Records were meant to be broken, but things got ridiculous Friday during qualifying for the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
Chad Head blistered the drag strip in the fifth-fastest elapsed time in NHRA history during Funny Car qualifying, smashing the track record in 3.967 seconds.
“Dad’s tuning the thing, guys are putting it back together and nothing’s falling off of it, so things are good right now,” Head said. “Obviously, that can change (Saturday) in a hurry.”
Head’s father, Jim, who won in Top Fuel at Heartland Park in 1996, serves as Chad’s crew chief and owns the team.
“I’m just really happy for my father,” Chad said. “He’s been doing this for 40-plus years and we spend our own money doing this.”
Head’s good future was disappointing for Cruz Pedregon, who broke Courtney Force’s track record during the first round of qualifying (3.979) only to have it eclipsed.
Pedregon sits in second place, while Force is currently sixth despite breaking her own top-speed record at 324.20 mph on her second pass. She set the speed record last spring at 322.96 en route to victory.
Jack Beckman (3.991) and Alexis DeJoria (3.994) sit in third and fourth. The only other time in NHRA history that four Funny Cars had passes under 4 seconds during the same event was at Chicago in 2013.
The old elapsed time record was Force’s 4.009 last spring, making Heartland Park the 14th track to produce a run under 4 seconds in NHRA history.
Brown blows away Top Fuel track record
Antron Brown backed up his win last weekend in Atlanta with a track record in Top Fuel during the second qualifying session.
“We were able to come out and put on a really good show for the fans, and that’s the racing that we like to do …,” Brown said. “I tell you what, this track still has it, man.”
Richie Crampton nipped Morgan Lucas’ elapsed time record by 0.001 seconds during the first session with a 3.744 pass.
Brown, the current points leader, blew it away with a 3.727 a few hours later.
“NHRA and the Safety Safari and everybody else involved did a great job getting this track going,” Brown said. “To come out and have a first round of qualifying like we had in all the categories, people setting track records, it’s just a testament to … the foundation this track is built on. The track is buttery smooth. The traction was there.”
Enders cruises to top spot
Defending Pro Stock champion Erica Enders broke the Heartland Park track records for elapsed time in 6.515 seconds and top speed at 211.43 mph during the first round.
Enders also had the fastest time during the second round at 6.520.
Both passes were faster than Greg Anderson, who ran a 6.526 at 211.20 mph and sits in second place. Anderson had the previous top speed at the track (211.30).
“It’s cool to capture the record, but we’ve got our work cut out for us as we always do,” Enders said. “Pro Stock is super competitive. I’m just really proud of my guys for running so well.”
The top 11 qualifiers all ran a faster elapsed time than the old track record of 6.566 by Jason Line in May 2012.