Force takes Funny Car points lead

John Force took the Funny Car points lead Saturday at Maple

Grove Raceway, topping qualifying in the Auto-Plus NHRA

Nationals.

The 15-time world champion moved into the points lead for the

first time this season when his time of 3.987 seconds at 323.50 mph

from Friday held up through two qualifying sessions Saturday. The

64-year-old Force, coming off a victory last week in Madison, Ill.,

will race Jeff Arend in the first round of eliminations.

”(Crew chief) Jimmy Prock swings for the fence and the guys are

really working hard,” Force said. ”I’ve got a good race car right

now and what was exciting to me was to see the fans in the stands.

It sure feels good to be running well. I struggled as a driver

earlier in the year and my guys stayed by me.”

Morgan Lucas led the Top Fuel field, Jason Line topped Pro Stock

qualifying, and Michael Ray was fastest in Pro Stock Motorcycle in

the fourth of six playoff races in the Countdown to the

Championship.

Lucas had a 3.772 at 314.90, and Line finished in 6.573 at

210.70. Ray’s 6.857 at 193.38 on Friday held up.