POMONA – In perhaps the most dramatic and pressure-packed Saturday qualifying session since NHRA drag racing started at Pomona Raceway 47 years ago, father and daughter both delivered. That allowed the crowd that numbered more than 25,000 and two generations of Force racing – John and Ashley – a sigh of relief. Facing the possibility of starting the NHRA Drag Racing Series season on the sidelines, both the 14-time champion and his 24-year-old rookie daughter qualified on their final attempts for today’s Winternationals. They will both be in the quickest 16-car Funny Car field in NHRA history. There were plenty of twists and turns in the fourth and final qualifying session, with six drivers getting bumped out the field. Gary Scelzi turned in a run of 4.692 seconds at a sizzling 333.49 mph for the top qualifying spot. Tony Schumacher remained first in Top Fuel dragster at 4.472, his third No. 1 spot at the Winternationals. Greg Anderson rebounded to take the Pro Stock top spot at 6.634 at a track-record 209.04, his 52nd career No. 1 effort. Scelzi’s run, his first in a Funny Car at the historic track, was nearly an afterthought following the drama as to whether either Force would make the show. Ashley was on the bubble when San Dimas’ Jeff Arend ran a career-best 4.795. That run put the elder Force in a precarious position of extending his streak of 392 consecutive starts, the all-time NHRA record, and bumping his daughter. Much to the delight of the crowd, Force came through with a solid 4.709, advancing him from the 19th spot into second for the moment. Force eventually finished fourth-quickest. “It was painful,” Force said. “But you just put your foot down and go to get into the show. I just hate that number (the qualifying streak), it gets into your head.” Nine minutes later, both father and daughter were happy once again. Ashley improved her time to 4.790, a career-best, to climb to the 13th position. She dropped to 15th by the time the session ended. “This day has been so intense,” said Ashley. “It’s easy to say that you aren’t going to get nervous. I was so conflicted watching dad in front of me. I wanted him to get in the show, but I didn’t want to get bumped out. “The numbers thing was in my head too. Thankfully, everything worked out. It couldn’t have been any better. I’m glad all of us (John, Ashley, Force Racing teammates Robert Hight and Eric Medlen) are in the show.” That was almost quite enough for Force. “It’s just a great day; it means so much to put all four cars in the show,” said Force, the team owner. Ashley will face brother-in-law Hight in the first round. Force thinks his daughter has a very bright future. “She’s a trooper and smoked it right down the track,” Force said of the pressure-packed qualifying run. “She’s learned the drill. Everybody out there wanted Ashley and me to qualify. I believe in the long run she’s going to be as good as me, a great star for the sport. “I took a chance and today she proved she can hold her own in a man’s sport.” And there are seven men who will be looking on from the outside. Chino Hills’ Del Worsham did not qualify for the opener, joining veterans Gary Densham, Tony Bartone and Kenny Bernstein on the DNQ list. “It’s unbelievable that we come out here and the same horror show we lived through last year is right back in my face, missing by inches or missing by a thousandth or two,” said Worsham. “I know it was a big dramatic deal out there, with both John and Ashley Force having to bump their way in, but I have to say that the only drama I cared about was what was going to happen with us, and that drama ended badly.” Arend felt badly for Worsham, who gave him a job over the winter. “I feel horrible for Del, and if I had any control over it I’d gladly take the DNQ on my side to let him race, but it just doesn’t work that way,” said Arend. “With this being the quickest field ever, it was going to be very tough on a few good teams.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!