READING, Pa. (September 14, 2019) – Brittany Force and her team weren’t horsing around at Maple Grove Raceway in the heart of Amish country at the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil when they set a new national Top Fuel elapsed time record on Saturday.
Ron Capps (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 19th event of the 2019 season.
This weekend was the first time in NHRA history to feature three women in the No. 1 qualifier position out of the four professional NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series categories.
Force has been on a hot streak all weekend with her impressive runs in her Advance Auto Parts dragster, but it was her 3.623-second pass at 331.61 mph that wowed fans, reset the NHRA Top Fuel record and seeded her No. 1 for race day.
“That run was just outstanding,” Force said. “I knew before I even got into the car, in the staging lanes (crew chief, David) Grubnic jumped in the tow car with me and had a conversation with me about what the plan was. What we were going to do and how we were going to set a record. He told me to hang on and get the car down there.
“That surprised me. I didn’t think a .62. I didn’t ask him for a number, but he said if we get down there, it’ll be an awesome run and we’d break some records.”
Force set a new track record on Friday night at Maple Grove and was low of three of the four qualifying sessions at the first event of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. But it was her run from Saturday that will be featured in the NHRA history books.
In Funny Car, Capps reset the Maple Grove Raceway track record on Friday night with his 3.837 pass at 339.28. He picked up his 24th No. 1 qualifier of his professional career in his NAPA Filters Dodge Charger SRT.
“We feel great,” Capps said. “It allowed us to test a little bit first round today during Q3 and typical (crew chief) Rahn Tobler, we went back up there and the advantage of being the last to run, he’s looking at Mello Yello points. We were surveying what everybody ran because I’m sure he was looking to see what the quickest was in front of us.
“Sunday is going to be such a different day. Sunny, mid-80s and it’s going to be much like it has been the last two years here. Again, I brag about the NAPA Know How of Rahn Tobler and adapting to conditions and we’re going to need every bit of him tomorrow.”
In Pro Stock, Enders went 6.480 at 211.96 to take the No. 1 spot in her Melling Performance / Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. The two-time Pro Stock champ picked up her first No. 1 of the season and 20th of her career.
“It’s definitely awesome (to be No. 1 with two other females). I was fortunate enough to be part of the first time two professional women won with Courtney Force and myself in Seattle in 2012,” Enders said. “I think all of us women drivers have been vocal about just wanting to be the best drivers we can be and forget the gender title.
“For our younger girl fans, I think it’s really cool to show them that there are no barriers and you can do anything you put your mind to. I think the two other girls that I’m fortunate enough to qualify No. 1 with speak that same message. I’m excited, that’s pretty cool.
“I feel really confident about our Melling Performance Chevy Camaro. It’s been running on mean for a few races now. I was super excited after Q1 here at Maple Grove when it translated from the U.S. Nationals to here. Every week you get antsy but my guys have worked tirelessly on this car and I’m so excited to have a good racecar underneath me.”
Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Sampey picked up her second consecutive No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 51st of her career on her Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson when she went 6.761 at 197.51.
“It was perfect motivation (to see two female drivers go No. 1) for me,” Sampey said. “I was nervous going into the second session because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I heard (NHRA announcer) Alan Reinhart talking about the two girls Erica and Brittany had No. 1 and he kept saying it’s, ‘ladies’ night at the Grove,’ and I said that’s right! It’s ladies’ night and I’m about to do this! It was perfect.
“I wasn’t real sure about the run. I was a little behind on my reaction time, I’m trying to learn to slow myself down a little. Then something funny happened in second or third gear and it wiggled a little and I really didn’t think it was going to be No. 1. But, Andrew (Hines) tunes it so I can’t take all the credit,” Sampey joked.
Race day eliminations will begin at 11:00 p.m. ET on Sunday at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil.
MOHNTON, Pa. — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway, the 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Brittany Force, 3.623 seconds, 331.61 mph vs. 16. Todd Paton, 9.993, 66.59; 2. Leah Pritchett, 3.673, 332.92 vs. 15. Lex Joon, 4.804, 153.75; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.688, 332.59 vs. 14. Smax Smith, 4.578, 197.68; 4. Richie Crampton, 3.689, 328.14 vs. 13. Dan Mercier, 4.001, 299.26; 5. Antron Brown, 3.689, 323.81 vs. 12. Terry McMillen, 3.792, 314.75; 6. Mike Salinas, 3.693, 328.78 vs. 11. Billy Torrence, 3.732, 327.03; 7. Austin Prock, 3.697, 328.94 vs. 10. Jordan Vandergriff, 3.712, 325.77; 8. Steve Torrence, 3.697, 328.62 vs. 9. Clay Millican, 3.702, 319.14.
Funny Car — 1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.837, 339.28 vs. 16. Mike McIntire, Toyota, 4.708, 176.21; 2. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.866, 332.67 vs. 15. John Smith, Charger, 4.197, 298.80; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.876, 331.77 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.103, 314.83; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.879, 324.90 vs. 13. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.094, 303.37; 5. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.889, 334.40 vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.979, 328.22; 6. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.895, 330.07 vs. 11. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 3.937, 318.09; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.905, 326.95 vs. 10. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.916, 314.17; 8. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.910, 328.86 vs. 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.913, 333.66. Did Not Qualify: 17. Mike Smith, 7.192, 111.19.
Pro Stock — 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.480, 211.96 vs. 16. David Miller, Dodge Dart, 6.752, 201.52; 2. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.486, 212.19 vs. 15. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.635, 209.49; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.489, 212.49 vs. 14. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.598, 209.62; 4. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.491, 211.46 vs. 13. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.592, 209.95; 5. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.499, 212.03 vs. 12. Bob Benza, Camaro, 6.584, 200.77; 6. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.511, 212.06 vs. 11. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.582, 210.41; 7. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.513, 210.87 vs. 10. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.535, 211.30; 8. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.525, 210.87 vs. 9. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.528, 211.59. Did Not Qualify: 17. Alan Prusiensky, 7.417, 143.26.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.761, 197.51 vs. 16. Jianna Salinas,Suzuki, 7.317, 186.07; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.774, 198.64 vs. 15. Michael Ray,Victory, 7.215, 159.76; 3. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.790, 198.90 vs. 14. Ron Tornow, Buell, 7.041, 187.73; 4. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.810, 196.24 vs. 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.919, 193.65; 5. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.812, 197.97 vs. 12. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.911, 194.38; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.812, 197.88 vs. 11. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.857, 197.16; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.813, 196.44 vs. 10. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.855, 197.62; 8. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.824, 199.52 vs. 9. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.843, 197.74.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15.
Television live coverage on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 2-5 p.m. ET on FS1.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 610-856-9200. Tickets also are available online at www.maplegroveraceway.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
MOPAR EXPRESS LANE NHRA NATIONALS PRESENTED BY PENNZOIL
WHAT: 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, the 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the first of six races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Maple Grove Raceway, Mohnton, Pa. Track is located off the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Exit 298), 10 miles south of Reading, Pa.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 548 feet above sea level; Track direction is north to south.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 12-15SCHEDULE:
SUNDAY, Sept. 15 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.TELEVISION:
Sunday, Sept. 15, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 1:00 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Sept. 15, FS1 will televise three hours of finals coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. (ET).2018 EVENT WINNERS:
Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; J.R. Todd, Funny Car; Vincent Nobile, Pro Stock; Hector Arana, Jr., Pro Stock Motorcycle.
John Force, FC, 7; Angelle Sampey, PSM, 6; Tony Schumacher, TF, 5; Jeg Coughlin, PS, 4; Warren Johnson, PS, 4.
Top Fuel – 3.688 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ’16; 334.15 mph by Shawn Langdon, Oct. ’12
Funny Car – 3.844 sec. and 339.02 mph by Robert Hight, Sept. ‘17
Pro Stock – 6.465 sec. by Erica Enders, Oct. ’14; 214.59 mph by Greg Anderson, Oct. ’15
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. and 198.88 mph by Matt Smith, Sept. ’18
Top Fuel – 3.628 sec. by Clay Millican, Feb. ’18, Pomona, Calif.; 336.57 mph by Tony Schumacher, Feb. ‘18, Phoenix
Funny Car – 3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. ’17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Robert Hight, July ’17, Sonoma, Calif.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ’14, Englishtown N.J.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.720 sec. by Andrew Hines, March ‘19, Gainesville, Fla.; 201.76 mph by Matt Smith, March ‘19, Gainesville, Fla.
TICKETS: For tickets call (610) 856-9200. Tickets also are available at www.maplegroveraceway.com.
Photos and video courtesy of NHRA
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and E3 Spark NHRA Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to www,NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.