Posted: Thursday November 8, 2012 8:47 PM

Courtney Force leads Funny Car qualifying

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POMONA, Calif. (AP) - Courtney Force strengthened her bid for the NHRA Rookie of the Year award, while the Funny Car points leaders struggled Thursday in the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals.

Force, the youngest of Funny Car star John Force's four daughters, moved into position to claim her third No. 1 qualifying award of the season with 4.032-second run at 315.93 mph in a Ford Mustang.

Points leader Jack Beckman and second-place Ron Capps weren't among the 12 drivers earning provisional positions in the 16-car field for Sunday's elimination rounds. Beckman, who leads Capps by four points, escaped injury when the fiberglass body on his Dodge Charger blew off.

Beckman and Capps were the final drivers to make qualifying attempts for the day, too, with rain washing out the first session for the Top Fuel cars. Qualifying will continue with one round scheduled Friday afternoon and two rounds Saturday, but the rained-out Top Fuel session will not be made up.

Allen Johnson, who will wrap up his first Pro Stock title by qualifying for the elimination rounds, made the final three sessions Friday and Saturday anticlimactic by putting his Dodge Avenger atop the field with a 6.565 at 210.47. Andrew Hines led the Pro Stock Motorcycle field.
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