BRAINERD, Minn. (August 19, 2017) With two national elapsed time records being set during the second qualifying sessions of Top Fuel and Funny Car yesterday, there was a lot to look forward to today. While the record books haven’t changed from yesterday’s historical afternoon, the cars and bikes were still fast and the qualifying ladders have seen a shift going into race day tomorrow.
Leah Pritchett’s Q2 record-setting run of 3.640 seconds at 330.63 mph could not be topped today, so she’ll take home her sixth pole position of the season thus far. “Today was really about getting ready for tomorrow,” Pritchett told the media. “Tomorrow is so incredibly important. Antron, Steve, we gotta close that gap. If we don’t start doing it at this race then we’ll have to settle for what we get in Indy,” Pritchett stressed. Pritchett will face Rob Passey in the first round of eliminations. Brittany Force is qualified off-pole with her 3.685 second effort at 333.16 mph. Top Fuel veteran Doug Kalitta is third thanks to his 3.694 second pass at 330.31 mph. Tony Schumacher, Clay Millican, Steve Torrence, Antron Brown, and Scott Palmer are also qualified in the top half of the field.
Robert Hight’s historic lap from Q2 of 3.793 seconds at 338 mph held on for the top spot in qualifying going into race day. This triumph comes on the heels of two wins in the last three national events. As well as his third number one qualifier in a row and fifth on the season. “I actually woke up in the middle of the night and wondered if that was really a dream. Did it really happen? It was a pretty exciting day,” spoke Hight. He went on to say, “We need to make four good runs here tomorrow and get back to the winners circle.” Hight will race Cruz Pedregon in round one on Sunday. Matt Hagan qualified second with a time of 3.807 seconds at 336.57 mph. Sixteen-time world champion, John Force takes the third rung on the ladder with a 3.852 second pass at 334.15 mph. Courtney Force, Tommy Johnson Jr. Jack Beckman, Tim Wilkerson, and Ron Capps help make up the top eight qualifiers.
Gray Motorsports’ youngest driver, Tanner Gray walked away with the green number-one qualifier hat this afternoon. Gray ran a 6.607 second lap at 208.17 mph in Q2 on Friday. “All of my guys have given me great equipment. In racing it’s not so much about the driver anymore it’s just kind of the equipment you’ve got behind you. I’ve been blessed to be put in awesome equipment,” said the 18-year old pole sitter. Gray will have a bye-run in the opening round of elimination racing tomorrow. Bo Butner’s 6.617 second pass at 207.69 mph has him off-pole for the event. Allen Johnson cemented his best qualifying effort of the season by securing the third spot with 6.622 second run at 206.86 mph. Jason Line, Drew Skillman, Greg Anderson, Shane Gray, and Erica Enders are also on the top half of the qualifying ladder.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
It’s always nice to qualify number one, but it’s really nice to do it at your primary sponsor’s event. Hector Arana Jr. did just that with his time of 6.879 seconds at 194.24 mph. This is Arana’s first number one qualifier in over two years and his nineteenth overall. “Everybody worked so hard for this. It’s nice to finally get the results that we’re getting.” Hector continued, “It’s so awesome to finally get the number one and it really does mean a lot.” Arana will run Jimmy Underdahl in the first round. Jerry Savoie made a big improvement in Q4 and ran a 6.882 second pass at 193.57 mph. Matt Smith qualified third with a 6.884 second lap at 195.22 mph. Scotty Pollacheck, LE Tongelt, Eddie Krawiec, Angie Smith, and Andrew Hines round out the top eight qualified riders.