SONOMA, Calif. (July 28, 2017) The Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals commenced today in the beautiful wine country located in Northern California. As the second of three races in the famed Western Swing, this race weekend also holds the Pro Bike Battle for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. With two qualifying sessions in the books we’re pleased to report that the first day of qualifying was action-packed from the get-go.
Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals Q1 & Q2
Leah Pritchett holds the provisional number one spot after her Q2 pass of 3.669 seconds at 304.80 mph. This impressive time gives Pritchett the track ET record.“It feels incredible. I guess the only way to really describe it is how impressed I am with my team,” she said. Not far behind in second is Brittany Force with a 3.689 second run at 330.63 mph. Doug Kalitta is in the third position after making a 3.694 second lap at 331.28 mph. With this run, Kalitta now holds the track speed record. Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher, Steve Torrence, Shawn Langdon, and Clay Millican round out the provisional top eight qualifiers.
Robert Hight made an absolutely blistering run in Q2 of 3.807 seconds at 339.40 mph. Hight made the third fastest run in Funny Car history, set the track ET record, and set the national speed record. “It’s amazing; we knew that we could do this. We put some runs together, if you run the front half of a run and then the back half of a run then it’ll run 3.4 [seconds]. Gosh, we came so close tonight but it takes great conditions and a great team,” Hight spoke. “It’s just fun to sit in the driver’s seat and get pulled,” Hight exclaimed. The off-pole position belongs to Jack Beckman who ran side-by-side with Hight in the second qualifying session. Beckman ran an quick 3.854 second pass at 328.70 mph. Courtney Force cruised down the quarter mile on 3.889 seconds at 327.03 mph, which put her in third. It’s worth mentioning that Tommy Johnson Jr. had quite the scare in Q1 this afternoon when his rear axel snapped and sent him into the retaining wall right around half track. Johnson emerged from the car unscathed and his team was able to thrash in the pits to make it to Q2. Johnson suffered a remotely similar incident in Atlanta of 1994 when the rear end of his Top Fueler came apart at the starting line. “Nothing like this [has happened] before, especially at speed. This here was pretty good speed down track and it’s amazing how fast things are happening. I’m just glad everything came out ok, it could’ve been a whole lot worse,” Johnson told us. John Force, Matt Hagan, Tommy Johnson Jr., Alexis Dejoria, and Tim Wilkerson help make up the top half of the field.
After winning the last two events this season, Drew Skillman is yet again flexing his muscles as he sat atop the qualifying ladder after Q2. Skillman laid down at 6.544 second run 211.73 mph. “Made a hell of a run. I shifted right this time, first pass I was early out of low gear and that’s why we were so slow. We had a top three car on the first hit but it came back around this second deal. We just put down what we had from the first run,” said Skillman. KB racing’s Greg Anderson is second with a 6.553 second lap at 211.39 mph. Anderson’s teammate, Bo Butner is third with 6.564 mph run at 211.66 mph. Jason Line, Tanner Gray, Vincent Nobile, and Chris McGaha found out the top eight.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
The only thing that separated The top two qualifiers in Pro Stock Motorcycle was their speed. LE Tonglet took the top spot with a 6.783 second pass at 196.73 mph in Q2. “That was a very good run. I popped the clutch and it went 1.041, I knew it was on a fast pass. I just tucked and hit all the shifts,” Tonglet told us. “There’s more out there but depending on the air tomorrow is how fast we’ll go.”Hector Arana Jr. ran the exact same elapsed time as Tonglet but was just a tick slower speed-wise at 196.36 mph. Defending world champion, Jerry Savoie is sitting in third with a 6.788 second lap at 197.05 mph. Scotty Pollacheck, Eddie Krawiec, Joey Gladstone, Melissa Surber, and Karen Stoffer also make up the top half of the field going into the final day of qualifying on Saturday.