B. Force breaks Gainesville record in qualifying

Mar 16, 2019
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Brittany Force broke the Gainesville Raceway time record Saturday during the fourth Top Fuel qualifying session to become the first female driver to qualify No. 1 in the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals since Shirley Muldowney 40 years ago.

Force had a 3.680-second pass at 326.32 mph.

“I’m very proud to put a number on the board like that,” Force said. “We want to go out and win this race tomorrow. On that last run, (David) Grubnic pulled me aside and told me it was going to be a fast one and to hang on. This place is a special place to me, and I love racing here. I can’t wait to come back and win here again.”

Robert Hight topped the Funny Car lineup, Rodger Brogdon was the fastest in Pro Stock, and Andrew Hines took the top spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Hight had a 3.868 at 331.12 in a Chevrolet Camaro to become the first racer to sweep qualifying in the first three events of a season since Kenny Bernstein in 1987.

“It goes back, for my team, to the last day of the season last year where we had the chance to win a championship,” Hight said. “We didn’t get it done and that didn’t set well with my team over the winter. They worked really hard in getting this thing prepared and figuring out what our weaknesses were. So far, we’ve been quick everywhere we’ve been. At testing, in Pomona and Phoenix, and now at Gainesville. It’s pretty impressive but it’s not by a lot though.”

Brogdon ran a 6.490 at 212.43 in a Camaro, and Hines had a 6.720 at 199.94 on a Harley-Davidson.