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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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.