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Keeping Pace

Bristol Qualifying Finds Force Hood Atop The Funny Car List

Ashley Force Hood flies to the top of the NHRA qualifying ladder. (Photo courtesy of NHRA Medis Relations)
Ashley Force Hood flies to the top of the NHRA qualifying ladder. (Photo courtesy of NHRA Medis Relations)

Ashley Force Hood roared to the top of the qualifying ladder after the first round of action in Bristol, Tenn.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Ashley Force Hood earned the provisional pole in Funny Car on the first day of qualifying Friday at the 10th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals with a 4.151-second pass at 296.70 mph.


The other provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 12th of 23 races in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season were Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock).


The No. 1 qualifier would be the second this season for the 27-year old Force Hood, who is in fifth place in the Funny Car point standings, and the 11th of her career.


“It’s always fun to run good on the Friday night session, but we all know that it won’t do us any good on Sunday other than position,” said Force Hood, who pilots the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. “The conditions are not going to be anything like tonight. It’s fun to run in the night session and do well, but we’d be just as happy if we can get some good runs (Saturday) in the heat because that’s what’s going to help us on Sunday.”


Two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon and the Snap-on Tools team, who have struggled most of the season, are in second position with a 4.158.


Brown secured the provisional No. 1 with a 3.856-second pass at 314.24 mph in his Matco Tools dragster. It would be his fourth if this season, tying him with Cory McClenathan for most in Top Fuel.


“We just want to keep on doing well and carry it into raceday,” Brown said. “We thought it was a mid-80 (track) and we nailed it. She went right down there, tiptoed right down there, no trouble at all.”


In Pro Stock, defending NHRA Full Throttle Series champion Edwards earned the provisional No. 1 with a 6.725-second pass at 204.94 mph in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP. This would be Edwards’ 10th No. 1 in the season’s first 12 races.


Local favorite Allen Johnson was on top of the qualifying ladder after his first-session 6.742 in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger, but he was unable to improve on that that in the evening session and slipped to fourth.


 “I think that battles between our team and A.J. for the No. 1 spot are what you’re going to see more often in the races to come,” Edwards said. “If Allen and Roy Johnson haven’t caught us, they certainly have closed the gap. A couple of other teams are gaining on us too, and I think that by the Countdown that there will be about four or five other cars that we’re going to have to contend with.”


Qualifying at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals concludes with the third and fourth sessions on Saturday when the fields will be set for Sunday’s final eliminations.


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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.