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Millican, C. Force and Coughlin Jr. Top Friday Qualifying at Houston

Photo by Marc Gewertz/NHRA

Clay Millican powered his Parts Plus / Great Clips Top Fuel dragster to the qualifying lead Friday at the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway Park.

Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) were also provisional leaders in their respective categories at the fifth of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season schedule.

Millican, who is still seeking his first NHRA Top Fuel win, set the track elapsed time record with his 3.722-second run at 325.69 mph during the second qualifying session.

“I got to do my favorite thing and go out there and stomp on the loud pedal,” said Millican. “I didn’t expect to go No. 1; I really didn’t. I hope it’s a typical Houston day tomorrow at 100 degrees and we stay No. 1.”

Antron Brown, three-time and defending  Top Fuel champion, is qualified in the second position with a 3.723 pass at 322.50 in his Matco Tools dragster, Doug Kalitta is qualified third in the Mac Tools dragster  and Brittany Force is fourth.

Courtney Force set both ends of the track record with her 3.851 run at 330.23 during the second qualifying session in her Advanced Auto Parts Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car. Force won here last season and is hoping to secure her first win of the season. 

“I don’t care if I have a million distractions to get the car running down there. To run a 3.85 and to get that track record on both ends felt amazing,” Force said. “To do it in front of all of these fans down here in Texas, at the track that we won at last year; we’ve definitely got something to prove.”

Defending world champion Ron Capps is qualified in the second position with a 3.884 at 326.56 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T, John Force is third in his PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS and Cruz Pedregon is fourth after running a career best 3.897.

In Pro Stock, Coughlin Jr. raced his / Elite Performance Chevy Camaro to the qualifying lead with a 6.557 pass at 210.70 in the second round of qualifying. Coughlin Jr. is in pursuit of his first No. 1 qualifier since the 2014 Las Vegas spring race.

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“The Q2 run was a really nice run,” Coughlin Jr. said. “It feels fantastic. The car was letter perfect and I hardly touched the steering wheel the whole way down. It is a testament to the Elite Performance groups’ hard work as we transitioned into Chevrolets this year.”

Bo Butner is in the No. 2 spot with a 6.560 at 210.80 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro, Greg Anderson is third in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro and rookie Tanner Gray is fourth.

Qualifying for the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals continues Saturday at 1:15 p.m. with the final qualifying session slated for 4:00 p.m.


This story was originally published on April 22, 2017. Drag Illustrated

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