Simple was good for nitro Funny Car driver Blake Alexander and his team owner Jim Head on Friday.
While most all drivers struggled to get down the track in Q1, Alexander clocked a solid 3.927-second elapsed time at 322.50 mph to claim the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot at the Arizona Nationals near Phoenix. 
“A lot of times when you come to this track, there has been a lot of preseason testing here and lots of knowledge and a lot of people prepping the track and taking care of it,” Alexander said. “We kind of came out here (Friday) with the mindset that we didn’t do that good on Friday in Gainesville (at the season-opening Gatornationals). In fact, we lit the car on fire, and we wanted to just go down the track, so we did that, and it turned out to be a nice ending for us.”
If Alexander’s time holds through Saturday’s two qualifying sessions, it would be his first No. 1 qualifying spot of his career. His career includes stints in Funny Car and Top Fuel and back to Funny Car, highlighted by his two wins in Top Fuel in Norwalk, Ohio, and Sonoma, Calif., in 2018.
“It feels good,” said Alexander about his Friday run. “We do this to have good things happen, and we work really, really hard. I don’t think people realize how hard everyone works out here and when you have a bad weekend, you work extra hard. We are happy for Pronto and Head Contractors and everyone we work with to feed this car what it needs. We have what it needs, and we need to keep going forward.”
At the Gators in Gainesville, Fla., Alexander qualified No. 11 and lost in the first round to J.R. Todd on March 12.
“I went to the final round in Gainesville last year, and no one really remembered it by the time we got to the Countdown,” Alexander said. “We are fortunate that we had some time to recover (after the Gators this year) and we have a new car and a whole new setup, actually. We created it so it would be more conducive to go down the track and now we have to figure out how to get it to go down the track fast all the time like some of the top guys do.”
Alexander, Chad Green (3.952 seconds), and Terry Haddock (4.044 seconds) were the only drivers with times quicker than five seconds in Friday’s Q1 session.
“It is going to be warmer (Saturday) when we run just by the timing, and I also think the track will get better, and people will be able to scoot down there better in the last session. It is a good starting point for us. We are not pounding our chests or anything, but it is a good start to the weekend.”
Alexander did imagine what it would be like if he could get his first career No. 1 qualifier and his inaugural national event victory in Funny Car.
“That’s why I wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning every day and work really hard and try to find money and work out and take care of everything in my life so that I can do that,” Alexander said. “That’s what I live for, and I would like to do it.”