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Posted: Sunday September 9, 2012 3:36AM ; Updated: Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:27PM

Force tops rain-delayed U.S. Nationals qualifying

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Courtney Force
Courtney Force powered her car to track-record speeds to grab the No. 1 qualifying position for U.S. Nationals.
Mark J. Rebilas/US PRESSWIRE

CLERMONT, Ind. (AP) -- Courtney Force raced to her first career No. 1 qualifying position Saturday in the rain-delayed U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

The 24-year-old rookie Funny Car driver powered her Ford Mustang to a pass of 4.049 seconds at a track- record speed of 317.27 mph. She will face Jon Capps in the opening round of eliminations as she seeks her second win of the season and tries to win the NHRA's most prestigious drag race.

"I wanted to take that No. 1 spot," Force said. "It's Indy. It's the biggest race of the season. It's definitely a big deal. I'm so excited to say that I've gotten that. We just clinched a spot in the Countdown, and that's a huge deal. It's my rookie season, and I didn't know exactly what to expect. If someone would've told me that I'd have a spot in the Countdown and qualified No. 1 for Indy, I don't know if I would've believed them. This season is going better than I could've asked for it to be because I have a great team behind me."

Shawn Langdon led the Top Fuel field, Erica Enders topped the Pro Stock competition, and Andrew Hines led the Pro Stock Motorcycle division in the final event of the regular season. The top 10 in each division will qualify for the six-race Countdown to 1 playoffs.

Langdon claimed his second No. 1 effort of the season and third of his career by posting the fourth-quickest run in Top Fuel history near the end of the final qualifying session. Langdon covered the distance in 3.740 at 326.48.

In Pro Stock, Enders claimed her second No. 1 of the season and fifth of her career with a 6.550 at 210.80 in a Chevy Cobalt. She will race two-time Indy winner Kurt Johnson in the opening round as she goes for her fourth victory of the season.

Hines rode a Harley-Davidson to his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 32nd of his career.

The event was postponed after rain washed out the final two rounds of qualifying last Sunday and the final eliminations Monday.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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