Following Friday night’s run, Bob Tasca III knew Saturday was going to be a big change with the weather due to the cold front moving through the area Friday night and bringing cooler temperatures.
After the Friday qualifying run, Tasca provisionally earned the No. 1 spot setting an ET of 3.941 seconds and 326.63 mph. He knew, however, that the time wasn’t going to hold up for Saturday’s session.
In fact, in the second round, it was California’s own Cruz Pedregon setting the pace with an ET of 3.880 seconds and 326.24 mph. The ET was Pedregon’s career-best in 614 starts. Tasca qualified in the fifth position in the second round.
When the third and final round came, Tasca and the Motorcraft Ford team brought their A-game and set the No. 1 qualifier for the seventh time of his Funny Car career, going 3.870 seconds and 334.15 mph, bettering his Friday qualifying run.
“It’s great to be back out here in Brainerd with all these Ford fans,” said Tasca, who is looking for his first career win at BIR. “(Crew chiefs) Mike (Neff) and Jon (Schaffer) have been a little frustrated these past couple races, there’s no question, and we haven’t caught our stride like we did at the beginning of the season.
“They’ve been working hard on a little different set-up and we found it last night. We were disappointed this morning and that last run, at half-track, I was celebrating because I knew it was on a run. It was straight as an arrow and a lot of fun, and we just have to do it four more times (on Sunday).”
The No. 1 spot is Tasca’s second of the season and his first since Houston. Tasca gained a bye run as well and three additional bonus points.
Cruz Pedregon ended up second on the time sheets with two consecutive 3.8s and narrowly got beat for the top spot by .004 seconds. Pedregon will face Gary Densham in Round 1.
Funny Car Qualifying Results :
- Bob Tasca III, 3.870 seconds and 334.15 mph
- Cruz Pedregon, 3.874 seconds and 324.67 mph
- Tim Wilkerson, 3.883 seconds and 334.4 mph
- Matt Hagan, 3.891 seconds and 328.06 mph
- Paul Lee, 3.900 seconds and 331.61 mph
- Robert Hight, 3.909 seconds and 327.51 mph
- Ron Capps, 3.922 seconds and 325.22 mph
- Blake Alexander, 3.961 seconds and 318.17 mph
- Alexis DeJoria, 3.963 seconds and 297.22 mph
- John Force, 3.968 seconds and 322.42 mph
- J.R. Todd, 3.970 seconds and 321.73 mph
- Bob Bode, 4.027 seconds and 309.49 mph
- Dale Creasy JR, 4.155 seconds and 298.38 mph
- Jim Campbell, 4.230 seconds and 238.38 mph
- Gary Densham, 4.796 seconds and 189.63 mph
While Mike Salinas and his Team Scrappers Racing dragster originally set the No. 1 qualifier in Friday’s qualifying, it was Brittany Force and the Monster Energy dragster that continued their winning momentum following her Topeka victory last Sunday. Force rocketed to a time of 3.675 seconds and 334.98 mph to earn her 27th No. 1 qualifier of her career and the fifth consecutive of the season.
“Coming off of that win in Topeka with my dad (John Force) was pretty incredible for all of John Force Racing,” said Force, who is currently second in points. “We had been chasing that first win all season long and we got it done last weekend. Our plan is to repeat that this weekend in Brainerd. There’s a different energy in the pits after getting a win. There’s no better feeling than winning and that’s why we’re out here. It’s just trying to find that again on race day. We want to win again and I think we’re in a good place. We have to continue to step it up.”
The No. 1 qualifier was her seventh of the 2021 Top Fuel season as well. Thanks to her quick run, Force will have a bye in the first round.
Steve Torrence and the CAPCO team qualified second posting a time of 3.684 seconds and 329.91 mph to earn the No. 2 spot. Torrence is chasing win No. 7 of the season and his first since Sonoma. The Kilgore, Texas native has lost the last two races losing in the semi-final in Topeka to Force and the first round at Pomona to Antron Brown.
Top Fuel Qualifying Results:
- Brittany Force, 3.675 seconds and 334.98 mph
- Steve Torrence, 3.684 seconds and 329.91 mph
- Mike Salinas, 3.711 seconds and 322.58 mph
- Clay Millican 3.721 seconds and 325.22 mph
- Justin Ashley, 3.752 seconds and 328.3 mph
- Antron Brown, 3.752 seconds and 328.22 mph
- Shawn Langdon, 3.774 seconds and 281.3 mph
- Leah Pruett, 3.789 seconds and 319.9 mph
- Doug Kalitta, 3.821 seconds and 308.99 mph
- T.J. Zizzo, 3.861 seconds and 317.87 mph
- Terry Totten, 4.263 seconds and 204.6 mph
Eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. CT live on NHRA.TV (with a subscription), while FOX will pick up the coverage at 3 p.m. ET for finals coverage.
As a reminder, there will be no Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycles competing this weekend. They will return for the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in September.