A pair of women ruled qualifying on Friday at zMAX Dragway, as Brittany Force and Alexis DeJoria powered to the provisional No. 1 spot in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, during the opening round of qualifying at the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte.
Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the fourth race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. Qualifying continues on Saturday and zMAX Dragway will be able to operate at full capacity. After an executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday, grandstand limitations were lifted, allowing fans to return to zMAX Dragway without limitation.
Force put on a show under the lights on Friday in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac dragster, going 3.662-seconds at 333.08 mph to make the quickest and fastest runs in zMAX Dragway history. Force, who also owns both ends of the national record, is in line to grab her second No. 1 qualifier of the 2021 season and 22nd in her career.
“I’m just pumped after a run like that,” Force said. “The four-wide race can be tough and tricky, and I just have to keep my focus. (Crew chief David) Grubnic said we were going to have a killer run, and Grubnic, Mac Savage, and all of my guys, I’m just so proud of them.”
Defending three-time world champ Steve Torrence is second, following Force’s blast with a pass of 3.683 at 316.97. Leah Pruett rounds out the top three after going 3.718 at 324.59. Six drivers made three-second runs under the lights on Friday.
After struggling in Atlanta, DeJoria redeemed herself in a major way in Funny Car, going 3.930 at 301.74 in her 11,000-horsepower ROKit Toyota Camry. If it holds, it would give DeJoria her first No. 1 qualifier this season and fifth in her career. DeJoria was the only driver in the class to make a three-second run on Friday, with drivers getting two more chances on Saturday. DeJoria will look to build on her run as well, while Mike McIntire is currently qualified second after his solid run of 4.019 at 313.15. Dave Richards is in the third spot. DeJoria and McIntire were the only drivers to make 300-mph runs as well.
Pro Stock points leader Anderson raced to the provisional No. 1 spot with a run of 6.524 at 210.50 in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro. Should it hold, it would continue Anderson’s torrid start to the 2021 campaign and give him four straight No. 1 qualifiers this season and 110 in his standout career. Anderson, a four-time world champ, is also after his third win of the season in four races. Aaron Stanfield was a spot behind with a solid pass of 6.533 at 210.67 and Kyle Koretsky is currently third after going 6.535 at 210.87.
Joey Gladstone put on an impressive display in Pro Stock Motorcycle and is in line for his first career No. 1 qualifier. He went a career-best 6.763 at 198.58 on his Precision Service Equipment Suzuki, setting the track record at zMAX Dragway and giving him a great chance for his first top spot. Defending world champ and points leader Matt Smith broke the track speed record en route to the No. 2 spot, going 6.778 at 201.10. It also gives him the fifth-fastest run in Pro Stock Motorcycle history. Eddie Krawiec was a spot behind after his run of 6.828 at 201.07.
In E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series action, points leader Justin Bond is the current No. 1 qualifier after his run of 5.631 at 253.75. It is the second-quickest pass in class history.
Qualifying continues Saturday at the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at 1:15 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at www.zmaxdragway.com.