Ashley, J. Force, Sampey lead into Charlotte Four-wide finals

Lyle Ellerbee

Justin Ashley picked up his first career No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel on Saturday, clinching his initially leading spot at the Circle K NHRA Four-Broad Nationals at zMAX Dragway. John Drive (Funny Auto) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Bike) also competent No. 1 at the sixth of 22 races through the 2022 NHRA Camping Globe Drag Racing Series time.

On the toughness of his pass of 3.669-seconds at 331.77 mph on Friday in his 11,000-horsepower Phillips Link dragster driven by Vita C Shot, Ashley (pictured higher than) secured his to start with No. 1 situation in his younger profession, accomplishing so at the identical observe where he produced his Best Gas debut in 2019. Ashley will open up eliminations in a to start with-round quad that also functions Cameron Ferre, Austin Prock and Antron Brown, searching to electrical power to his next get of 2022 and likely just take above the details guide in Prime Gas.

“We’ve accomplished a great deal in a small period of time of time, but to be able to sit listed here and say we’ve qualified No. 1 at an occasion like this with the depth in this Leading Gasoline field, it actually states a large amount about our group,” Ashley mentioned. “I’m together for the ride and I’m experiencing it, that significantly I can inform you. There’s strain on raceday mainly because it is raceday. It is just about heading out there and putting our best foot ahead.”

Leah Pruett qualified 2nd with a 3.686 at 327.51, building a sequence of robust runs in qualifying, even though four-time defending party winner Steve Torrence grabbed the 3rd spot with a 3.694. Prock, who capable eighth, broke the monitor pace record during the final session with a blast of 333.58. Details leader Brittany Pressure, who has again-to-back wins this year, capable seventh.

In Amusing Automobile, Force’s monitor-history operate of 3.850 at 334.24 from Friday in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK/BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS assisted the 16-time earth champ protected his very first top qualifier of the year and 164th in his career. Power is the defending event winner at the four-broad party in Charlotte and has previously liked a strong weekend at “The Bellagio of Dragstrips,” earning 3 stellar passes all through qualifying. He’ll try to get his to start with acquire of 2022, opening Sunday with a quad that capabilities Bob Tasca III and Alexis DeJoria.

“It’s a team energy and Robert Hight ran more rapidly, 3.87 to our 3.89 (in the ultimate qualifying session), but really feel I very good about that since 3 out of 4 very good runs for us and a little consistency,” Force stated. “If Robert wins, we get, but I want to get, much too. He’s received a couple on board (in 2022) I need to get going there. Regularity is what we’re on the lookout for. I’m seeking to locate myself on the Tree. So, excellent working day for (our team) and let us see exactly where tomorrow goes.”

Points leader Matt Hagan, who won last weekend in Houston, stayed in 2nd thanks to his move of 3.867 at 330.55 from Friday, although defending globe champ Ron Capps rounded out the major 3 thanks to his 3.873 at 332.02.

Sampey turned in a banner performance on Saturday, generating two high quality operates on her Mission Food items/Vance & Hines Suzuki, like a best run of 6.714 at 201.16 to give the 3-time earth champion her to start with No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 54th in her career. Sampey included one more robust operate of 6.721 at 201.82 to shut out the working day, offering her the two quickest runs of the weekend consequently far and plenty of momentum heading into eliminations on Sunday. Sampey, who will satisfy Kelly Clontz, Joey Gladstone and defending entire world champ Matt Smith in the to start with round of eliminations, is trying to get her 1st win of the period.

“We were being a very little late on this No. 1 qualifier,” Sampey stated. “We should have had it in Gainesville, we need to have had it in Houston, and we surely acquired it right here, thank goodness. I understood my Suzuki experienced it in it, but I’ve been most of the challenge. It is just an brilliant bike and (crew chief) Andrew (Hines) is doing a great occupation tuning. This workforce provides me every thing I want and it’s up to me to get the career accomplished, and I’m heading to perform on that tomorrow. The assurance is unquestionably coming and we’re finding out the bike jointly, and it is all coming jointly.”

Friday’s provisional No. 1 Steve Johnson, who received final weekend in Houston, enhanced on his time, having the second location immediately after likely 6.732 at 200.05. Points leader Karen Stoffer is 3rd thanks to a 6.763 at 199.79.

In the FuelTech NHRA Professional Mod Drag Racing Sequence offered by D-Wagon, Justin Bond drove to the No. 1 placement with his pass of 5.744 at 248.20. It is the sixth vocation No. 1 qualifier for Bond, who will glance for his 1st win of the season at a race that is driven by Precision Racing Suspension. Gainesville winner Kris Thorne competent 2nd with a 5.751 at 253.42 and Rickie Smith is 3rd immediately after going 5.760 at 252.76.

Eliminations for the Circle K NHRA Four-Vast Nationals commence at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday at zMAX Dragway.

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