ST LOUIS – The Funny Car record elapsed times continued to fill up the qualifying sheet today at the 4th annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals as a record ten Funny Cars made three second qualifying runs including all three John Force Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Cars. Unfortunately John Force will face teammate and Countdown counterpart Robert Hight in a No. 8 versus No. 9 first round match-up. Courtney Force and the Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car jumped up to the No. 7 qualifying spot on the strength of her final qualifying session run of 3.953 seconds.

In the last session John Force needed to step up from his Friday night qualifying time of 3.985 seconds to avoid racing Hight in the first round. The 16-time Funny Car champion made another solid pass, 3.986 seconds, but it wasn’t enough to move off of a first round race with Hight.

“The Monster Energy dragster stepped up. Courtney and the Traxxas Chevy Funny Car stepped up. You can’t have everything. Robert and I wound up eighth and ninth and the positive is we have a Chevy going to the second round,” said Force, who won the AAA Midwest Nationals in 2013. “We aren’t where we need to be. We are running 98s and 99s but we need to get a little quicker. I said we would be ready in the Countdown and I feel we are. We just need more runs on some of the things we are working on. We have come a long ways from where we were in the summer and there are five races left.”

Hight and the AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car hazed the tires on both runs today and will go into race day as the No. 9 qualifier. This is only the third time Hight will start the AAA Midwest Nationals from the bottom half of the field. In 2010 Hight won the race as the No. 9 qualifier and on that race day he defeated teammate John Force in the second round on his way to the winner’s circle.

“It will be a tough first round for sure. Every round is tough in the Countdown. You don’t want to race any of your teammates until preferably the final round but that is how the ladder worked out. We all ran in the threes and we just came up a little short,” said Hight.

“The good news is I think there is more out there and we will continue to race hard. The key will be whoever wins the first round needs to win a lot more rounds tomorrow. Conditions should be good and I think Mike Neff will have this AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car ready to go.”

The first round match-up between Force and Hight will be the 39th career race between the two former world champions with the previous races resulting in a 19-19 split.

Courtney Force wrapped up qualifying today in the No. 7 position with a 3.953 second pass at a booming speed of 325.30 mph. She will have lane choice over Tim Wilkerson in the opening round of eliminations. Force improved her time from a 4.058 run at 307.37 mph that she made in the first qualifying session on Friday.

This will be the eleventh time Force has paired with Tim Wilkerson in eliminations since her 2012 Funny Car debut, but only the second time they have raced each other this season. It is the first time they have lined up together on race day; eight of those have been in the first round. Force is 8-2 to Wilkerson in previous match-ups.

In the past three years, Force has qualified No. 4 at Gateway International Raceway, ending the 2014 season with her seventh career victory at the Midwest Nationals making her the winningest female Funny Car driver in history. She also became the first female to win back-to-back Funny Car races (Dallas and St. Louis).

“I’m excited for this Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team. We improved today under the cool conditions we were in and posted a 3.953 ET which is a career-best for me. We’re qualified in the top half of the field. This is exactly what our Traxxas team was trying to do so we’re excited going into race day tomorrow. We’re going to have a tough first round match-up with Tim Wilkerson, but we’re going to do our best and see what we can do,” said Force.

In the third session Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster stepped up with a quicker 3.785 second run at 325.30 mph. At the end of the session she was in the provisional No. 6 position but had three strong passes under her belt.

Force closed out her qualifying weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park with her quickest run of the weekend and a jump up to the No. 4 position. Force flew down the right lane with a time of 3.753 seconds at 321.73 mph.

“We are very happy with that run. Our main goal was we wanted to make four quality runs in qualifying,” said Force from the top end. “We did that every session and we have gotten quicker every session. I am very happy for the entire Monster Energy team. I am ready for tomorrow.”

This is Brittany’s best qualifying position at the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals. She will face Troy Buff in the first round and she has a 1-0 career record against him. In 2013 she started from the No. 5 spot at the AAA Midwest Nationals and raced to the quarter-finals.