CONCORD, N.C. — All four provisional leaders retained their ladder positions on Saturday at zMAX Dragway, with Top Fuel journeyman Clay Millican leading the list of No. 1 qualifiers at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
Courtney Force (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also topped their respective classes ahead of the sixth of 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Millican’s Friday pass of 3.716 seconds at 325.77 mph remained the fast mark among the 18-car field, putting his Great Clips/Parts Plus/Stringer Performance team on top as they seek their first win in Sunday’s final eliminations.
“I know every time we show up at the race track we can win,” Millican said. “With this car and this team, every time we go out, I think we can win the race.”
“Grubby [crew chief Dave Grubnic] has told me multiple times that he’d trade the green hat [given to all No. 1 qualifiers] in a moment for a couple of good, competitive runs down this hot race track, but we got two good runs and the hat today, so I’m happy.”
Millican, a multi-time IHRA champion and race winner, is still seeking both his first NHRA national event win and his first win in a four-round format, so he likes the fact that Sunday only features three quads.
“I like my odds tomorrow. It’s a three-round race and won a lot of three-round races; I just haven’t won a fourth. I’m looking forward to it.”
Millican will meet Shawn Langdon, three-time season winner Leah Pritchett and Terry Haddock in his first-round quad on Sunday.
Doug Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster remained second on its Friday pass, holding station on a 3.718 at 322.73 mph, as did defending and three-time Top Fuel champion Antron Brown in third (3.720/328.06).
Smax Smith and Luigi Novelli did not crack the field after four rounds of drills on Friday and Saturday.
In Funny Car, John Force Racing remained one-two-three, led by the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro of Courtney Force as she scored her 13th career No. 1 qualifier and third in a row.
All three of Force’s quick efforts have set track records this season — coming at Las Vegas, Houston and Charlotte, respectively — and she has now run a 3.851 elapsed time in qualifying for back-to-back races.
“It’s really cool, being at Advance Auto Parts’ home track, to hold on to the No. 1 spot,” Force said. “Looking at the killer runs we’ve laid down, huge props to my team. This is our third in a row; that’s a really cool feeling, because I’ve never done that before. We’re just flying down the race track right now.”
She will line up against Jonnie Lindberg, J.R. Todd and Bob Tasca III in the first quad on Sunday.
Second-place Robert Hight’s Friday pass of 3.873 at 333.91 mph in the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro captured the track speed record, while John Force’s run of 3.889 at 323.43 remained third-quick.
Dave Richards, Jeff Diehl and Dale Creasy Jr. failed to qualify for Sunday’s eliminations.
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