SONOMA — The Forces were strong at Sonoma Raceway, Friday.
Led by two provisional No. 1 qualifying spots and another No. 3, the John Force Racing team showed it would be the one to contend with this weekend during the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
First up was Courtney Force, who raced to the fastest time in Funny Car with a pass of 4.045 seconds in the second session at 319.22 mph.
Her father John Force came in at No. 3, running a lap of 4.070 at 313.73.
“I want to improve on it (Saturday), but I’m just excited for my Traxxas team,” Courtney Force said. “It was a good day for us and it’s great to have Dad right behind me in the field.
“And my sister Brittany going to the No. 1 spot (in Top Fuel). It’s definitely exciting to see. Hopefully Brittany and I can hold on to it (heading into Sunday’s finals).”
Courtney and John were 1-2 after the first qualifying session.
Brittany wasn’t No. 1 after Friday’s first Top Fuel session, but came back after the sun went down and made a pass of 3.762 seconds at 325.53 mph to claim the provisional pole.
“It’s really exciting to be No. 1, especially with Courtney,” Brittany said. “We did that back in Topeka (Kansas). It’s great to be able to come out here to Sonoma. I love coming out to Sonoma.
“Actually, the run felt kind of slow. So when they told me what I ran, I was shocked. I thought I heard them wrong. I was pumped and I was excited. I couldn’t believe it.”
Doug Kalitta was No. 2 in Top Fuel, turning a lap of 3.791 at 324.20, with Tony Schumacher (3.793, 323.93), Antron Brown (3.796, 319.60) and Richie Crampton (3.799, 324.05) rounding out the Top 5.
In between the Forces in the No. 2 Funny Car spot was Cruz Pedregon’s lap of 4.051 at 311.92 mph.
Rounding out the Top 5 Funny Cars were Jack Beckman (4.075 (314.83) and Matt Hagan (4.075, 307.30).
The Pro Stock class qualifying is always close and Friday wasn’t any different, with the Top 5 qualifiers all within .014 seconds of one another.
Jason Line bounced back from a poor pass in the opening round to grab the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot in Pro Stock, racing to a pass of 6.550 seconds at 210.93 mph.
Shane Gray’s lap of 6.552 at 211.03 was No. 2, Allen Johnson (6.558, 210.97) No. 3, Greg Anderson (6.562, 210.93) No. 4 and Dave Connolly (6.564, 209.85) was No. 5.
“Everybody will be faster (Saturday), that’s for sure,” Line said. “But the track was very good. It’s always good here. This is a great place to race. I love racing here and Team Summit loves racing here.
“This was a great place to start. I looked at the forecast (for Saturday) and it’s going to be cooler tomorrow. The track will be cooler and everyone gets acclimated to the race track. Even if the weather was the same tomorrow, I think someone will still go faster.”
John Hall led all qualifiers Friday in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, making a pass in the second session at 6.951 seconds at 192.11 mph.
““I hope it holds,” Hall said. It was slick in the first round but then it hooked (in the second round). . . . I spun (my tire) in the first round), then the track cooled off a little bit. If you make it through the (first) 60 feet without anything funky happening, you know you have a pretty good run.”
Jerry Savoie’s attempt of 6.953 at 194.38 mph held up from the first round for the No. 2 spot.
Steve Johnson (6.956, 191,16), Matt Smith (6.964, 191.81) and Hector Arana (6.984, 191.62) rounded out the Top 5 motorcycles.