Force claims 133rd top qualifier

BAYTOWN, Texas -- John Force moved a step closer to an NHRA milestone when he set the Funny Car pace at the Spring Nationals on Saturday.

The No. 1 qualifier for Force -- a 4.021-second pass at a top speed of 316.08 mph on Friday night that stood up on the second day of qualifying -- was his second this season and the 133rd of his career. He is five behind Warren Johnson's career record of 138 top qualifying finishes.

The other No. 1 qualifiers at the fifth of 23 races in the series were Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Force, who has been the Funny Car points leader all season, will begin eliminations Sunday against former teammate Tony Pedregon.