Top Fuel points leader Brittany Force made the quickest run in each qualifying session on Friday, taking the provisional No. 1 spot and breaking both ends of the Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park track record at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
Ron Capps (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 10th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
In the final pair of the second session, Force went 3.666s at 333.08mph in her Monster Energy dragster, powering to the quickest and fastest run ever in Norwalk history. Should it hold, Force, who broke her own E.T. track record from a year ago, would qualify No. 1 for the third time this season and 35th time overall as the points leader looks to win for the fourth time in 2022 and first time at Norwalk.
“After the run in the first session, we had a shot where we could really push it,” Force said. “I wasn’t expecting a [3.66s], but it was an incredible, beautiful run. It was a great way to end the night. We’re just way ahead of ourselves and being in the points lead is a great position. We want to stay there all season and we just keep chipping away weekend after weekend. To come out here and put a 3.66s on the board, it makes us all feel pretty good.”
Bristol winner Justin Ashley raced to the No. 2 spot after his run of 3.707s at 330.96mph, while Mike Salinas, who also has three wins this season, went 3.744s at 327.51mph to put him third.
Coming off his impressive Bristol win, Capps stepped up during the final session on Friday with a 3.901s at 328.38mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra. It would be Capps’ first No. 1 in the new Supra body and his fourth of the season if it holds up. The defending world champ is also looking to track down his third win of the season. After a stout performance during eliminations on Sunday in Bristol, Capps appeared to keep his momentum rolling at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
“The first run today, I let it get out of the groove and I was pretty bummed out,” Capps said. “I knew we had the potential to go down the track and go to the pole. We’re running well and to run that number, it was awesome. We hung on to the top spot and it was a great job by our guys.”
John Force took the second spot after his strong run of 3.903s at 330.15mph and teammate Robert Hight followed in third with his 3.907s at 329.91mph. Points leader Matt Hagan is fifth.
Enders delivered a massive run during the second Pro Stock qualifying session, going 6.537s at 210.11mph in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. The points leader nearly broke her own track record, and nobody else came close to topping her on Friday, putting Enders in prime position to record her second No. 1 qualifier this season. After advancing to her fourth straight final round of 2022 last weekend, Enders seemed to send another message with a remarkable run on Friday in Norwalk.
“As soon as I let the clutch out, I knew we were on a good run,” Enders said. “When you get through low gear like that, you can definitely feel when you have a good 60-foot time. I felt like we were going to crush it. It was really an awesome run. I feel very confident in our setup during the summer months. It’s going to be a battle all summer, but I’ve got the best guys behind me, so I feel very confident.”
Kyle Koretsky was a distant second behind the points leader with a 6.570s and Aaron Stanfield, who snapped Enders’ three-race winning streak last weekend, was third after going 6.574s at 208.23mph.
Sampey capped off her Friday with a strong run to pace the field in Pro Stock Motorcycle, going 6.801s at 197.74mph on her Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki. The three-time world champ is after her second straight top spot, third this season and 56th in her career. More importantly, Sampey is trying to pick up her first win of the season after coming close in Bristol. She advanced to the final round last weekend before a red light, but Sampey bounced back on Friday in impressive fashion.
“I’m definitely excited about it because we didn’t make the run we wanted to in the first session,” Sampey said. “That [second] run was exactly where we thought it would be. We had great momentum coming in here off of Bristol and that gives the whole team confidence. We’re having a good time and we just hope to keep this momentum going and finish the job at the end of the weekend. It’s a very quick and fast bike, and I’m doing a better job driving, so that makes it more fun.”
Angie Smith enjoyed a solid day and is currently second with her pass of 6.811s at 199.91mph, while points leader Steve Johnson is right behind after going 6.824s at 195.28mph.
Qualifying continues at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.