POMONA, Calif. (November 11, 2017) The raceday fields are set for the final race of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. With championships on the line in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock, qualifying high on the ladder and being low of each round was critical for the drivers in the points battle. Not only is it about the bonus points that are up for grabs, it’s about lane choice over the slower car for tomorrow’s opening round.
Brittany Force has managed to chip away at the points deficit between herself and points leader, Steve Torrence, even more. Force was low of the fourth and final session, which is worth three points, and took the No. 1 qualifying spot with her run from the second session, 3.667 seconds at 330.31 mph, which is worth ten. Only four points separate Force from Torrence going into raceday. “I’m a little overwhelmed right now, there’s a lot going through my head. I just want tomorrow to be here. I want Sunday to be here and I want to climb in my car. Our team’s gonna throw down all day long. We want that number one spot and we’re gonna fight for it,” Force said. When asked if she would sleep tonight, Force replied, “No, not at all. I haven’t slept in a week. I’m just ready for tomorrow to be here.”
Brittany Force will run Terry Haddock in the first round of racing. Clay Millican stayed in second with his 3.671 second pass at 328.22 mph from Q2. DSR driver, Leah Pritchett gained one spot on the qualifying ladder in the third session when she ran 3.674 seconds at 325.61 mph. Antron Brown, Steve Torrence, Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta, and Richie Crampton help make up the quickest eight drivers in the field.
Jack Beckman took the top spot with his 3.835 second run at 334.98 mph in the second session from today. Beckman is fourth in the points but won’t be in the fight for the world championship. “We didn’t make it [down the track] two out of the four runs,” said Beckman. “We talked about this last night, it’s a track that doesn’t get run on very much. They come out here and the track prep crew, they don’t have to scrape this track, it just doesn’t get the rubber build-up that an average national event track would but they still have to clean it, scrub it, rosin the thing, start dragging the tire-rotating machines, and the machine that sprays the glue on there,” Beckman explained. “For whatever reason, this track just sucks up that glue, it just dries it out. So it’s just been a different animal but that’s not atypical for Pomona. Sometimes it takes a day or two for this to come around,” he continued.
Tim Wilkerson jumped four spots in the last qualifying session to take the second rung. Wilkerson ran 3.863 seconds at 331.69 mph. Courtney Force was bumped down but her Q2 pass of 3.871 seconds at 334.57 mph was still good enough for third. Tommy Johnson Jr., Alexis Dejoria, Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, and John Force are also qualified in the top half of their field.
Points leader, Greg Anderson’s 6.541 second lap at 209.79 mph from the first session stood the test of time and gained him the No. 1 qualifying spot. “It’s gonna be a battle royal tomorrow, no doubt about it; we knew that coming in,” Greg said. “We should all run within thousandths of a second of each other, a lot of it comes down to who does what on the starting line, and exactly how perfect of a run the car makes.” He continued, “I hope that my experience, wisdom, whatever you want to call it, comes through tomorrow and experience gets it done but you never know. Anything can happen out there on raceday.”
He will race Alan Prusiensky in round one tomorrow. Anderson’s KB Racing teammate, Jason Line took the off-pole position for tomorrow’s race when he moved up four spots in Q3. Line went down the racetrack in 6.546 seconds at 210.14 mph. Line’s improvement bumped Drew Skillman down a peg into the third position. In the first session, Skillman made a 6.555 second run at 211.69 mph, which is top speed of the meet so far. Jeg Coughlin, Bo Butner, Tanner Gray, Erica Enders, and Chris McGaha are also on the top half of the ladder.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
In the third session, points leader Eddie Krawiec moved up one spot to take the pole position. Krawiec ran an impressive 6.781 second lap at 197.13 mph. Krawiec’s run held up in the final session and he cemented his fourth Pro Stock Motorcycle World Championship. “It feels awesome!” Krawiec exclaimed. “This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to lock it all up going into raceday and actually not have to race for the title. I have a great team, great motorcycle right now,” Krawiec said. “By no means am I taking this light, I want to win the race.”
Krawiec will face Lance Bonham in the opening round of final eliminations. Krawiec’s Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson teammates snagged the second and third qualifying spots. Andrew Hines improved two spots with his 6.799 second run at 197.13 mph. Chip Ellis’ 6.805 second pass at 196.53 mph from Q2 held up for third. Scotty Pollacheck, Hector Arana Jr., LE Tonglet, Joey Gladstone, and Steve Johnson help make up the top half of the two-wheel field.