Wins and Woes Continue at Baytown for Force Racing at NHRA Springnationals
For the Godfather of Funny Car, engine woes continued for the Peak Coolant and Motor Oil Chevy Camaro SS. John Force failed to make a fast enough run in all four of his qualifying attempts at Royal Purple Raceway. Having qualified for the show at the previous 33 SpringNationals, it had been 221 races since Force had failed to make the field for Sunday's eliminations. Force set the record for drag racing earlier in his career by qualifying for 395 consecutive events. However, don't think that missing the show is a day off for the patriarch of John Force Racing. He was upset about not being behind the wheel at Baytown but spent the day signing autographs for fans and supporting teammates Robert Hight, Courtney Force and Brittany Force.
In Top Fuel, Brittany rebounded from her season-opening accident at Pomona by eliminating Terry Haddock, Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher on her way to her first final round of the 2018 season. Leah Pritchett set the Top Fuel elapsed time track record in her Mopar Dodge dragster with a 3.680-second pass in the final qualifying session on Saturday. However, the Number One qualifier was defeated in the semifinal round by Terry McMillen. The defending Top Fuel world champion got her season back on track by defeating McMillen and joining her dad and two sisters (Courtney and Ashley) as Houston winners.
Teammate John Hight started the day as the Number One qualifier in Funny Car (the 58th pole position of his career) and won his way by Todd Simpson, Jonnie Lindberg and Jack Beckman for his second final round appearance of the season. His opponent, J.R. Todd, held a perfect 4-0 record in final rounds after winning the Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas. Todd piloted his Kalitta Motorsports DHL Toyota to a 313.29 mph final run to defeat Hight and become the third driver in NHRA history to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at Royal Purple Raceway. The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues April 27-29 at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina.