70-year-old John Force tops NHRA Funny Car qualifying

MADISON, Ill. (AP) — John Force powered to the No. 1 spot in Funny Car on Saturday at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.

The 70-year-old Force had a 3.842-second pass at 334.40 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro in the final run for his fourth No. 1 qualifier this season and 159th overall. The 16-time season champion has two event victories this year and 151 overall.

“It was a good night for me, and I do love this, I do love the fans and I love driving these racecars,” Force said. “We’ve got a real good team and we’re out there fighting the fight. I’m excited I get to drive a car that’s this good.”

Mike Salinas qualified No. 1 in Top Fuel, Erica Enders in Pro Stock, and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the second of six races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Salinas had a 3.687 at 330.55 for his fifth No. 1 qualifier this season and sixth overall. Enders claimed her second straight No. 1 qualifier with a 6.552 at 209.85 in a Camaro, and Smith had a 6.801 at 198.93 on an EBR.