NHRA drivers OK with decision to postpone US Nationals

Drag RacingAuto RacingNational Hot Rod Association

CLERMONT - She found herself in the drivers seat in more ways than one on Saturday night. 

After a run at over 317 miles per hour Courtney Force found herself atop the Funny Car qualifications at the NHRA U.S. Nationals and in prime position for a win on Monday.

"We were on a roll," said Force of the team on Saturday night. "We were ready to race."

But mother nature and a decision put her chance to do so-and that great qualifying time-on hold. 

With rain washing out all of Sunday's qualifying and still causing problems early Monday, NHRA made the decision to scrap the weekend all together.

Instead of carrying over the time, qualifications will be run all over again on September 8th and 9th as the U.S. Nationals saw only its second weekend postponement in history.

"We just have to stay focused and regain it," said Force of the momentum her team had before the washout. "Get another shot at it next weekend and hopefully we can get that number one spot-that's the most important thing."

Not since 2003 has such a scenario been presented to the drag racers and but the schedule does allow such a scenario to occur. Following the US Nationals the NHRA had a scheduled off week before the beginning of the five-race championship countdown to end the season. 

"Obviously its not the ideal situation," said Spencer Massey, who was atop the Top Fuel qualifying before the rainout. "We wanted to get out there and give it all we can from qualifying through the shootout.

"Right now we're just having to stay working and make sure everything is prepared, make sure everything is in tip top shape which it always is."

On the opposite end of Force and Massey is Cruz Pedregon, who didn't have a strong enough qualifying after Saturday to make it to Monday's eliminations. Sitting at seventh in the countdown standings, Pedregon is greatful for another chance to clinch a spot in the championship chase.

"Sometimes mother nature can do that," said Pedregon of the chance to start their US Nationals qualifying again. "We were taking our medicine. We were like Saturday night, we went to bed thinking 'Man, we missed it here.'

"But we made some mistakes strategy wise, we're gonna be smarter on Saturday."

Antron Brown is thinking a bit more aggressively with his Top Fuel dragster. Unlike the near tropical heat and humidity that accompanied the remnants of Hurricane Issac, temperatures are expected to be in the Mid-70s for qualifications and eliminations on Sunday.

If the skies remain clear it could make for a rise in speeds-which Brown hopes to take advantage of.

"We're gonna go back and do our homework this week. We're gonna study up a little bit more and we're gonna push even harder," said Brown-who currently is atop the Top Fuel standings. "We're going after that number one spot. If the weather's right, that's what we're shooting for."

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