NHRA

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

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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.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.