Tommy Johnson Jr. took the Funny Car qualifying lead Friday in the NHRA Carolina Nationals, the first event in the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
Johnson, seeded third entering the playoffs, had a track-record time of 3.971 seconds at 312.42 mph in his Dodge Charger R/T.
"I was kidding my crew chief coming here, so much for flying under the radar," Johnson said. "We weren't getting all the headlines and flying under the radar. We've been very consistent and been making good runs and sneaking up on it and closing that gap at every race. It's nice to see the results of a lot of hard work for the whole team."
Clay Millican took the Top Fuel lead, Greg Anderson topped the Pro Stock field, and Jerry Savoie was the fastest in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Millican, who just missed making the top 10 for the playoffs, had a 3.758 at 318.77.
Anderson, a four-time NHRA season champion who lives in nearby Mooresville, ran a 6.524 at 212.26 in a Chevy Camaro. He's seeded second in the playoffs.
Savoie power his Suzuki to a 6.862 at 195.59. Seeded fourth, he's coming off a victory in the U.S. Nationals in Indiana.