Millican, Force hang on to top spots; Anderson hits milestone

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 16, 2018 at 8:34 PM

BRISTOL — Clay Millican earned his fifth Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier award of the season as the fast times from Friday night held up through Saturday at the NHRA Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Millican set a fast time of 3.817 seconds and 322.88 miles per hour in his dragster. Courtney Force stayed atop the Funny Car ladder with her pass of 3.993 seconds and 325.92 mph on Friday in her Chevrolet Camaro.

Greg Anderson scored his seventh No. 1 qualifying award of the season and the 100th for his career in Pro Stock. The driver of the KB Racing Chevrolet Camaro joined 16-time Funny Car champion John Force and fellow Pro Stock champions Warren Johnson and Bob Glidden to reach the milestone.

Millican, who was the No. 1 qualifier for the 15th time in his career, is the defending race champion of the Thunder Valley Nationals. While he set the fast time on Friday, his runs on Saturday were about more of getting down the race track.

"It's such a great race car right now, so fun to drive," said Millican, a two-time winner this season. "It's just awesome, pretty incredible as hot as it was today to make it down the track. The Q3 (third qualifying session) I was wide-open, going 299 mph. It was a handful down there. The car is so good, I feel if I do my job then I should win."


Courtney Force was credited with her seventh No. 1 qualifying effort of the season and the 24th of her career. Her brother-in-law Robert Hight and her father John Force, teammates of hers, qualified third and sixth.

Points leader Courtney Force comes into Sunday's elimination rounds with four wins this season, including three of the last four races.

"It's been a great start to the season," she said. "I'm really proud of my guys. They're fighting hard and they have a good thing going. We're just trying to keep our heads straight, stay focused round-by-round. We're in a good spot, but we want to stay focused and I'm really excited about how everybody on the team has jelled right now."


Anderson had a quickest time at 6.674 seconds and 205.35 mph in his Chevrolet. Jeg Coughlin Jr. maintained the No. 2 qualifying time at 6.683 seconds (205.22 mph).

Chris McGaha had the fastest speed by going 206.14 mph in the fourth and final qualifying session. However, Anderson was thrilled about his second-ever Bristol pole and hitting the century milestone.

"That is really, really cool," Anderson said. "It's a huge number, a tremendous number which brings a smile to my face. It's not something I ever thought I would achieve. I'm awful proud. That's a whole bunch, but that's the team, the engine builders at the shop, the car builders at the shop — there isn't as much as what the driver has to do with that as it's a team award."

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