John Force tops qualifying in Mile-High Nationals

MORRISON, Colo. (AP) John Force earned his 154th career No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car on Saturday night in the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

The 66-year-old Force powered his Chevy Camaro SS to a track-record 4.015-second run at 318.09 mph Friday night to earn the top qualifying position for the second time this season. Force also was strong during the two sessions Saturday, running the low elapsed time of the day during the final pass of the night. Force has two wins this season and will race John Hale in the opening round of eliminations Sunday.

”When you run good, you stay at the end of the qualifying line and you get better conditions,” Force said about his final run of the night. ”We didn’t know what we would run but we said, `This is not the conditions we’ll run tomorrow, but let’s see what we can do.’ I’m starting to build my brain trust again and I’m pretty excited about it. It’ll build your confidence but if you get jacked up around that tomorrow, you could get picked off by anybody.”

Force has a record 143 event victories.

Larry Dixon was the fastest in Top Fuel, Allen Johnson topped the Pro Stock field, and Eddie Krawiec led the Pro Stock Motorcycle competition.

Dixon had a track-record 3.791 at 326.63 on Friday night and that run held to earn him the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2011 and 52nd time of his career.

Johnson, the 2012 Pro Stock season champion, raced to his 37th career No. 1 qualifier and first of the season with a track-record 6.877 at 200.29 in a Dodge Dart. Johnson, who has won six of the last eight races at Denver, is looking for his fourth consecutive win at the track.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, points leader Krawiec rode to his first No. 1 qualifier of the season with a track-record 7.169 at 186.10 on Friday on a Harley-Davidson.