By Gary P Jackson
Though rain has been the big winner so far at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, between the wet stuff, there has been some great racing in the sportsman ranks, quick and fast qualifying in the professional classes, and one of the two Traxxas Nitro Shootouts.
Courtney Force’s tweet says it all:
Our Traxxas team goes to the #1 spot after career best run of 4.049 and track speed record at 317mph! Great day for our @TraxxasRacing team!—
Courtney Force (@courtneyforce) September 02, 2012
4.049 at 317.27 mph, to be exact. Before that pass Courtney was qualified in the third spot with 4.085 at 311.56 shot from Friday night that had put her temporarily in the top spot, only to be bested by the next pair down the track. On that run Johnny Gray ran a 4.079 at 310.98 for number two as Jack Beckman blazed the track with a 4.051 302.62.
Chris Dirato has more on Courtney here.
Team Sponsor Castrol posted this on Facebook Saturday with a photo:
John congrats Courtney after her stout 4.089 run during the first qualifying session here at the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. She’s landed in the number three spot but hot on her heels was Mike Neff with a 4.089, placing him in fourth.
John ran a 4.119, which qualified him 11th while Robert had some issues and didn’t make a clean pass. Regardless, there’s more qualifying sessions left this weekend provided Mother Nature is kind to us. What are your thoughts on how this year’s “Big Go” will turn out for our drivers?
John Kernan has Courtney’s Saturday post-qualifying press conference here.
Today, weather permitting, is the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car. Courtney is in the field by the virtue of her winning the fan vote/lottery.
Courtney’s sister Ashley Force-Hood is a three time U. S. Nationals Champion, including back to back wins in 2009-2010.
Qualifying carries on today, again, weather permitting. There are 20 cars trying to get into the 16 car field. For round by round, run by run, results, click here.
Erica Enders sped to the number one qualifier in Pro Stock in the first session on Friday and never looked back. She’s on top with a 6.624 at 208.84 mph. Erica has won three events this season, including two in a row. She is not only looking to win Indy, but head into the Countdown to the Championship with a shot at winning the Full Throttle World Championship.
Interesting back-story to this race. When Erica won her first race in Chicago earlier this year, she was met at the finish line by longtime boyfriend Richie Stevens who proposed. Richie is an impressive driver in his own right, having won in Pro Stock. He’s currently racing in the ADRL Pro Extreme series and in the hunt for the series championship. This week though he’s driving a Dodge Avenger Pro Stock car belonging to Allen Johnson.
Richie is currently qualified number 7 with a 6.666 at 207.46. This sets up the possibility for Erica and husband-to-be Richie to meet up during eliminations. She drives a Chevy, Richie is in a Dodge. Earlier today talking with Espn2’s Gary Gerould, Erica said there has been a lot of good natured trash talking between the two. Susan Wade has a great story about Richie’s return to the NHRA here. Tracy Renk has more on Erica’s Indy here.
Though there have been husband and wife match-ups, as well as father-daughter [Forces two girls have beat up on dad pretty good] if Erica and Richie happen to meet up, that would be the first time fiancees have done so at an NHRA event.
Pro Stock is wild at Indy and there are 29 cars trying to make the 16 car field. For round by round, run by run, results, click here.
Texan Spencer Massey is number one in Top Fuel with a 3.762 at 324.51 mph. Top Fuel is uite competitive, and there has been a different driver at the top of the chart after every qualifying session. There are 27 cars trying to make the 16 car field. For round by round, run by run, results, click here.
The Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team has owned Pro Stock Motorcycle this year, and Indy looks to be no exception. Andrew Hines sits atop the field with a 6.928 at 194.21 to hold the top spot after two sessions of qualifying. Saturday’s final session was called off due to damp conditions on the track.
There are 21 bikes trying to make the 16 bike field. For round by round, run by run, results, click here.
Currently it’s still raining in Indy, with qualifying and the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car scheduled to run later today. Stay tuned ….