Top Fuel points leader Brittany Force delivered a massive performance to close out qualifying on Saturday at Pacific Raceways, rocketing to the No. 1 position at the 33rd annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Bob Tasca III (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) also qualified No. 1 at the 13th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the final stop during the three-race NHRA Western Swing.
After struggling through the first two Top Fuel qualifying sessions, Force and her team delivered to close out the day, putting together an impressive run of 3.753s at 327.35mph in her Flav-R-Pac/Monster Energy dragster. It sent Force to the top, giving the Top Fuel points leader her fifth No. 1 spot of the season and 37th in her career. It may not have been the most ideal way to get to No. 1, but Force, who will open eliminations against Jim Maroney, praised the work of her team as she looks to win for the second consecutive week and the first time in Seattle.
“That was really important for this Flav-R-Pac team to make a killer run and get down the racetrack,” Force said. “We had answers to our first two runs and made a solid pass on the third one. I wasn’t expecting that in the heat, but [crew chief David] Grubnic said he wanted to push and wanted to get us in the top of the field. It was pretty outstanding for this Flav-R-Pac team. We need to do it at a Flav-R-Pac-sponsored race, and I think we made the boss happy today.”
Steve Torrence’s 3.819s at 321.50mph from Friday gave him the second spot as the four-time defending world champ looks to win for the first time this season. Tony Schumacher had a strong run to close Saturday as well, qualifying third with a 3.830s at 315.78mph.
Tasca picked up his first No. 1 qualifier of the year in Funny Car when his run of 3.965s at 319.82mph from Friday in his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang, but he was just as good to close out qualifying on Saturday, going 3.969s at 322.42mph. Combined, it gives Tasca a great deal of confidence heading into eliminations, where he will try to win for a second consecutive week. He was the only driver in the class to make a 3s run on Saturday, furthering the belief his team is performing at a high level to close out the Western Swing.
“The conditions were the same as last night and the guys said it would run the same. It did it last night and it should do it again,” said Tasca, who has seven career No. 1 qualifiers. “If you look at the field, that’s a dominant run. I’m excited about where this team is at, and we’ve got a car that can win. We just have to keep taking this one round at a time and continue to do what we’re capable of doing. With a good car like this and running like it is, we want to do as much damage as we can. I think people are realizing this is no accident, but we’re racing the best of the best, so you have to continue to take it one round at a time.”
Alexis DeJoria stayed in the second spot with her 3.994s at 313.95mph from Friday, while John Force, who won his 150th career race at Seattle in 2019, took third with a pass of 4.001s at 311.92mph.
Reigning world champ Anderson earned his first No. 1 qualifier of 2022 and 119th in his career thanks to his run of 6.604s at 208.07mph on Saturday in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro. Anderson has enjoyed a stellar two days of qualifying, making the quickest run in two of the three sessions, and missing the third only on speed. After qualifying second and advancing to the final round in Sonoma last weekend, Anderson, who was No. 1 12 times a year ago, continues to build momentum at an ideal time. The only thing left for the KB Racing standout is a victory, and if it happens on Sunday, it would hand the five-time world champ his 100th career win.
“It’s tough out there, but I feel the best I’ve felt all year and I think our car is ready,” Anderson said. “It’s the best hot rod I’ve had all year, without a doubt, and now the driver has to do his job tomorrow. Hopefully, we show we can earn a win. We’ve found some things between Sonoma and here and it’s put us right back in the hunt. Last weekend, it was a great feeling to be back in the final round. That gives you a lot of confidence and we’ve tried to build off that. But without a doubt, I’ve got a great horse to race with on Sunday.”
Points leader Erica Enders, who was the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday, will start raceday from the second spot with her run of 6.608s at 209.26mph. Her Elite Motorsports teammate Aaron Stanfield is right behind with a 6.609s at 208.94mph.
Eliminations for the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals begin at 10:30 a.m. PT on Sunday at Pacific Raceways. Television coverage begins at 1 p.m. PT on FOX.