C. Force, Torrence, Enders and Hines lead Friday qualifying at Mile-High Nationals at Denver
Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 37th annual Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway,
Morrison, Colo. – Courtney Force led a parade of track record performances by racing to the Funny Car qualifying lead Friday at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders in their respective classes at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Denver.
Teams in all categories took advantage of cool conditions as racing was delayed until late in the evening after a series of afternoon thunderstorms moved through the area.
Force powered her Traxxas Chevy Camaro to a track record time of 3.917 seconds at 318.39 mph to lead a quick group of Funny Cars. In the first session, her father John Force posted a milestone run when he sped to the first three-second Funny Car run in track history, a 3.959 second run at the controls of his new-look camouflage Realtree Peak Camaro.
“We were hoping to run in the threes (in the second session) after we saw my dad lay down the 3.95 in the first round,” the younger Force said. “It was definitely worth the wait (due to the rain delays). Really excited and proud of my team for giving me a fast race car. It was awesome to have such a huge crowd here late at night to see a track record run like that.”
Force said she hoped the run holds through Saturday’s two qualifying sessions (4 and 6:30 p.m.) so she can secure her first No. 1 qualifying position of the season, first at Denver and 10th of her career.
“My dad was able to run a three on both runs so I know there will be a lot of teams gunning for it tomorrow,” Force said. “It was a great show for the fans tonight and awesome that a ton of them stuck around for both sessions.”
Funny Car – 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.917, 318.39; 2. John Force, Camaro, 3.935, 320.43; 3. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.963, 322.34; 4. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.022, 306.53; 5. Chad Head, Camry, 4.024, 312.93; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.135, 303.91; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.136, 291.63; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.169, 281.83; 9. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.175, 236.05; 10. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.444, 198.90; 11. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.684, 177.46; 12. Ron Capps, Charger, 6.514, 107.35. Not Qualified: 13. Todd Simpson, 7.559, 82.32.
Defending event winner Torrence set a track record time of 3.776 at 325.14 in his Capco Contractors dragster to lead Top Fuel qualifying.
"It seems like my whole team has a good handle on the mountain,” Torrence said. “It is good to come here and have the confidence going into the weekend. This place is so much different than everywhere else we race. The track is unbelievable; it always is here."
Clay Millican sits second with a 3.815 at 319.14 in his Parts Plus dragster and two-time season winner and past world champ Shawn Langdon is third in the Red Fuel dragster with a 3.826 at 310.48. Series leader Antron Brown, a two-time Denver winner, is ninth in the Matco Tools dragster with a 3.911 at 281.30.
Top Fuel – 1. Steve Torrence, 3.776 seconds, 325.14 mph; 2. Clay Millican, 3.815, 319.14; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.826, 310.48; 4. Brittany Force, 3.834, 313.66; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.836, 313.07; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.881, 312.35; 7. Doug Kalitta, 3.893, 313.73; 8. J.R. Todd, 3.898, 311.56; 9. Antron Brown, 3.911, 281.30; 10. Richie Crampton, 4.041, 231.75; 11. Scott Palmer, 7.456, 83.81.
Defending world champ Enders led Pro Stock qualifying with a 6.963 at 197.74 in her Elite Motorsports Dodge Dart.
Enders, who entered this race sitting outside the top 10 in points, said this effort couldn’t have come at a better time.
“What better place to have a turnaround weekend than here at our sponsor’s race,” Enders said. “It might surprise a lot of people because we have struggled this season, but I have the best team and I believe in them. I am so proud of our team. Our goal tomorrow is to get our race day setup going and stay consistent.”
Drew Skillman qualified second with a 6.963 at 197.74 in his Ray Skillman Auto Chevy Camaro and was followed by Alex Laughlin, who sits third with a 6.976 at 198.93 in the Gas Monkey Garage Camaro. Points leader Jason Line is 11th with a 7.028 at 196.82 in the Summit Racing Camaro after two sessions. Six-time Denver winner Allen Johnson is seventh with a 6.988 at 197.25 in his Marathon Petroleum Dart.
Pro Stock – 1. Erica Enders, Dodge Dart, 6.963, 197.74; 2. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.964, 197.80; 3. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.976, 198.93; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.979, 196.73; 5. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.982, 198.12; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.982, 197.45; 7. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.988, 197.25; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.989, 197.62; 9. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.990, 196.90; 10. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 7.025, 195.85; 11. Jason Line, Camaro, 7.028, 196.82; 12. Richie Stevens, Dart, 7.032, 195.56. Not Qualified: 13. Deric Kramer, 7.039, 195.65; 14. Alan Prusiensky, 7.183, 192.55; 15. Chris McGaha, 7.583, 160.52.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Five-time world champ Hines, who grew up in nearby Trinidad, Colo., paced Pro Stock Motorcycle with a track record time of 7.161 at 185.36 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.
“That run was pretty good, but the first run had the potential to go significantly quicker but I missed a gear and that put me behind,” Hines said. “We made an adjustment to the engine for round two and that helped. It make a nice clean run and I was able to keep it straight. When you can do that here on the mountain it pays dividends. I hope it will hold for tomorrow. My teammate (Eddie Krawiec) has been getting a lot of green hats (for No. 1 qualifying positions) lately, so I would really like to get one for my team.”
Kraweic was second on his Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson with a 7.177 at 186.72 and Angelle Sampey was third on her Precision Service Equipment/Star Racing Buell with a 7.198 at 183.12.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.161, 186.25; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.177, 186.72; 3. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 7.198, 186.64; 4. Matt Smith, Victory, 7.209, 186.25; 5. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.226, 186.23; 6. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.244, 185.61; 7. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.251, 184.65; 8. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 7.256, 184.67; 9. Cory Reed, Buell, 7.262, 182.95; 10. Michael Ray, Buell, 7.273, 184.30; 11. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.285, 184.88; 12. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.285, 184.83. Not Qualified: 13. Angie Smith, 7.290, 180.79; 14. Michael Phillips, 7.307, 183.62; 15. Steve Johnson, 7.310, 182.97; 16. Scotty Pollacheck, 7.311, 182.85; 17. Karen Stoffer, 7.348, 182.62; 18. Melissa Surber, 7.374, 183.29; 19. Jim Underdahl, 7.423, 178.42; 20. Mike Berry, 7.444, 179.78; 21. Tyler Fisher, 7.562, 163.57; 22. Lance Bonham, 7.587, 175.57; 23. Kristen Ashby, 7.687, 174.55.
Mopar, Pennzoil, back Pritchett-DSR partnership
Torrence, C. Force, Laughlin and Hines earn No. 1 qualifying positions at Mile-High Nationals