Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac dragster team are sitting in the provisional No. 1 spot Friday night at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Robert Hight with the Automobile Club of Southern California and John Force with the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaros are currently sitting No. 2 and 3, respectively, in Funny Car.
After delays due to issues with the timing, Brittany Force and the David Grubnic and Mac Savage led Flav-R-Pac team found themselves making their first qualifying pass under the lights at Thunder Valley. Sitting No. 2 in points, the 2017 world champion would run in the final pair of nitro cars. The Flav-R-Pac team took full advantage laying down a track record 3.682-second pass at 328.94 mph.
“We definitely made a few changes in that downtime, but I try to stay out of it, it gets my head in the wrong place and I start worrying about thins so I leave that to the team and David Grubnic and Mac Savage. They did a fantastic job with whatever adjustments they did make with the sun going down and the track cooling down,” said Force, who has set five elapsed time and six speed track records this season. “We made it down there. I wasn’t sure if she was going to make, it was moving around and it felt like it was going to let go but we made it to that finish line.”
Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 18th of 20 races during the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the fifth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Force blistered the track record at Thunder Valley with an impressive run of 3.682 seconds at 328.94mph in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac dragster, sending her back to the No. 1 spot. If it holds, it would give the former world champ an incredible 12 No. 1 qualifiers this season and 10 in the last 11 races. She entered the weekend 52 points back of points leader Steve Torrence and Friday was the start of what Force hopes is a big weekend.
Wilkerson drove to the No. 1 spot in his 11,000-horsepower Levi, Ray & Shop Ford Shelby Mustang with a pass of 3.965-seconds at 295.27mph. If it holds, it would give Wilkerson his first No. 1 qualifier since 2019 and 21st in his career as he tries to finish his 2021 season on a good note. Wilkerson has one victory during the Countdown to the Championship this year and is after a second with three Funny Car races remaining. Robert Hight is currently second after going 3.968 at 323.50, while his teammate, John Force, is right behind with an identical 3.968 at a slower 322.73.
Picking up right where he left off in Dallas, Pro Stock Motorcycle went to the top on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR with a run of 6.900 at 197.51. This weekend marks the first official race for the class at Thunder Valley and Smith, the defending world champ and current points leader, made a strong first impression. If it holds, it would be the fourth No. 1 qualifier for Smith this season and 47th in his career.
After a slow start in the Countdown to the Championship, Smith is back to his usual impressive form, winning in Dallas and putting together a strong run in Bristol to open the weekend. It is the fourth of six playoff races in the class and Smith had an eight-point lead on Steve Johnson entering the weekend.
Chris Bostick is currently second after going 6.927 at 193.27, while Johnson is currently third with a solid pass of 6.942 at 193.60.