By Lee Elder
MORRISON, Colo. (July 20, 2018) – Racers are never satisfied. Even if they qualify first, they want to be faster.
Greg Anderson (in Pro Stock), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) led their categories after Friday’s two sessions.
Krawiec’s PSM-leading pass (7.132 seconds and 186.56 mph) came in Friday’s first session. Andrew Hines was second and Hector Arana Jr. was third.
“I could make a perfect run and I’d be telling you how bad it was,” Krawiec joked. He added, “The track was very tight that session, obviously with it being very dark and gloomy. So, we know what proper changes we need to make going to Q4 tomorrow.”
The most memorable run of the first qualifying session was the fiery engine explosion aboard Cruz Pedregon’s Funny Car. The explosion came as the car as closing in on the completion of the 1,000-foot racing distance and it blew virtually the entire body off the car. Only a piece of the nose remained as Pedregon, a very experienced veteran driver, steered the car to a halt. The largest part of the car’s body came to rest, mostly intact, next to a fence that stood in front of a grandstand.
Pedregon was not injured. He did not make a second-round pass. Pedregon’s 4.457-second, 195.85 mph pass was the best in the category at the time of the incident. After the second session, he was 12th.
The big boom came a few hours after Don Schumacher Racing announced that owner Don Schumacher and each of the team’s drivers pledged to join the effort to study the impact concussions have on drivers and other athletes, plus military members and others from different walks of life. The team members pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after they have died.
“I don’t think people realize the brain impact these soldiers receive from the explosions, the IEDs, the traumas,” Schumacher said.
Anderson’s best pass (6.933 seconds and 197.19 mph) came in the first qualifying session. Virtually every Pro Stock car in the field improved in the second session but no car, including Anderson’s, bested his first run of the weekend. Deric Kramer was second and Alex Laughlin was third.
Anderson said, “This is the best I’ve run here on a Friday in 10 or 15 years … so we’re way ahead of schedule this weekend and that’s a great feeling. … It’s a big challenge for a driver because you’re constantly hitting the chip that we have at the top and bottom of each gear change.”
Deric Kramer was second to Anderson and Alex Laughlin was third.
Force had the quick lap in Q1, was supplanted in the early going of the second session and then grabbed the top spot back with a 3.966-second, 322.73 mph dash down the Colorado drag strip. Robert Hight was second and John Force was third.
“We didn’t even get a full pull in Q1,” Courtney Force said. “It started to spin down there and I got out of it but still managed to run a 3.99. … I was looking forward to running Q2 because I knew we could improve on that if we ran a full pull.”
She was right.
Pritchett grabbed the Top Fuel top spot at the end of the second session, with a-3.806 second, 317.19 mph pass. Steve Torrence was second and Clay Millican was third.
NOTES: All of the professional categories had full fields entered for the weekend. Top Fuel had 16 entries, Funny Car had 17, Pro Stock had 16 and Pro Stock Motorcycle had 17. … Erica Enders began the weekend atop the Pro Stock standings. It is her first stint at the head of the field since she won her last championship in 2015. … Will Hatcher’s Pro Stock car had working headlights Friday. … Todd Simpson’s Funny Car did not deploy a parachute at the end of its run in Q1. The car went into the trap at the end of the drag strip. Simpson was not injured. He did not make a second-round pass. … First round qualifying leaders were Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle, 7.132 seconds, 186.56 mpg), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock, 6.933/197.19), Courtney Force (Funny Car, 3.995/281.50) and Clay Millican (Top Fuel, 3.814/326.71).