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Cruz Pedregon Speeds To P1 In Colorado

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 20 2013

Cruz Pedregon on top in the mountains. (File photo courtesy of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series)

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Veteran Funny Car driver and two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon raced to the qualifying lead Friday at the 34th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at scenic Bandimere Speedway.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Adam Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Morrison, Colo., the 14th of 24 in the 2013 season.

Pedregon made the quickest run in the class and shattered his own track record for 1,000-feet during Friday’s second qualifying session with a performance of 4.073-seconds at 307.37 mph in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry. If the effort holds through Saturday’s two qualifying sessions (1:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.), it would be Pedregon’s third No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 53rd of his career. Sunday’s eliminations start at 11 a.m.

After a three straight first-round losses coming into the weekend, Pedregon _ who fell to third in points during his recent slump _ was pleased with the turnaround on Thunder Mountain.

“I consider it an honor to come back here and break that (track record from two years ago). This track is awesome,” said Pedregon, a two-time winner in 2013. “It was still daylight when we ran; I was waiting for it to cool off a bit but conditions were great. I knew someone was going to run quicker than my 4.09 and I’m just glad it was us that did it. I’m actually surprised that more cars didn’t run quicker.”

Reigning world champion and Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals event-winner Jack Beckman was second in his Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger with a 4.097-second pass at 309.91 mph, setting the Bandimere Speedway track speed record. Tim Wilkerson was third in his Levi Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang with a 4.114-second pass at 302.21 mph.

Kalitta wheeled his Mac Tools dragster to a leading performance of 3.889-seconds at 310.13 mph during the second of two qualifying sessions. If his 1,000-foot time holds, it would be his sixth No. 1 of the season and 37th of his career. Kalitta, who is seeking his first win of 2013, would also claim the No. 1 spot for the second straight race and third time in the past four events.

“We’re trying hard and love running here at Bandimere,” Kalitta said. “We just hope it holds through tomorrow and we stay No. 1. We gave it all we have and we’re real happy it stuck.”

Khalid alBalooshi was second in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster with a 3.924-second pass at 313.95 mph and rookie Brittany Force made a big jump to third in her Castrol Edge dragster, posting a 3.926-second pass at 309.56 mph.

In Pro Stock, reigning world champion Johnson made a stunning run during the second qualifying session, posting a leading quarter-mile performance of 6.949-seconds at 198.23 mph in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger. If it holds, it would be the second No. 1 qualifier this season and 30th of his career. Another No. 1 qualifier in Denver would give Johnson his fourth straight pole at the track and fifth in his standout career.

“In the first run, we didn’t get all the grip we wanted to but the sun went down and we did better,” said Johnson, who has won four times on Thunder Mountain. “We’re very happy the way things are going and we hope we can keep the Mopar out front tomorrow.”

Colorado native V. Gaines was second in his Kendall Oil Dodge Avenger with a 6.970-second pass at 197.25 mph and Shane Gray was third in his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro with a 6.971-second pass at 197.02 mph.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, rookie Adam Arana made the quickest run of the first session on his ProtectTheHarvest.com/MAVTV Buell with a 7.267-second quarter-mile pass at 182.62 mph. If the run holds through Saturday’s two sessions, it would give the PSM newcomer his first career No. 1 qualifier.

“We made an awesome hit,” Arana said. “I nailed all the shift points and the bike ran perfectly straight. I actually thought we’d be better in the second session but the bike didn’t shift into sixth gear.”

Denver resident Mike Berry took the second spot with a 7.281-second pass at 181.89 mph aboard his MB Precision/LAT Oil Suzuki followed by Michael Ray at 7.289-seconds at 180.48 mph.

Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 34th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, 14th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel _ 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.889-seconds, 310.13 mph; 2. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.924, 313.95; 3.Brittany Force, 3.926, 309.56; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.935, 315.12; 5. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 3.949, 307.79; 6. Clay Millican, 3.975, 308.57; 7. Spencer Massey, 4.002, 307.51; 8. David Grubnic, 4.052, 288.89; 9. Terry McMillen, 4.077, 245.81; 10. Brandon Bernstein, 4.108, 251.49; 11. Mike Strasburg, 4.189, 275.90; 12. Steve Torrence, 4.376, 188.96.

Not Qualified _ 13. Tony Schumacher, 4.565, 176.53; 14. Morgan Lucas, 4.600, 174.71; 15. Antron Brown, 4.657, 233.72; 16. Steven Chrisman, 4.657, 189.42; 17. Scott Palmer, 4.952, 150.85.

Funny Car _ 1. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.073, 307.37; 2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.097, 309.91; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.114, 302.21; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.122, 307.02; 5. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.124, 299.86; 6. John Force, Mustang, 4.140, 307.09; 7. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.144, 306.95; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.152, 300.33; 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.158, 309.63; 10. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.168, 304.74; 11. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.171, 304.74; 12. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.171, 299.93.

Not Qualified _ 13. Courtney Force, 4.192, 307.93; 14. Jeff Arend, 4.213, 292.52; 15. Terry Haddock, 4.602, 265.69; 16. Jeff Diehl, 5.146, 228.92; 17. Todd Simpson, 5.294, 151.14.

Pro Stock _ 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.949, 198.23; 2. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.970, 197.25; 3. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.971, 197.02; 4. Rickie Jones, Camaro, 6.976, 197.36; 5. Deric Kramer, Avenger, 6.982, 195.62; 6. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.983, 196.36; 7. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.986, 196.70; 8. Mike Edwards, Camaro, 6.995, 197.51; 9. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Avenger, 6.997, 196.42; 10.Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 7.000, 196.56; 11. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 7.005, 196.87; 12. Steve Kent, Camaro, 7.037, 195.96.

Not Qualified _ 13. Larry Morgan, 7.061, 194.58; 14. Matt Hartford, 7.082, 195.56; 15. Steve Kalkowski, 7.255, 188.07.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Adam Arana, Buell, 7.267, 182.62; 2. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.281, 181.89; 3. Michael Ray, Buell, 7.289, 180.48; 4. Matt Smith, Buell, 7.298, 182.82; 5. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.301, 181.79; 6. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.313, 181.15; 7. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.315, 182.62; 8. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.316, 181.84; 9. John Hall, Buell, 7.317, 180.60; 10.Angie Smith, Buell, 7.321, 181.06; 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.327, 179.73; 12. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.335, 179.09.

Not Qualified _ 13. Hector Arana Jr., 7.340, 180.98; 14. Jim Underdahl, 7.370, 180.52; 15. Jerry Savoie, 7.411, 179.71; 16. James Surber, 7.416, 178.45; 17. Katie Sullivan, 7.442, 177.67; 18. Freddie Camarena, 7.536, 177.30; 19. LE Tonglet, 7.539, 177.88.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 20 2013
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