November 10, 2017, by Kay Presto, www.carsandcompetition.com —
Brittany Force and Greg Anderson are battling hard for their NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing World titles this weekend, and Friday was a great day for both of them. In Top Fuel, Brittany Force, who is competing with Steve Torrence for that world title, went to the top of the ladder by posting a compelling pass down the Pomona, California 1000-foot dragstrip – a track record of 3.667 seconds.
Leah Pritchett, who had held the low e.t. record of 3.712 seconds in the first round, had car problems in the second qualifying session, finishing fourth. Steve Torrence is currently in fifth.
“I knew the team would figure our car out, and I knew I could make a decent run down the track,” said Force. “To jump up to first spot was huge for us, but that’s where we need to be. To have a killer run like that sets us up good for tomorrow. This is not just a confidence-builder for me, but for the entire team. It really gives us momentum going into the weekend.”
Force said her Monster Energy dragster felt good going down the dragstrip, and if she could hang in there until the 1000-foot stripe, she’d be okay. “When I got out and they told me my numbers, I was pumped. There’s a lot of pressure, a lot on the line. We get two more runs tomorrow.”
If Force wins this Top Fuel championship, she will be only the second woman to do so in this sport, with Shirley Muldowney winning it three times. “Five years ago was my rookie year,” Brittany said. “The team kept changing cars on me, I had to get used to using the canopy, and so to be here challenging for the championship is awesome. To think how far I’ve come in five short years and to be contending for the championship is something I’m very proud of.”
“It was a great run, and shows that we have a great car this weekend,” said Greg Anderson, driver of the Summit Racing Equipment Racing Camaro. He posted a low e.t. of 6.541 seconds, and topped both qualifying rounds. “I definitely got it today, we got all the points we possibly could get. I’ve been saying all year that you have to peak at just the right time; this could be the best race of the season. We just set the table for everyone to prepare their mind for what’s going to happen on Sunday. It’s going to be crazy; the three of us (Anderson, Line, and Butner) all ran 6.56 (elapsed time) on this last run. Who executes the best, and doesn’t make any mistakes this weekend, can come away the champion.”
In the Funny Car ranks, Jack Beckman powered his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T mount to the top of that field, scoring an impressive run of 3.835, 334.98.
“We knew we had a good solid back-up car,” he said, “so we put the other one up on the shelf. Unloaded it Monday, tested it, and it performed well. I feel that we are a top-three car no matter what the track conditions are. We just wish we had six more races to go after this one.”
In the Ron Capps/Robert Hight championship battle, Capps finished seventh with a 3.956, 322.19 pass, while Robert Hight failed to qualify, due to car problems on his pass.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Chip Ellis, who was riding a new 2017 Victory motorcycle, vaulted to the top of that ladder with his low E.T. of 6.839 seconds. Eddie Krawiec, who came into this weekend with a 150-point lead over LE Tonglet, came in third, scoring 6.841, 197.45.
“I’m happy to be riding a new motorcycle for the team,” said Ellis. “I want to do the best job for them that I can. It’s just a one-race deal for now, and we’ll just see what happens. If they call me, I’ll be there.”
There will be two qualifying sessions at Pomona on Saturday, beginning at 11:45 a.m.