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NHRA Atlanta: C. Force, Millican, Anderson, Arana Jr. qualify No. 1 for Sunday’s finals

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Courtney Force on Saturday earned her fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season for Sunday’s NHRA Southern Nationals eliminations at Atlanta Dragway.

The youngest daughter of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has now qualified No. 1 in more than half of the season’s first seven events.

It’s also her second consecutive No. 1 qualifying spot at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia, having also been No. 1 in last season’s race there.

Force wheeled her Chevrolet Camaro to a No. 1 pass of 3.932 seconds at 324.51 mph in her fourth and final qualifying try of the weekend.

“Coming out today we had some cloud cover which was great and laid down some numbers,” Force said. “I’m proud of my team and crew chiefs, [Brian] Corradi and [Dan] Hood, for laying it down on that last run. It feels good on the last run to get it fixed up and to go to the top spot like that.”

Force will face Jeff Diehl in Sunday’s first round of eliminations. John Force Racing teammate and defending 2017 NHRA Funny Car champion Robert Hight qualified No. 2, while Tommy Johnson Jr. is the No. 3 qualifier.

In Top Fuel: Clay Millican’s second round attempt from Friday night (3.758 seconds at 331.12 mph) held up through Saturday’s other two qualifying tries to take the No. 1 spot heading into Sunday.

It’s Millican’s third No. 1 qualifying spot of the season and 13th of his career. He’ll face Audrey Worm in Sunday’s first round. 2017 Top Fuel champ Brittany Force qualified No. 2, while points leader Steve Torrence is the third seed.

“We held in there and got the green hat,” Millican said. “We are definitely looking for the yellow (winner’s) hat tomorrow.

“We went out this morning and made a nice solid run and Brittany [Force] was knocking on the door of taking the No. 1 spot away.”

Also of note, eight-time champion and the winningest driver in NHRA Top Fuel history, Tony Schumacher, qualified for his 350th consecutive race, a streak that stretches back to May 2003.

Schumacher, who qualified fifth for Sunday’s race, is seeking his first-ever win (in 21 tries) at Atlanta Dragway, the only NHRA track he has yet to win at in his career.

In Pro Stock: Much like Millican, four-time Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson’s top run from Friday’s qualifying (6.586 seconds at 209.69 mph) held up through Saturday’s rounds, putting him at the top of the heap heading into Sunday’s eliminations.

Anderson is on the prowl for his first win of 2018 and the 91st victory of his Pro Stock career.

“Glad to be No. 1 to set the field for tomorrow,” Anderson said. “I desperately need a good race day, but I feel positive that we’ve learned a lot about the race track over the weekend. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Anderson will face Val Smeland in the opening round of eliminations. Drew Skillman is the No. 2 qualifier, while Tanner Gray is the No. 3 seed.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle: Hector Arana Jr. was the quickest rider on two wheels to take the No. 1 qualifying spot in his first (6.806 seconds at 198.76 mph) of two runs Saturday.

It’s Arana Jr.’s first No. 1 of the season and 20th of his career.

“We know we have fast motorcycles,” Arana Jr. said. “We’ve been making great horsepower but have been struggling leaving the starting line. Come Q3 though, it [the bike] was dialed in and the numbers showed.”

Arana Jr. will face Ryan Oehler in Sunday’s first round. His father, Hector Arana, is qualified No. 2, while Andrew Hines is the No. 3 seed.

It marks the first time since 2012 that son and father Arana have qualified 1-2 for a race.

Sunday’s four rounds of eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET.

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SUNDAY’S FIRST-ROUND PAIRINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Clay Millican, 3.758 seconds, 331.12 mph vs. 16. Audrey Worm, 6.070, 99.88; 2. Brittany Force, 3.760, 324.28 vs. 15. Terry McMillen, 4.880, 152.50; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.787, 327.74 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, 4.218, 243.19; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.788, 314.83 vs. 13. Pat Dakin, 3.975, 287.35; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.794, 327.82 vs. 12. Bill Litton, 3.901, 311.92; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.800, 323.81 vs. 11. Richie Crampton, 3.870, 306.88; 7. Antron Brown, 3.802, 325.61 vs. 10. Blake Alexander, 3.842, 326.08; 8. Mike Salinas, 3.818, 320.28 vs. 9. Scott Palmer, 3.830, 323.89.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.932, 324.51 vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.857, 171.75; 2. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.952, 327.59 vs. 15. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.606, 181.03; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.968, 319.90 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.155, 291.45; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.969, 316.38 vs. 13. John Smith, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.154, 259.46; 5. John Force, Camaro, 3.979, 324.67 vs. 12. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.107, 306.60; 6. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.001, 316.15 vs. 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.054, 316.82; 7. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.019, 315.93 vs. 10. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.038, 318.09; 8. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.029, 311.70 vs. 9. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.032, 317.42.

PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.586, 210.11 vs. 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 7.222, 146.51; 2. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.591, 209.62 vs. 15. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.834, 202.91; 3. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.594, 209.14 vs. 14. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.725, 205.85; 4. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.600, 209.39 vs. 13. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.721, 205.66; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.601, 209.46 vs. 12. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.680, 207.50; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.606, 209.07 vs. 11. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.651, 208.36; 7. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.608, 208.42 vs. 10. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.628, 209.30; 8. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.611, 209.65 vs. 9. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.617, 209.33.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.806, 198.76 vs. 16. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.958, 193.18; 2. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.850, 196.62 vs. 15. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.956, 191.97; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.864, 195.96 vs. 14. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.953, 192.06; 4. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.873, 195.05 vs. 13. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.949, 192.47; 5. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.877, 196.47 vs. 12. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.945, 191.13; 6. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.882, 196.13 vs. 11. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.935, 193.85; 7. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.889, 193.13 vs. 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.904, 192.58; 8. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.891, 195.22 vs. 9. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.897, 194.38. Did Not Qualify: 17. Jim Underdahl, 6.997, 191.13; 18. Kelly Clontz, 7.004, 192.55; 19. Mark Paquette, 7.056, 188.20; 20. Andie Rawlings, 7.231, 181.76.

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IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.

The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.

ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend

The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.

A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1

Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2

10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3

10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4

10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race