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Courtney Force earns top qualifying spot

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February 16, 2013 09:06 PM EST | AP


POMONA, Calif. — Courtney Force raced to her first No. 1 qualifying position of the season Saturday at the NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also will lead their categories into Sunday's eliminations at the NHRA Drag Racing Series season opener.

Force grabbed the No. 1 spot in her Ford Mustang with a performance of 4.036 seconds at 318.24 mph to take her first No. 1 qualifier at Pomona and third of her career.

"I'm really excited because it's my home track," Force said. "I'm pretty excited that we got the No. 1 spot, but I've still got to focus and not get distracted by anything. It's definitely exciting to have (sister) Brittany running (in Top Fuel).

"She is my best friend and really amazing to be living our passion and drive 300 mph racecars. There are not a lot of families that can say that. It's really unique to be doing it with my dad (John Force) and family."

In Top Fuel, Schumacher powered his dragster to the 72nd No. 1 qualifying position of his career with his pass of 3.753 at 324.05 in his dragster. Schumacher, who will face rookie Sidnei Frigo who led the quickest Top Fuel field in NHRA history, has won the Winternationals two times in three final-round appearances at the event.

Edwards took the top spot in Pro Stock for the 42nd time with a performance of 6.528 at 212.39 in his Chevy Camaro. He will open eliminations against Chris McGaha at an event he has won one time in three final-round attempts.