Friday qualifying leaders Brittany Force, Ron Capps, and Erica Enders will lead their respective pro classes into final eliminations while Eddie Krawiec took over the top spot following Saturday qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk.
Brittany Force and the Monster Energy / Flav-R-Pac Top Fuel dragster rallied to their third No. 1 qualifying position of the season Saturday at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park during the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
To start Saturday qualifying, Brittany Force handled the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster to a solid 3.835-second pass at 324.83 mph in much warmer conditions than Friday evening. The Monster Energy dragster would misstep in the final qualifying session, smoking the tires for only a 6.133 at 101.22. Force’s track record 3.666 pass at 333.08 from Friday night landed Force her third No. 1 of the season and second at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
“I haven’t won at this track so that’s definitely our plan coming out here. We had three solid runs in qualifying, just didn’t quite make it down in that last one. We knew after that .83 we could push it a little bit more, see what was out there,” Force said. “That 3.666 from last night puts this Monster Energy team No. 1 That’s really awesome and I’m proud of these Monster Energy guys. These runs today, they were important. We love the late night runs with those outstanding numbers but it doesn’t really help for race day. Today was important, getting that dragster down in the heat of the day in Q3, that was important for tomorrow.”
Fresh off of an impressive win last weekend, two-time and defending NHRA Funny Car world champion Ron Capps carried the momentum of his Bristol, Tenn. triumph into the NHRA Norwalk Nationals by qualifying his NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota GR Supra in the No. 1 spot.
Capps earned the pole position – his fourth of the year, third at Summit Motorsports Park, and 33rd overall, on the strength of his Q2 run, which saw him power the NAPA Supra to a stout 3.901-second at 328.38-mph pass. By capturing the No. 1 seed, Capps became the first among the trio of TGRNA Funny Car drivers to qualify the newly-introduced Supra on the top of the Funny Car elimination ladder.
“I said last night that it was going to take a bit to figure this car out, get it trimmed out to where (crew chiefs) ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli) and John Medlen felt comfortable,” said Capps, who enters race day ranked third on the Funny Car leaderboard. “Bristol was about as demanding a race day that we’ve seen all year with the bumps in the track, and the heat and humidity. It would have been a very steep learning curve had we not had the help from Del Worsham’s team and the Yella Fellas on what they’ve learned all season long. We definitely would not have had the success we’ve had right away; the win in Bristol and the first pole for the GR Supra, which is awesome.”
Since forming Ron Capps Motorsports ahead of the 2022 NHRA Camping World Series season, Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team have been a dominant force in the Funny Car category and continue to show why their NAPA Supra carries the No. 1 decal.
“That’s four No. 1 qualifiers this year,” said Capps of his team’s performance through the first 10 events. “That’s astounding for a new team like this, but I’m not surprised. I feel confident, and so happy for what this NAPA AutoCare Center team does in giving me these yellow hats that I want to get up on the biggest speaker I can get and yell about how good they are.”
Capps will start race day at the NHRA Norwalk Nationals with a round-one match-up versus Dale Creasy Jr. as he attempts to pick up his second consecutive victory in 2022 and his third as a new team owner but knows the competition will be fierce.
Four-time NHRA Pro Stock World Champion, Erica Enders, flew to the top of the ladder at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals thanks to a blistering pass that was more than three hundredths faster than any other car in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series category. The standout driver won the event last year at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park and has her eye on making it a repeat celebration this weekend. Picking up her 25th career No. 1 qualifier is a nice way to start.
On Friday evening, Enders stunned fans with an extraordinary run of 6.537-seconds at 210.11 MPH in the second round of qualifying to leap from the 13th position to No. 1 where she remained through the rest of qualifying. Despite strong attempts on Saturday by her fellow Pro Stock competitors, no one could touch Enders. The second fastest pass of qualifying went to Kyle Koretsky with his run of 6.570 at 207.88.
“If we can maintain lane choice throughout the day tomorrow, that’s going to be pretty significant throughout the day. We’ll just go out there and do our best,” said Enders. “It definitely helps to go somewhere you’ve been successful at in the past. We really enjoy coming here to race at Norwalk. And that little ice cream scoop (that accompanies the winning trophy at this event) adds a little extra motivation on race day. I’m confident in my guys and my racecar. It’s been an excellent car all year long and my Melling Performance team is top-notch. There’s no reason we can’t end up on top.”
Enders plans to power her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to the winners circle for the fifth time this season when eliminations kick off on Sunday. Enders will face her teammate Fernando Cuadra Jr. in the first round.
There was a fair among of movement in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class including the top spot where Eddie Krawiec took over from his Vance & Hines teammate, Angelle Sampey. Sampey ran a 6.80 on Friday and Krawiec was a tick quicker with a 6.798 during Saturday’s first session to grab the lead. Krawiec was also low of the second session with a 6.809.
Krawiec has now been the top qualifier 50 times in his career and will face Jianna Evaristo in Sunday’s opening round. The four-time champ is also chasing his 50th career Pro Stock Motorcycle victory. Three of Krawiec’s previous 49 wins have come in Norwalk.
“Fifty [low qualifiers], that makes me sound really old,” said Krawiec. “That’s a great accomplishment and it’s great to be one of the few people who can do that. I think we’ve turned the corner with my motorcycle, especially in the heat. We don’t really have data with my motorcycle as we do with [teammate Angelle Sampey’s]. Not everything correlates.
We took a big swing for Q3 and it worked. Then it repeated on the second lap. I’ve got a good motorcycle for tomorrow. We just need to keep it managed. If we can do that, I‘ve got a good chance. To get 50 [low qualifiers] and 50 wins in the same weekend would be something cool. There’s not many who can say they’ve done that and wins are a lot harder to come by these days. It’s a lot harder than 15 or 20 years ago.”
Sampey, looking to avenge last week’s final round red-light, will begin her quest for a victory with a round one race against Ron Tornow while the battle between Steve Johnson and Bristol winner Jerry Savoie is also one to watch closely.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series competition will begin Sunday at 11:00 AM at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
See a recap by Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor:
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