DENVER, CO. (JULY 22, 2017) In sharp contrast to yesterday’s weather conditions, Bandimere Speedway was provided with sunny, clear skies and two qualifying sessions for each of the four professional categories. With the improved weather and track conditions aiding drivers and crew chiefs, shuffles within the qualifying ladders were in full swing.
Mopar Mile High Nationals Q3 & Q4
In the final qualifying session, Leah Pritchett was able to rocket her Papa John’s Pizza top fueler to the top spot with a 3.733 second pass at 326.24 mph.
“It surprised us. We struggled in qualifying this whole event, so to speak, but once we got it right so I feel good about tomorrow,” said Pritchett. Pritchett will face Troy Coughlin Jr. in the first round of final eliminations on Sunday. Doug Kalitta, who held the number one spot until Q4, will start second thanks to a 3.767 second pass at 323.97 mph. Top Fuel points-leader, Steve Torrence is third with his a 3.775 second lap at 323.97 mph effort. Tony Schumacher, Shawn Langdon, Brittany Force, Antron Brown, and Clay Millican are qualified in the top half of the field.
John Force Racing was able to hold on to the top three qualifying positions going into Sunday’s eliminations. Courtney Force’s Q1 run of 3.889 seconds at 328.30 mph was never bested. “It feels great to be in that top spot but looking for a long race day tomorrow, that’s what we need. We need to pick up those points and we gotta climb our way back up there,” Force said. Courtney will run Jim Campbell in the first round on race day. While her father’s Q1 lap of 3.899 seconds at 301.87 mph stayed the second quickest time of qualifying. Robert Hight made an improvement in his elapsed time with a 3.905 second pass at 318.17 mph but still stayed third. Jonnie Lindberg, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Cruz Pedregon, and J.R. Todd help make up the top eight qualifiers.
Drew Skillman is the pole sitter in the factory hot-rod class. Skillman made a a 6.925 second run at 198.26 mph in Q1 that held up throughout all three qualifying sessions. Skillman shared some insight into what he believes got him there,”Confidence is key. We you come off the trailer with a good racecar everyone’s up. Everyone’s feeling good and we feel confident for tomorrow.”Skillman will race Richie Stevens in the opening round of final eliminations. Erica Enders was unable to go faster than her Q1 time of 6.930 seconds at 198.85 mph, but neither was anyone else, so Enders will stay off-pole going into final eliminations. Ender’s teammate, Vincent Nobile jumped up to the third spot in Q3 with a 6.939 second run at 199.05 mph. Greg Anderson, Jason Line, Allen Johnson, Matt Hartford, Chris McGaha round out the top half of the field.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Unable to improve upon his 7.178 second run at 185.66 mph, but still quickest of the two-wheel field, Eddie Krawiec took home the green hat for his qualifying efforts.
Krawiec acknowledged that felt there were improvements to be made. “To be completely honest we should have picked up today. We tried giving it back, we tried giving it to somebody else on those last two sessions but came out strong this morning. Went a 7.718, the same thing [as yesterday.]” Krawiec will have David Hope in the first round of competition on race day. Hector Arana Jr. stayed in the second spot with his time of 7.191 seconds at 186.36 mph from Q1. Matt Smith moved up one spot to take the third rung on the qualifying ladder with a time of 7.183 seconds at 186.20 mph. LE Tonglet, Scotty Pollacheck , Andrew Hines, Jerry Savoie, and Joey Gladstone also make up the top eight qualifiers.