J. Force, Dixon, Johnson and Krawiec power to No. 1 qualifiers in Denver
John Force powered his PEAK Antifreeze Chevy Camaro SS to a track record 4.015 at 318.09 to earn the top qualifying position for the second time this season.
Morrison, Colo. - John Force earned his 154th career No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car Saturday at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers of their categories at the 14th of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season and the first of three events on the NHRA Western Swing.
Force powered his PEAK Antifreeze Chevy Camaro SS to a track record 4.015 at 318.09 to earn the top qualifying position for the second time this season. He was also strong during Saturday’s two sessions, running low elapsed time of the day during the final pass of the night. Force has two wins this season and will race against John Hale in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.
“When you run good, you stay at the end of the qualifying line and you get better conditions,” Force said of his final run of the night. “We didn’t know what we would run but we said, ‘This is not the conditions we’ll run tomorrow, but let’s see what we can do.’ I’m starting to build my brain trust again and I’m pretty excited about it. It’ll build your confidence but if you get jacked up around that tomorrow, you could get picked off by anybody.”
Tim Wilkerson qualified second with a 4.026 at 317.27 in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang and will face Jeff Diehl in round one. Jack Beckman, the 2012 world champ and two-time Denver winner, will start eliminations in the No. 3 spot with a 4.035 at 313.73 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T, earning him a matchup with Todd Simpson. Recent Chicago winner Tommy Johnson Jr. qualified fourth while 2009 world champ and defending event winner Robert Hight qualified fifth.
In Top Fuel, Dixon recorded a track record 3.791 at 326.63 in his C&J Energy Services dragster Friday night and that run held to earn him the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2011 and 52nd time of his career. Dixon, who has finished runner-up five times this season, is hoping to earn his first win of 2015 and third of his career at Bandimere. He will meet Scott Palmer in the first round.
“It was good information for us so we know how to better adjust the car for tomorrow’s conditions,” said Dixon, a three-time world champ. “Hopefully we can have some full pulls tomorrow. Bob Vandergriff has given us a great car with great equipment and great people to work on it. That’s really what it takes to win a race, qualify or contend for a championship. This was my crew chief, Mike Guger’s first No. 1 qualifier as a crew chief, so I’m really happy for him to be a part of it.”
Defending and eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher qualified second with a 3.796 at 325.37 in his U.S. Army dragster. Schumacher, the Top Fuel points leader and two-time winner at Bandimere will face Steve Chrisman in the first round. Brittany Force, the runner-up in Top Fuel at this event last season, qualified her Monster Energy dragster third with a 3.802 at a track record 326.95, earning a first round race with Terry McMillen. Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta qualified fourth and fifth respectively.
Johnson raced to his 37th career No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock and first of the 2015 season with a track record 6.877 at 200.29 in his Magneti Marelli Dodge Dart. Johnson, who has won six of the last eight races at Denver, is looking for his fourth consecutive win at the track. He will have a first round bye on Sunday and will meet the winner of No. 8 Bo Butner and No. 9 Drew Skillman in the second round.
“We were really gearing up for raceday tomorrow all day,” said Johnson, the 2012 Pro Stock world champ. “The first run we made a decent run and were lowest of the round by a little bit. Competition is getting tougher, getting closer and it’s going to be knockdown drag out tomorrow. Coming in here and running like we’ve run is what we set out to do.”
Charlotte winner Larry Morgan qualified his FireAde Chevy Camaro second with a 6.878 at 200.20 in his FireAde Chevy Camaro. He will face Joey Grose in the first round. Defending world champ Erica Enders earned the No. 3 seed with a 6.882 at 200.65 in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro and will race Matt Hartford. Jonathan Gray qualified fourth while track speed record holder Shane Gray sits fifth. S. Gray’s Friday qualifying run was the first Pro Stock pass to reach the 200 mph mark at Bandimere Speedway.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, current points leader Krawiec rode to his first No. 1 qualifier of the 2015 season with a track record 7.169 at 186.10 on his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, achieved on Friday. Krawiec, a two-time winner of this event, now has 24 career No. 1 qualifiers and is chasing his first win of the season. He will face Chaz Kennedy in the first round.
“It was obviously more of a tuning session for us,” said Krawiec, a three time world champion. “I didn’t think someone was going to the No. 1 spot and we weren’t really concerned with the No. 1 spot. We were concerned with the race-day tune-up. That’s what we’ve struggled with. We saw a direction in which we want to go tomorrow so I’m pretty confident. I’ve got a great motorcycle. As long as it can get me four very fast, consistent laps, I’ m good with that.”
Hector Arana Jr., coming off his first win of the season in Chicago, qualified second with a 7.182 at 187.55 on his Lucas Oil Buell. He will open eliminations against Fred Camarena. Four-time world champ and defending event winner Andrew Hines is third with a 7.201 at 184.47 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, setting up a first round race with two-time season winner Karen Stoffer. Hector Arana qualified fourth while Jim Underdahl will start as the No. 5 seed.
Eliminations for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals begin Sunday at 11 a.m.
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 36th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, the 14th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel – 1. Larry Dixon, 3.791 seconds, 326.63 mph vs. 16. Scott Palmer, 5.628, 127.09; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.796, 325.37 vs. 15. Steven Chrisman, 4.482, 216.86; 3. Brittany Force, 3.802, 326.95 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 4.153, 265.17; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.822, 322.88 vs. 13. Jenna Haddock, 4.152, 264.65; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.828, 317.34 vs. 12. Richie Crampton, 3.980, 290.44; 6. Spencer Massey, 3.846, 326.24 vs. 11. Shawn Langdon, 3.900, 312.64; 7. Dave Connolly, 3.854, 320.51 vs. 10. Clay Millican, 3.890, 309.27; 8. Antron Brown, 3.878, 311.05 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, 3.884, 312.28.
Funny Car – 1. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.015, 318.09 vs. 16. John Hale, Dodge Charger, 4.712, 229.90; 2. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.026, 317.27 vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.416, 240.29; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.035, 313.73 vs. 14. Todd Simpson, Camaro, 4.265, 261.47; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.044, 310.05 vs. 13. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 4.229, 297.16; 5. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.051, 311.70 vs. 12. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.172, 282.78; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.065, 310.20 vs. 11. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.143, 295.53; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.077, 306.26 vs. 10. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.102, 312.71; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.078, 314.24 vs. 9. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.093, 284.75. Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 5.671, 213.06.
Pro Stock – 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.877, 200.74 vs. Bye; 2. Larry Morgan, Chevy Camaro, 6.878, 200.20 vs. 15. Joey Grose, Camaro, 7.110, 194.44; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.882, 200.65 vs. 14. Matt Hartford, Pontiac GXP, 7.048, 198.15; 4. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.887, 199.70 vs. 13. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.960, 198.73; 5. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.894, 201.01 vs. 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.934, 199.49; 6. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.895, 200.53 vs. 11. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.930, 199.52; 7. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.899, 199.52 vs. 10. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.910, 199.14; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.908, 199.61 vs. 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.909, 200.00.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.169, 186.10 vs. 16. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 7.345, 180.52; 2. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 7.182, 187.96 vs. 15. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.332, 184.17; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.201, 185.49 vs. 14. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.331, 183.10; 4. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.218, 186.07 vs. 13. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.326, 183.64; 5. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.220, 185.77 vs. 12. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.324, 182.48; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.234, 184.55 vs. 11. Angie Smith, Victory, 7.299, 183.52; 7. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.244, 184.25 vs. 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.287, 182.95; 8. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.266, 184.90 vs. 9. Matt Smith, Victory, 7.283, 183.27. Did Not Qualify: 17. Mike Berry, 7.354, 180.40; 18. Katie Sullivan, 7.394, 182.67; 19. Melissa Surber, 7.439, 180.79; 20. Anthony Vanetti, 7.448, 178.52; 21. Lance Bonham, 7.608, 176.49.
NHRA makes changes to Pro Stock class
Torrence, Beckman, Morgan and Krawiec race to winner’s circle at Denver