zMAX Dragway’s Record Books Taken By Force

(HHP/Chris Owens photo)

 Brittany Force considers zMAX Dragway one of her favorite tracks. After  Saturday’s record-shattering run in the Top Fuel qualifying portion of the Circle K NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, its place among Force’s favorites is even more secure.

Force’s run in the third of four time trial sessions set a track record in elapsed time, going 336.32 miles per hour in a scorching 3.651 seconds. The result: the 45th No. 1 qualifier honors of her sterling career, and the ideal result for a haul of points in Sunday’s eliminations.

“That was an incredible run,” Force said. “I think it was more than my team expected. We had three solid runs, three of the four, which gives us enough information to carry it over and hopefully go some rounds (Sunday).

“We’ve had success here in the past. I love this track. It’s tricky, going four-wide, but it makes our teams better.”

Alexis DeJoria led the way after Friday’s pair of Funny Car qualifying sessions, but Bob Tasca III raised the bar on Saturday.

Tasca’s 3.852-second, 324-mile-per-hour run did the trick, giving Tasca the inside line to his first victory of the season.

“We’ve been working hard to get this car ready to win races,” Tasca said. “What made us really happy on that run was that we never showed our hand. The car shut off at 920 feet, and it was crazy. I was wide-open throttle, the car felt like it was a rocket ship, but the reason it was only 324 mph was that it shut off right at the end.

“Every lane, running four-wide, is a little different. We’ve got a good baseline for (Sunday). We have a good hot weather setup, we have a good cool weather setup, and I like our chances.”

Matt Hartford usurped Cristian Cuadra’s top Pro Stock time from Friday, using a 6.538-second, 208.52-mph run to snare the top spot for Sunday’s eliminations. 

“We went to bed last night really disappointed that we knew we had a car that was fast enough for the pole (but hadn’t gotten it),” Hartford said. “It was lucky for us that the car broke before we fired up. We thought, ‘Let’s just go out there and make a good run.’ We thought if it was a good run, it could be top-five and if it’s a great run, it could be the pole. 

“This is a lot of fun. I’ve never been in this position before.”

Gaige Herrera bettered his provisional No. 1 qualifying run from Friday, earning his second consecutive Pro Stock Motorcycle No. 1 qualifier, with a 6.735-second, 201-mph pass.

“I’m very impressed with this bike,” Herrera said. “I can’t ask for anything better out of my team. We’re always trying to improve, basically outdo yourself each round. For us to improve during the day, after what we did last night, it’s a credit to the hard work from the guys on the team. It’s showing. It’s a lot of pressure to have a top-tier bike, because there’s more pressure on me than on the bike.”


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