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Force leads Funny Car qualifying

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MOHNTON, Pa. (AP) - John Force powered to the first 3-second run of his unprecedented career to take the Funny Car qualifying lead Friday in the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

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The 64-year-old Force, a 15-time series champion, drove his Ford Mustang to a run of 3.987 seconds at 323.50 mph, and earned six bonus points to move into a tie for the series lead with Matt Hagan. Force is coming off a victory Sunday in Madison, Ill.

``I'm excited right now,'' Force said. ``(Crew chief) Jimmy Prock is throwing hardball right now. We feel really good about a run like that.''

Force's daughter, Courtney, was second at 4.025 and 329.42 - the highest speed in Funny Car history.

Morgan Lucas led Top Fuel qualifying Allen Johnson topped the Pro Stock field, and Michael Ray led the Pro Stock Motorcycle lineup in the fourth of six events in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Lucas had a run of 3.772 at 314.90.

Johnson, the defending series champion, took command during the second qualifying session, going 6.579 at 210.34 in his Dodge Avenger.

Ray ran a 6.857 at 193.38 on a Buell.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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