193.54 on his Team Liberty Racing Buell. The 2016 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner, the NHRA’s rookie of the year, is aiming for his first career No. 1 qualifying position.
“The thing took off and it was a rocket ship,” said Reed. “It was as smooth of a ride that I have had in a long time. I knew I was going fast and it was super smooth.”
Points leader Eddie Krawiec is seventh following his 6.872 at 191.29 recorded during the first session.
Two more rounds of qualifying continues at 2 p.m. on Saturday to determine those drivers that will compete in Sunday’s final eliminations.
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FRIDAY’S RESULTS:
TOP FUEL: 1. Brittany Force, 3.689 seconds, 318.39 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.692, 331.61; 3. Antron Brown, 3.719, 331.77; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.731, 330.72; 5. Terry McMillen, 3.744, 329.75; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.758, 327.98; 7. Clay Millican, 3.773, 289.82; 8. Shawn Reed, 3.838, 323.43; 9. Dom Lagana, 3.846, 270.21; 10. Pat Dakin, 3.933, 309.13; 11. Kyle Wurtzel, 4.019, 247.34; 12. Audrey Worm, 4.143, 256.84; 13. Mike Salinas, 4.225, 197.33; 14. Terry Haddock, 4.227, 283.43; 15. Leah Pritchett, 4.249, 217.56; 16. Scott Palmer, 4.888, 147.15. Not Qualified: 17. Richie Crampton, 6.331, 90.71.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.873, 332.92; 2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.886, 329.83; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.887, 328.70; 4. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.888, 330.96; 5. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.907, 326.16; 6. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.908, 321.42; 7. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.920, 323.50; 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.938, 328.06; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.949, 320.81; 10. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.966, 320.89; 11. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.973, 325.45; 12. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.983, 316.08; 13. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.062, 257.04; 14. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Stratus, 4.089, 315.12; 15. John Smith, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.156, 274.05; 16. Jim Campbell, Charger, 8.661, 77.26. Not Qualified: 17. Jeff Diehl, 8.756, 83.50.
PRO STOCK: 1. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.534, 210.50; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.548, 211.00; 3. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.549, 210.08; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.556, 210.31; 5. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.557, 211.26; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.558, 210.90; 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.560, 210.64; 8. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.561, 210.24; 9. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.562, 210.01; 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.564, 211.39; 11. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.565, 210.57; 12. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.571, 210.93; 13. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.622, 208.81; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.632, 208.39; 15. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.662, 208.07; 16. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.870, 201.79. Not Qualified: 17. Kenny Delco, 12.588, 69.70; 18. Tommy Lee, 15.830, 55.12.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.838, 193.54; 2. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.848, 197.31; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.859, 196.64; 4. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.861, 195.48; 5. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.863, 193.21; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.866, 193.63; 7. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.872, 195.22; 8. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.874, 194.18; 9. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.881, 194.52; 10. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.882, 194.91; 11. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.898, 191.59; 12. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.934, 195.11; 13. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.948, 188.91; 14. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.953, 192.63; 15. Mark Paquette, Victory, 6.980, 189.84; 16. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.985, 192.30. Not Qualified: 17. Angie Smith, 7.004, 191.29; 18. Scott Bottorff, 7.055, 188.12; 19. Lance Bonham, 7.315, 186.15; 20. Melissa Surber, 7.397, 152.92; 21. Kelly Clontz, 20.815, 25.48.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.