Brittany Force (Top Fuel) and Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) also qualified No. 1 qualifiers at the fourth of 21 races during the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Pedregon’s run of 3.910-seconds at 326.71 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Snap-On Tools Dodger Charger Hellcat SRT from Friday held up, giving the two-time world champion his second No. 1 spot this season and the 64th in his career. Pedregon will race for his first win of the season on Sunday, with his opening-round quad also featuring Steven Densham, Tim Wilkerson and Bobby Bode.
“We stayed No. 1 and I’m grateful for that,” Pedregon said. “The team made the right calls today and we made down the track three of our four runs. Now, we just need to keep doing the same thing, be consistent and race the track (tomorrow). You have to be smart. The guys that are disciplined and don’t press are the ones that have success. We’ll see what the day brings (on Sunday), but it’s anybody’s race out there.”
Alexis DeJoria stayed second with her run of 3.933 at 329.18 and points leader Matt Hagan took third with a 3.936 at 327.82.
In Top Fuel, Brittany Force’s run 3.697 at 335.73 in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy dragster from Friday easily gave her the top spot, giving the defending world champ her second No. 1 qualifier on the season and the 44th in her career. Force is after her third straight victory at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after sweeping both races last season en route to her world title, and she made one strong run on Saturday.
In the opening round, Force will have to face off with Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown, with the trio combining for 13 world titles. All three were in the final quad last year, but only two will advance past the first round on Sunday.
“Our team is very happy. We had three good runs down the track and we stayed in the top spot,” Force said. “Now we’re looking for a win. We were successful here last year and we’d love to do it again. Coming into season, we knew there was a chance for a slow start and I still feel like we’ve already outdone ourselves. We’ve made a lot of changes and done a lot of testing, but I think we’re figuring this out far quicker than we imagined.”
Steve Torrence qualified second after his 3.712 at 330.23 from Friday and Mike Salinas moved to third in the final session after going 3.729 at 331.77.
A strong weekend got even better for Pro Stock’s Matt Hartford, as the veteran claimed his first career No. 1 qualifier with a run of 6.599 at 206.45 in his Total Seal Chevrolet Camaro. Hartford, who is making his 161st career start this season, put down a pair of strong passes on Saturday, vaulting him into the top position for the first time and adding another impressive moment in what has been a strong start to his 2023 season.
The only thing missing is a victory on Sunday, something Hartford will aim to change this weekend and possibly move into the points lead for the first time in his career. His opening-round quad includes Jerry Lee Tucker, Camrie Caruso and Erica Enders, who swept both Las Vegas races last year.
“This is awesome for our entire team. We’ve been working on this since 2006 and it’s been a long time coming,” Hartford said. “Some of these people come out here and within first few races get a number one and we always just watch and go well someday we’ll get it. But it’s hats off to having a great team around me and a great racecar. We just keep our heads down and keep focused on one run at a time.
“There was a time we were 16th and just overjoyed. It’s just a different mindset as you progress through the sport. We’ve come from the bottom and we’ve worked our way up. We have a fast car right now. Our whole goal is to turn this yellow (No. 1 qualifier) hat into a blue (winner’s) hat and then turn that into a white (world champion) hat.”
Current points leader Dallas Glenn, who was the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday, took the second spot with a 6.610 at 205.65 and Aaron Stanfield took third in qualifying on the strength of his 6.614 at 206.95.
Eliminations for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip begin at 12 p.m. PT on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
LAS VEGAS — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 23rd annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the fourth of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Brittany Force, 3.697 seconds, 335.73 mph vs. Bye vs. vs. 8. Tony Schumacher, 3.763, 327.11 vs. 9. Antron Brown, 3.769, 333.00; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.712, 331.53 vs. 15. Buddy Hull, 5.093, 136.75 vs. 7. Josh Hart, 3.758, 330.72 vs. 10. Doug Kalitta, 3.780, 328.38; 3. Mike Salinas, 3.729, 331.77 vs. 14. Krista Baldwin, 4.195, 271.52 vs. 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.754, 326.24 vs. 11. Clay Millican, 3.787, 329.34; 4. Justin Ashley, 3.730, 330.88 vs. 13. Rob Passey, 4.133, 260.31 vs. 5. Leah Pruett, 3.746, 329.26 vs. 12. Austin Prock, 3.848, 315.27.
Funny Car — 1. Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger, 3.910, 326.71 vs. 16. Steven Densham, Ford Mustang, 4.082, 284.09 vs. 8. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.967, 312.06 vs. 9. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 3.976, 273.55; 2. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Supra, 3.933, 329.18 vs. 15. Jason Rupert, Mustang, 4.054, 317.87 vs. 7. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.945, 324.83 vs. 10. Paul Lee, Charger, 3.982, 320.89; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.936, 327.82 vs. 14. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Camry, 4.049, 275.28 vs. 6. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.942, 330.23 vs. 11. Alex Laughlin, Charger, 3.996, 318.17; 4. Ron Capps, Supra, 3.937, 324.44 vs. 13. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.040, 312.42 vs. 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.938, 325.69 vs. 12. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.006, 279.50.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 4.104, 304.46; 18. Jeff Arend, 4.204, 271.84; 19. J.R. Todd, 4.272, 214.62.
Pro Stock — 1. Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 6.599, 206.95 vs. 16. Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 6.684, 206.29 vs. 8. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.640, 207.05 vs. 9. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.641, 207.02; 2. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.610, 206.07 vs. 15. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.673, 206.16 vs. 7. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.639, 205.60 vs. 10. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.645, 206.57; 3. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.614, 206.95 vs. 14. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.664, 206.80 vs. 6. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.633, 207.30 vs. 11. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.648, 206.32; 4. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.615, 207.11 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.661, 207.62 vs. 5. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.618, 206.67 vs. 12. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.654, 206.54.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Shane Tucker, 6.772, 203.16; 18. Fernando Cuadra, 18.394, 43.81.
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- Photos: 2023 NHRA Finals at Pomona Saturday - November 11, 2023