Pedregon tops qualifying in NHRA playoff opener

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MOHNTON, Pa. — Cruz Pedregon topped Funny Car qualifying for the first time in more than six years Saturday at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, the first event of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

The 57-year-old Pedregon, a two-time season champion and two-time event winner at Maple Grove Raceway, had a 3.875-second run at 326.00 mph in a Dodge Charger.

“I didn’t even realize it was that long ago,” Pedregon said. “We’ve been steady and knocking on the door. John Collins, my crew chief, definitely thought there’s great rewards and it would pay off to get that No. 1 spot and get on the right side of the ladder. Sometimes winning these races, you have to get on the right side of the ladder and avoid the big hitters, until the later rounds. “

Brittany Force was the fastest in Top Fuel, Erica Enders in Pro Stock and Angelle Sampey in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Force’s Friday pass of 3.660 at 335.57 held up for her seventh straight No. 9 and ninth of the season. Erica Enders had a 6.524 at 209.85 in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Sampey ran a 6.745 at 196.64 on a Suzuki.

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