J. FORCE, SALINAS AND JOHNSON POWER TO WINS NO. 1 AT CIRCLE K NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS
John Force finished off a dominating weekend with his first victory of the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, racing to his 155th career Funny Car win on Sunday at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all picked up wins at the sixth of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Force qualified No. 1 with a track-record run of 3.850-seconds, set the track speed record with a blast of 335.07 mph in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK/BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS during the first round of eliminations and then finished off the weekend with a run of 3.914 at 328.66 in the final round, knocking off Robert Hight, defending world champion Ron Capps and first-time finalist Mike McIntire Jr. Force, the 16-time Funny Car world champ, had the standout car all weekend, rolling to his second straight four-wide win in Charlotte and he also dedicated the win to his daughter, Adria, who is recovering from a medical issue.
“Things just seem to happen where you’re destined to win,” Force said. “It was amazing. On some days, magical things just happen. Things went right and we were able to win the race. It was like it was destiny and it was a great weekend for my team. To finally get a win this year gives me a lot of confidence.”
Hight finished as the runner-up as he advanced to his third final round of the 2022 season. He remained second in points behind leader Matt Hagan, while Force jumped to fourth.
In Top Fuel, Salinas earned his second victory this season and fifth in his career, going an impressive 3.708 at 330.47 in his 11,000-horsepower Pep Boys/Scrappers Racing dragster in a final round quad that also featured Cameron Ferre, Spencer Massey, and Josh Hart. On a wild day that included a number of upsets, Salinas was consistent throughout, running 3.765 and 3.708 to reach final round. He put together another solid run in the finals, joining Brittany Force as the only two-time winners in the class in 2022.
“We have a very, very consistent car," Salinas said. “The consistency of the car, the crew, everybody on the team, it's amazing. Rob Flynn is an amazing crew chief. All our runs (in eliminations) were in the 70s. We’ve worked so hard to get here. Most people don't understand this stuff is hard, We're racing the best guys in the world. But if you believe you belong here, do the right things to stay here, you're going to be here, and you're going to win."
Cameron Ferre finished as the runner-up, going 3.924 at 307.44 as he tried to pick up his first career win. Brittany Force maintained the points lead, while Salinas moved into second with the victory.
The Charlotte four-wide event continues to treat Johnson very well, as the Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran rode his way to a second straight win and a second consecutive victory at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Johnson went 6.740 at 200.65 on his USA Electric Suzuki in the finals, easily distancing himself from Karen Stoffer, Eddie Krawiec and Joey Gladstone. It gives Johnson his 11th career victory and plenty of momentum after also winning last weekend in Houston. At zMAX Dragway, Johnson had the quickest bike of every session during eliminations, including an impressive run of 6.712 at 201.40 in the second round that set the track record. He also moved into the points lead with his second victory this season.
“These bikes, they’re so hard to ride perfectly,” Johnson said. “We made some good runs today, but it’s never going to be an easy day in this class. For us to win, it’s special and this track is always a special place. Anytime you can win and win a race at a Bruton Smith track, you’re killing it and doing a great job.”
Stoffer, who won the opener, in Gainesville finished as the runner-up with her run of 6.824 at 198.88 in the championship round quad. She now trails Johnson by six points.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action May 13-15 with the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Justin Ashley picked up his first career No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel on Saturday, clinching his first top spot at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
John Force (Funny Car) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the sixth of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
On the strength of his pass of 3.669-seconds at 331.77 mph on Friday in his 11,000-horsepower Phillips Connect dragster powered by Vita C Shot, Ashley secured his first No. 1 position in his young career, doing so at the same track where he made his Top Fuel debut in 2019. Ashley will open eliminations in a first-round quad that also features Cameron Ferre, Austin Prock and Antron Brown, looking to power to his second win of 2022 and potentially take over the points lead in Top Fuel.
“We’ve accomplished a lot in a short period of time, but to be able to sit here and say we’ve qualified No. 1 at an event like this with the depth in this Top Fuel field, it really says a lot about our team,” Ashley said. “I’m along for the ride and I’m enjoying it, that much I can tell you. There’s pressure on raceday because it’s raceday. It’s just about going out there and putting our best foot forward.”
Leah Pruett qualified second with a 3.686 at 327.51, making a series of strong runs in qualifying, while four-time defending event winner Steve Torrence grabbed the third spot with a 3.694. Prock, who qualified eighth, broke the track speed record during the final session with a blast of 333.58. Points leader Brittany Force, who has back-to-back wins this year, qualified seventh.
In Funny Car, Force’s track-record run of 3.850 at 334.24 from Friday in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK/BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS helped the 16-time world champ secure his first top qualifier of the year and 164th in his career. Force is the defending event winner at the four-wide event in Charlotte and has already enjoyed a solid weekend at “The Bellagio of Dragstrips,” making three stellar passes during qualifying. He’ll try to get his first win of 2022, opening Sunday with a quad that features Bob Tasca III and Alexis DeJoria.
“It's a team effort and Robert Hight ran quicker, 3.87 to our 3.89 (in the final qualifying session), but feel I good about that because three out of four good runs for us and a little consistency," Force said. "If Robert wins, we win, but I want to win, too. He's got a couple on board (in 2022); I need to get going there. Consistency is what we're looking for. I'm trying to find myself on the Tree. So, good day for (our team) and let's see where tomorrow goes.”
Points leader Matt Hagan, who won last weekend in Houston, stayed in second thanks to his pass of 3.867 at 330.55 from Friday, while defending world champ Ron Capps rounded out the top three thanks to his 3.873 at 332.02.
Sampey turned in a banner performance on Saturday, making two quality runs on her Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki, including a top run of 6.714 at 201.16 to give the three-time world champion her first No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 54th in her career. Sampey added another strong run of 6.721 at 201.82 to close out the day, giving her the two quickest runs of the weekend thus far and plenty of momentum heading into eliminations on Sunday. Sampey, who will meet Kelly Clontz, Joey Gladstone and defending world champ Matt Smith in the first round of eliminations, is seeking her first win of the season.
“We were a little late on this No. 1 qualifier,” Sampey said. “We should have had it in Gainesville, we should have had it in Houston, and we definitely got it here, thank goodness. I knew my Suzuki had it in it, but I’ve been most of the problem. It’s just an awesome motorcycle and (crew chief) Andrew (Hines) is doing a great job tuning. This team gives me everything I need and it’s up to me to get the job done, and I’m going to work on that tomorrow. The confidence is definitely coming and we’re learning the bike together, and it’s all coming together.”
Friday’s provisional No. 1 Steve Johnson, who won last weekend in Houston, improved on his time, taking the second spot after going 6.732 at 200.05. Points leader Karen Stoffer is third thanks to a 6.763 at 199.79.
In the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, Justin Bond drove to the No. 1 position with his pass of 5.744 at 248.20. It is the sixth career No. 1 qualifier for Bond, who will look for his first win of the season at a race that is powered by Precision Racing Suspension. Gainesville winner Kris Thorne qualified second with a 5.751 at 253.42 and Rickie Smith is third after going 5.760 at 252.76.
Eliminations for the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals begin at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday at zMAX Dragway.
First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the 12th annual Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway, the sixth of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Justin Ashley, 3.669 seconds, 331.77 mph vs. 16. Cameron Ferre, 3.854, 319.45 vs. 8. Austin Prock, 3.719, 333.58 vs. 9. Antron Brown, 3.729, 329.10; 2. Leah Pruett, 3.686, 329.10 vs. 15. Tony Schumacher, 3.831, 319.98 vs. 7. Brittany Force, 3.716, 332.92 vs. 10. Spencer Massey, 3.749, 325.53; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.694, 329.02 vs. 14. Shawn Langdon, 3.798, 322.50 vs. 6. Josh Hart, 3.715, 329.50 vs. 11. Clay Millican, 3.756, 325.53; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.700, 327.43 vs. 13. Alex Laughlin, 3.777, 317.27 vs. 5. Mike Salinas, 3.706, 329.10 vs. 12. Doug Foley, 3.774, 306.60.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.854, 317.72; 18. Krista Baldwin, 3.924, 297.88.
Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.850, 334.24 vs. Bye vs. vs. 8. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.909, 329.34 vs. 9. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Supra, 3.936, 328.38; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.867, 330.55 vs. 15. Mike McIntire, Toyota Camry, 4.340, 215.62 vs. 7. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.894, 325.37 vs. 10. Paul Lee, Charger, 3.937, 325.30; 3. Ron Capps, Supra, 3.873, 332.02 vs. 14. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.100, 255.05 vs. 6. J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.893, 330.63 vs. 11. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.002, 309.20; 4. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.876, 329.99 vs. 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.082, 246.71 vs. 5. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.876, 328.38 vs. 12. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.028, 309.49.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.714, 201.82 vs. 16. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.983, 191.81 vs. 8. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.804, 199.82 vs. 9. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.834, 200.11; 2. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.732, 200.05 vs. 15. Ron Tornow, Victory, 6.966, 188.52 vs. 7. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.801, 200.44 vs. 10. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.840, 196.22; 3. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.763, 199.79 vs. 14. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.934, 196.07 vs. 6. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.793, 200.08 vs. 11. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.885, 194.21; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.779, 198.85 vs. 13. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.924, 198.70 vs. 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.781, 199.76 vs. 12. Michael Ray, Victory, 6.892, 195.90.
Did Not Qualify: 17. David Barron, broke.
John Force set both ends of the track record at zMAX Dragway on Friday, making the fastest run ever at the facility to power to the Funny Car provisional No. 1 position at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
Justin Ashley (Top Fuel) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the sixth of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Force, the 16-time Funny Car world champ, went a blistering 3.850-seconds at 334.24 mph in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK/BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS, eclipsing the track record of 3.851 set by his daughter, Courtney, five years ago, while the speed was the fastest ever in both nitro categories. If it holds, Force would earn his first No. 1 of the season and the 164th of his legendary career. He started the day with a pass of 3.858 at 333.25 in the opening session and saw even more improvement under the lights at zMAX Dragway, making a spectacular run to close out the day.
“We’re looking for consistency and this was a good night for our team,” Force said. “We found something there and I was driving right down the groove. It was pretty cool and a good night for our team. I’ve felt some pressure the last couple weeks, but sometimes you get tested in life and to come back and run like this feels good.”
Matt Hagan, who won last weekend in Houston, moved into the second spot after his run of 3.867 at 330.55 and defending world champ Ron Capps is third after he went 3.873 at 332.02.
In Top Fuel, Ashley is in line for his first career No. 1 qualifier thanks to his impressive pass of 3.669 at 331.77 in his 11,000-horsepower Phillips Connect powered by Vita C Shot dragster. After advancing to the final round just days ago in Houston, the young standout put on a show under the lights in Charlotte, continuing his consistency from what has been a solid 2022 season. Currently third in points, Ashley already has one win this season and made two strong runs during the two sessions on Friday. To qualify No. 1 at the track where he made his Top Fuel debut in 2019.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish a lot in a short period of time, but the one thing that’s sort of eluded us is the No. 1 qualifier,” Ashley said. “It’s obviously great to be able to qualify No. 1, but it’s all about positioning yourself for raceday. That was the goal and to be able to accomplish that, it was a lot of fun. We’re going to keep our foot to the floor and keep at it.”
Leah Pruett is currently in the second spot thanks to her strong run of 3.686 at 327.51, while Steve Torrence, who has won the last four four-wide races in Charlotte, is third after going 3.694 at 327.43.
After winning last weekend in Houston, Johnson took the top provisional spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle right off the trailer, going 6.767 at 198.70 on his USA Electric Suzuki. Johnson ran into trouble during the second round of qualifying when his bike xxx on the starting line but having success in Charlotte isn’t anything new for the veteran these days. He picked his first win in the class in seven years when Johnson won in Charlotte last year and he appears on a solid track thus far this weekend at zMAX Dragway, moving in contention to qualify first for the eighth time in his career.
“The bike was good and if I would have driven it better it would have been even quicker,” Johnson said. “These bikes are very challenging to ride and to try to go 6.60s or (low 6.70s), the rider really has to do an incredible job. There’s a lot of stuff going on in six-and-a-half seconds. It comes at you so fast and it’s a lot of work to ride them perfectly.”
Angelle Sampey matched Johnson on time but sits second after going 6.767 at 196.19 and Eddie Krawiec is currently third with a 6.779 at 198.73.
Qualifying continues at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Results Friday after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 12th annual Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway, sixth of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Justin Ashley, 3.669 seconds, 331.77 mph; 2. Leah Pruett, 3.686, 327.51; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.694, 327.43; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.700, 325.77; 5. Mike Salinas, 3.708, 329.10; 6. Josh Hart, 3.715, 327.59; 7. Brittany Force, 3.725, 332.92; 8. Austin Prock, 3.725, 330.31; 9. Antron Brown, 3.729, 329.10; 10. Spencer Massey, 3.749, 325.53; 11. Doug Foley, 3.774, 293.47; 12. Clay Millican, 3.787, 324.59; 13. Shawn Langdon, 3.798, 322.50; 14. Alex Laughlin, 3.853, 311.05; 15. Cameron Ferre, 3.854, 319.45; 16. Tony Schumacher, 3.895, 294.56.
Not Qualified: 17. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.999, 266.06; 18. Krista Baldwin, 4.214, 242.32.
Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.850, 334.24; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.867, 330.55; 3. Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 3.873, 332.02; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.876, 328.38; 5. J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.893, 330.63; 6. Blake Alexander, Ford Mustang, 3.894, 325.37; 7. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.905, 326.00; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.909, 329.34; 9. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.960, 321.81; 10. Paul Lee, Charger, 3.978, 317.49; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.028, 309.49; 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.082, 246.71; 13. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.100, 255.05; 14. Mike McIntire, Toyota Camry, 4.401, 202.33; 15. Chad Green, Mustang, 8.111, 70.67.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.767, 198.70; 2. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.767, 196.19; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.779, 198.73; 4. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.793, 199.55; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.801, 198.29; 6. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.804, 198.47; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.813, 199.14; 8. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.825, 200.44; 9. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.837, 199.88; 10. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.840, 196.22; 11. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.885, 193.16; 12. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.924, 196.96; 13. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.934, 194.16; 14. Michael Ray, Victory, 6.961, 194.16; 15. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.010, 189.82; 16. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.135, 184.35.
Not Qualified: 17. David Barron, broke.