INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 1, 2017) The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is officially underway here at Lucas Oil Raceway. Today’s schedule held the first of five qualifying sessions for the four professional classes. Due to unsavory weather qualifying was bumped up two hours earlier to get ahead of the impending rain. Despite the cloudy skies, all four professional classes powered their way down the quarter-mile and set new track records along the way.
Brainerd race winner, Leah Pritchett took the pole position after she set the new track elapsed time record of 3.667 seconds at 329.6 mph. “I just couldn’t be more proud and blown away— if I keep getting blown away I’m not gonna be here anymore— by my team and the job that they’re doing,” said Pritchett. Currently second in the field of 18 is Doug Kalitta with his 3.682 second lap at 329.50 mph. Clay Millican flexed his muscles and went down the track in 3.689 seconds at 327.59 mph. Tony Schumacher, Scott Palmer, Bob Vandergriff, Ashley Sanford, and Wayne Newby are currently sitting on the top half of the qualifying ladder. It didn’t go unnoticed in the first session that Ashley Sanford, who is making her Top Fuel debut this weekend, impressed the crowd in the first session by running 3.796 seconds at 322.04 mph. Not too shabby for her first pass down the track in a national event.
The flopper class did not disappoint today as Matt Hagan ran the second quickest run in Funny Car history. Hagan made a blistering 3.799 second pass at 338.77 mph; he currently leads the 18-car field and holds the track elapsed time and speed records. “Our guys at the [fabrication] shop, DSR, guys and girls putting stuff together, that just speaks volumes for what our company is capable of doing. What a fun ride to hang on to,” Hagan exclaimed. “It’s just fun to be able to do something like that,” he continued. National ET-record holder, Robert Hight is currently second thanks to his 3.827 second lap at 330.96 mph. Hight’s teammate, Courtney Force is third after making her 3.847 second run at 302.28 mph. John Force, J.R. Todd, Alexis Dejoria, Jonnie Lindberg, and Jack Beckman all ran 3.90 or quicker and currently sitting in the top eight. Despite Hagan’s great performance his DSR teammate’s Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps are 16th and 17th after the first session and will look to challenge Hagan’s track record.
The professional door-slammers are in full force this weekend with 21 drivers entered in the historic race. Currently, Pro Stock standout, Tanner Gray is leading the other 20 drivers, including his father, Shane, and grandfather, Johnny, in terms of qualifying. Gray had a lap time of 6.566 seconds at 209.88 mph for low of the round. “It’s just cool to be able to go out there and do this with them,” Tanner told the medial. “Obviously I’ve got to race with my dad but this is my first time getting to do anything with my grandpa like this, so it’s a lot of fun and I know he’s having fun so that makes it even cooler.” Heavy-hitter, Greg Anderson is second with his run of 6.568 seconds at 210.31 mph. Sitting in third is Drew Skillman with a time of of 6.571 seconds at 210.18 mph. Bo Butner, Alex Laughlin, Chris McGaha, Johnny Gray, and Matt Hartford round out the quick eight. In addition to qualifying, the Pro Stock Battle of the Burnouts started but only a few drivers completed lengthy burnouts. Allen Johnson was the runner-up of the battle this session. Vincent Nobile won himself a new set of slicks courtesy of Goodyear and picked up 200 points towards the grand prize of $5,000.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
This weekend the two-wheel professional category holds the most entries with a whopping 22 riders all competing for the win. But first, they have to make the top 16 qualifiers. After the first session Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson have taken the top two rungs on the qualifying ladder. Andrew Hines made a nice 6.825 second run at 194.74 mph which was good enough for the provisional pole. “The last two weeks have been completely grueling but the guys at Vance & Hines never stop digging and we never stop striving to get to that next level. Right now we’re really happy putting our Street Rods one and two.” Hines went on to say, “Been a lot of hard work; blood, sweat, and tears literally.” Eddie Krawiec is sitting off-pole from his teammate with his identical elapsed time of 6.825 seconds but slower speed of 193.57 mph. Current defending world champion of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, Jerry Savoie is qualified third at the moment after his 6.877 second pass at 193.82 mph. LE Tonglet, Scotty Pollacheck, Matt Smith, Joey Galdstone, and Mike Berry make up the top eight qualifiers after the first session of qualifying.