Scattered lightning storms helped light up the night sky on Friday — as well as the flames from the Nitro Top Fuelers and Funny Cars, a special run by two Jet cars and a fireworks show at the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
The event is drag racing’s last race before the countdown to the championship. The Countdown features the top ten in points for all four professional categories (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle). It is also home to the Traxxas Shootout for both Top Fuel and Funny Car. Friday marked the first day the pro classes took to the track. The weather played a big factor in qualifying as it was hot and humid. It made for some tricky conditions for the crew chiefs to get their ten thousand horsepower racecars to hook up and fly down the 1000ft racing surface.
Brittany Force, daughter of 15-time Funny car champion John Force, holds the provisional top spot in her Castrol Edge dragster after the first of five qualifying runs with a 3.820 at 313.44 mph. Spencer Massey in his Battery Extender dragster qualified in the number two spot in Top Fuel with a 3.837 at 316.38. Spencer is currently second in the point standings. Doug Kalitta and the Mac tools team qualified in the third position with a 3.841 at 311.13 mph. Current top fuel point’s leader Shawn Langdon struggled in qualifying and is currently qualified in the 14th spot. Last year’s series champion Antron Brown is right behind Langdon in the 15th position.
Ford Mustangs lead the way in funny car as Bob Tasca and his Motercraft Ford leads the field after the first session with a 4.085 at 312.28mph. In the number two spot is the 15 time champ John Force and his Castrol GTX Ford posting a time of 4.087 at 309.70 mph. Force is followed by daughter Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford who ran a 4.088 at 316.30mph. Current point’s leader and 2011 series champ Matt Hagen is currently sitting in the fifth position. Last year’s series champion is sitting in the number ten spot with four qualifying runs left to go.
Pro stock is led by 2012 season champion Allen Johnson. Shane Gray son of Funny car driver Johnny Gray is second and Mike Edwards the 2011 series champion is third.
Matt Smith the 2007 champion is on the pole after one session in Prostock Motorcycle. Steve Johnson a two time US Nationals champion is in the number two spot followed by John Hall. Point’s leader Hector Arana Jr. had a mechanical problem and was unable to make his pass on Friday.
Saturday’s action includes one of the two Traxxas shootouts. The Top Fuel shootout will be held Saturday between the two sessions of Top Fuel and Funny Car qualifying. Eight drivers are competing for 100,000 dollars. The driver for the shootout consist of teammates Shawn Langdon and Khalid Balooshi. Last year’s shootout winner Spencer Massey. Seven time top fuel world champion Tony Schumacher. Defending series champion Antron Brown. Steve Torrance, Bob Vandergriff Jr and Brittany Force.
Oakdale Leader correspondents Mike and Jeff Burghardt contributed to this report.