Force earned her seventh straight Number 1 qualifier and her ninth of the 2021 season. The streak of seven straight top qualifiers is the most since 2007 when Greg Anderson had seven in a row. She becomes the first driver in Top Fuel history to have seven straight top qualifiers during one season.
“That’s a pretty outstanding record to have” Force said. “But really, looking at today and yesterday, that Q2 run that we had today, to be able to step it up was pretty outstanding. That was a big run for us and that’s the run I’m most excited about. But we laid three solid passes down and that’s pretty outstanding. I’m proud of this team and I can’t wait to get this Countdown going. We’re all pumped and we’re all excited, and we’re all delivering. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
It’s Pedregon’s first top qualifier since going to the top at Chicago in 2015. Pedregon was solidly in the field at fifth, but crew chief John Collins stepped it up to close out the day and it paid off. Cruz is looking for his third win at the track on Sunday.
“I didn’t even realize it was that long ago,” said Pedregon. “We’ve been steady and knocking on the door. John Collins, my crew chief, definitely thought there’s great rewards and it would pay off to get that No. 1 spot and get on the right side of the ladder. Sometimes winning these races, you have to get on the right side of the ladder and avoid the big hitters, until the later rounds. That’s how it worked out. The car really responded, and it really has been responding the last six races. The car is just so consistent. I don’t know if I’ve ever driven a car as consistent as this one. It’s not easy to drive, but it’s going places, that’s for sure.”
Erica Enders earned her first No. 1 qualifier since the fall Charlotte race in 2019. She’ll open eliminations against Larry Morgan, feeling good about the way her team is performing now that the Countdown has arrived.
“We’ll need all the points we can get and those qualifying points will definitely matter. They have in our past championship runs and we’ll take all we can get, but having a great race car going into Sunday definitely gives you confidence” Enders said. “After the Friday night session, we felt like we left some on the table, so we felt like there was more. I definitely feel like we’re all clicking. We have our work cut out for us and the competition is stout, but I’m ready to get down to business.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, nobody could top Angelle Sampey who delivered a pair of great runs on Saturday. Her run of 6.745 at 196.64 earned her the top spot for the second time this season and 53rd time in her career. Sampey ran great in all three of her qualifying runs and she hopes it's a long Sunday as she seeks her first win of the season.
“It was a great start to the weekend and I’m excited about it because it’s the same motorcycle I’ve had all year long” said Sampey. “That bike was capable of doing that from Gainesville to here, it was just me not driving it well. I’m starting to get the hang of it and I’m starting to get more comfortable on the bike, and it’s showing. My teammate Eddie, did so well at Indy, qualifying No. 1 and winning the race, and I’d like to follow in his footsteps this weekend.”
Sampey's first win in Pro Stock Motorcycle came at Maple Grove Raceway 25 years ago.
Check out the full recap by Josh Hachat: