The 64-year-old Force earned the 141st No. 1 qualifying position of his career and his 11th at Heartland Park Topeka with a pass of 4.043 seconds at 313.22 mph in a Ford Mustang. The 15-time NHRA season champion will meet former teammate Tony Pedregon on Sunday in the first round of eliminations.
“I’d like to take credit, but credit goes to the people,” said Force, who has won nine of his NHRA-record 134 victories at Heartland Park Topeka. “It starts with (crew chief) Mike Neff. We’ve been struggling without a doubt. My dad always taught me that when you’re struggling, don’t change midstream and forget which way you’re going. That’s going backwards. The guys believe in me, and I believe in them.”
Shawn Langdon led the Top Fuel field, and Mike Edwards topped the Pro Stock class. Langdon earned his third No. 1 of the season and ninth of his career with a 3.767 at 322.50. Edwards cruised to his seventh top qualifying position of the season and 48th of his career with a 6.618 at 208.55 in a Chevy Camaro.