BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 20, 2022) – Brittany Force and the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet dragster tallied their sixth No. 1 of the season Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevy are sitting No. 2 narrowly missing the top spot. Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster have the No. 8 spot after a solid two days of qualifying and John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy will start from No. 13.
Brittany Force and the Monster Energy team, already sitting No.1. coming into the day, bettered their Friday evening performance with a stealth 3.661-second pass at 334.65 mph, further solidifying their top spot, the 38th of her career and second at Brainerd International Raceway. With the cloud cover gone, Force would lay down another solid run in the final qualifying session going 3.718 at 330.88.
“This Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac team has had some killer runs and been very consistent. That last run, we were trying to push a little bit more. Overall, though, we kept that No. 1 and put some solid passes on the race track,” said Force who has a first round bye. “We love being able to have four qualifying sessions, it gives us a chance to learn as much as possible about the track. We had three really good passes and collected some points and got ourselves to the top spot. I’m feeling good going into tomorrow with this new car, we like it so far and we get another test run tomorrow with a bye.”
The lead in Funny Car changed hands several times in the final session as incoming leader Robert Hight was bumped by Bob Tasca III, who ran 3.682 in his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang. A few moments later, Hagan delivered a crushing blow with one of the quickest runs of the season, a 3.843 to seal the pole and the accompanying bye run.
“Its impressive to do that, especially with the sun shining. That’s a testament to this track and the NHRA prep. I just think of what we might have been able to run if the cloud cover had stayed out,” said Hagan. “We’re in a great spot tomorrow with a bye run. Every round is big. I don’t think I can catch Robert, but we need to makes sure we stay No. 2 and make sure we start the Countdown in a great position.”
While Hagan is happy to have a bye run on Sunday, he’s not about to take anything for granted. He also noted that his team will have to change Dodge Charger bodies after damaging their special Mopar 85th anniversary Charger during Q4.
“Hey man, anything can happen, even on a bye run,” Hagan said. "You can still do something stupid and lose. We want to run well for the second round to get lane choice even though both lanes are good. I’m also happy that if feels like Fall again. Topeka was like racing on the surface of the sun but here, it’s cooling down and the track is tight and you can apply the power. These are the conditions that Dickie [Venables] loves. We seem to struggle in hot weather. I was happy when we ran two 3.89s in a row but Dickie wasn’t. He went for it and it stuck.”
Hight, the runaway championship leader, finished No. 2 and will race Steven Densham in round one while Tasca, arguably the hottest driver in the Funny Car class right now, will kick off his pursuit of a third win by racing Dale Creasy Jr. The other marquee match-up in Funny Car will feature No. 4 qualifier Ron Capps against John Force, who has won 11 of his 155 wins at Brainerd Int’l Raceway.
Saturday also featured the completion of the D-Wagon Pro Mod Shootout which went to Kris Thorne. The current championship leader wheeled his turbocharged Camaro to a 5.762 in the final round to beat Stevie “Fast” Jackson, who got loose at half-track in his Bahrain1 Camaro.
The Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway will continue with eliminations Sunday at 11 a.m. Television coverage of the event continues with a second qualifying show Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Eliminations will air Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX Broadcasting Network.
See a full recap from Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor:
Content: John Force Racing / NHRA
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