INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 3, 2017) The third and final day of qualifying has been completed and the fields are set for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Foreshadowing tomorrow’s weather conditions, it was a sunny and warm day that graced Lucas Oil Raceway which got us through the fourth and fifth professional qualifying sessions, the Pro Stock Battle of the Burnouts, and the Traxxas Nitro Shootout. Needless to say, it was a very busy day at the drag strip.
It’s official, Clay Millican has the quickest car on the property this event. Millican’s Q3 run of 3.663 seconds at 329.10 mph stood the test of Q4 and Q5 and earned him the top honor in qualifying. In the media center, Millican was quick to give the praise to his crew chief, David Grubnic. “[Grubnic] is amazing. It’s his tuneup, it’s not someone else’s tuneup that he’s massaging. This is something he’s been working on for three years and never quits thinking and he never sits still.” Millican will run Kebin Kinsley in round one of racing tomorrow. Leah Pritchett will start from the second spot with her 3.667 second lap at 329.50 mph. Steve Torrence is qualified third with a 3.673 second lap at 329.50 seconds from yesterday’s Q3 session. Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta, Antron Brown, Bob Vandergriff, and Brittany Force are also on the top half of the ladder.
The Funny Car category didn’t see much shuffling on the qualifying ladder today. Matt Hagan’s track record run from Q1 was more than enough to earn him the No. 1 qualifying position. Hagan’s 3.799 second run at 338.77 is the second quickest run in Funny Car history. “U.S. Nats, it’s a huge race. We won it last year and I guess no one’s ever doubled up and been number one twice (in a row) so it’s a cool stat to hear. Maybe we can make some history tomorrow and do that, ” Hagan said. Jim Campbell will try to make his was around Matt Hagan in the first round on raceday. Robert Hight will start off-pole with his Q3 lap of 3.807 seconds at 333.91 mph. Hight’s teammate, Courtney Force is third on the ladder with a time of 3.837 seconds at 334.90 mph. John Force, Jack Beckman, J.R. Todd, Jonnie Lindberg, and Ron Capps are qualified in the top half of the Top Fuel field.
Greg Anderson took the green hat at the top end of the track for his 6.561 second run at 210.11 that was made in yesterday’s Q2 session. “My hats off to the guys. It’s been three completely different racetrack conditions and weather conditions and we’ve been low of the round three times,” said Anderson. “I feel great going into tomorrow. It’s gonna be, as I said yesterday, a crew chief’s race. You’re gonna have to manage that starting line and get off that starting line clean if you want to have a chance to win tomorrow. I’ve got all the faith in the world in my racecar and which means I’ve got all the faith in the world in my crew,” he continued. Anderson will race Kenny Delco in the first round of competition. Pro Stock rookie, Tanner Gray is sitting second thanks to his 6.566 second pass at 209.88 mph. The third spot belongs to Drew Skillman with his 6.570 second effort at 209.33 mph. Bo Butner, Alex Laughlin, Chris McGaha, Johnny Gray, and Matt Hartford qualified as part of the quick eight. Deric Kramer took the win for both rounds of the Battle of the Burnouts today. Shane Gray put up a great fight and was runner-up to Kramer during those two rounds. Kramer must have worn out the tires down to the cords because he held the line lock button for about ten seconds as the tires spun after he pulled out of the water box. Kramer completed one of the longest burnouts the Pro Stock class has ever seen and NHRA announcer, Alan Reinhart called Kramer’s amazing feat the “burnout of the year.” When the points from each round of the battle were tallied, Kramer and Gray were tied with 500 points each, but Kramer won the tiebreaker of having the most battle round wins. Kramer takes home 2 sets of Goodyear tires and a $5,000 check courtesy of Denso Spark Plugs.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
The Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson team has locked down the pole and off-pole positions for raceday. Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines’ runs from earlier in the weekend could not be topped. Krawiec’s 6.822 second run at 196.62 mph gave him the No. 1 qualifier title. “Fortunate for me, I’ve had low ET four of the last five rounds and tied low ET of the first session so I have an awesome motorcycle going into tomorrow. Right now my main focus is going out there, keeping a good reaction time, making clean laps down the drag strip. Lucas Oil [Raceway] has been good to me so far. Hopefully it’s really good to me tomorrow,” Krawiec said. Krawiec will face Jim Underdahl in the opening round of competition tomorrow. Andrew Hines isn’t far behind his Harley-Davidson teammate with a 6.825 second pass at 194.74. Hector Arana Jr. moved up two spots into third his Q4 lap of 6.840 seconds at 196.16 mph. Matt Smith, Chip Ellis, Scotty Pollacheck, Jerry Savoie, and LE Tonglet are sitting on the top half of the ladder going into the first round of competition.