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Force Drivers Forceful Indeed At Mile Highs

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 21 2018

Courtney Force took the provisional pole in Morrison, Colo. on Friday. (File photo)

Point-leader Courtney Force led a 1-2-3 sweep of provisional Funny Car qualifying for John Force Racing Friday after two rounds of time trials for the 39th annual Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, first of three consecutive races during the annual summertime Western Swing. 

Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also emerged as preliminary No. 1 qualifiers in the thin air of Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., during the 14th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Courtney Force _ who covered the 1,000-foot distance in 3.966-seconds at 322.73 mph during the second session _ is chasing her third consecutive pole at the facility outside Denver. Force was quickest in both sessions, improving upon her 3.995-second pass at 281.60 mph from Q1. She was the only Funny Car driver to run in the three-second range during the opening round.

“To come out here in Denver and kick off the Western Swing with two solid runs is a good feeling,” said Force. “To be honest, we didn’t get a full-pull in Q1. It started spinning the tires down there and I got out of it. It still managed to run a 3.99, which I think was very impressive. I was looking forward to go into Q2 because I knew we could improve on that time. We got that 3.96 and had a little explosion at the top end. It happened right in the lights and we were still able to get the ET we wanted.”

Friday’s consistency earned Force, who owns both ends of the track record, six bonus points to add to the 155-point advantage she enjoyed entering the event and the famed Western Swing _consecutive races in the Denver, Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle markets. 

Two-time/reigning Funny Car world champion Robert Hight currently is No. 2 after a pass in 3.986-seconds and 321.58 mph in his Camaro while 16-time world champ and team-owner John Force is No. 3 at 4.007-seconds and 322.27 mph.

In Top Fuel, Pritchett drove to the provisional pole with a 1,000-foot run of 3.806-seconds at 317.19 mph during the final session in her dragster. Pritchett has two No. 1 qualifying efforts this season, with her most recent recorded at the previous event at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H. 

“We were able to run late in the night and the crew made last-minute changes and that’s what we saw on the track,” said Pritchett, of Don Schumacher Racing. “They went for it. That’s what this team is about and what I love about (crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara  and Joe Barlam _ when it’s time they can put it down and aren’t afraid. That’s the vibe of our team.” 

Point-leader Steve Torrence sits second after a pass in 3.813-seconds at 325.45 mph. 

Anderson leads Pro Stock with his quarter-mile pass of 6.933-seconds at 197.19 mph during the first session. The four-time world champion is chasing his ninth pole of the season and 102nd of his career.

“It’s the best I’ve run here on a Friday in 15 years,” said Anderson, driver of the Chevrolet Camaro SS fielded by Ken Black Racing. “Every year we come here and you start off behind the eight-ball and it takes until Sunday to get a tune-up that’s close. Then you have to find a way to win rounds on Sunday. We’re way ahead of the schedule this weekend of what we normally do here and that’s a great feeling.”

Deric Kramer, winner of the national event at Heartland Park Topeka, sits second with a run of 6.993-seconds and 197.19 mph in his Camaro while point-leader/two-time world champ Erica Enders is sixth at 6.950-seconds and 196.96 mph in her Camaro. 

Krawiec sits atop the Pro Stock Motorcycle category with his track-record quarter-mile elapsed time of 7.132-seconds at 186.56 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod. Krawiec is the current point-leader with three wins but has yet to record a pole this season. 

“It was a good, clean run,” said Krawiec, a four-time world champion. “There was a hundredth or two (of a second) left in it on that run because I was fighting down the track; this place is very sensitive to changes.”

Harley teammate and five-time world champ Andrew Hines is second at 7.146-seconds and 188.04 mph while Hector Arana Jr. is third aboard his Buell at 7.155-seconds and  188.23 mph.

Qualifying action will be televised during “Saturday Nitro Live” from 7:30 to 10 p.m. (EDT) on FOX Sports 1. Three hours of Sunday’s finals will be aired live on the FOX Network beginning at 3 p.m. (EDT). 

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Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 39th annual Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., 14th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations:

Top Fuel _ 1. Leah Pritchett, 3.806-seconds, 317.19 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.813, 325.45; 3. Clay Millican, 3.814, 326.71; 4. Mike Salinas, 3.865, 272.12; 5. Scott Palmer, 3.907, 280.66; 6. Blake Alexander, 3.912, 300.60; 7. Brittany Force, 3.964, 254.42; 8. Tony Schumacher, 4.036, 299.40; 9. Antron Brown, 4.081, 248.07; 10. Greg Carrillo, 4.239, 287.47; 11. Jim Maroney, 4.295, 261.88; 12. Terry Totten, 4.449, 216.13; 13. Doug Kalitta, 4.706, 173.65; 14. Richie Crampton, 4.739, 167.09; 15. Terry McMillen, 9.166, 80.24.

Funny Car _ 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.966, 322.73; 2. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.986, 321.58; 3. John Force, Camaro, 4.007, 322.27; 4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.007, 320.81; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.031, 305.29; 6. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 4.048, 315.34; 7. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.083, 305.01; 8. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.140, 299.40; 9. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.197, 302.08; 10. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.217, 294.56; 11. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 4.287, 272.50; 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.457, 195.85; 13. Todd Simpson, Charger, 4.462, 270.81; 14. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 4.583, 240.38; 15. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.933, 161.48; 16. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.952, 161.27.

Not Qualified _ 17. Jim Campbell, 6.431, 88.11.

Pro Stock _ 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.933, 197.19; 2. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.935, 197.68; 3. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.937, 196.90; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.940, 198.12; 5. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.942, 197.57; 6. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.950, 196.96; 7. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.959, 196.62; 8. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.962, 197.16; 9. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.965, 196.96; 10. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.965, 196.85; 11. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.971, 196.93; 12. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.983, 196.82; 13. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.987, 196.99; 14. Will Hatcher, Dodge Dart, 7.167, 191.40; 15. Joey Grose, Camaro, 10.066, 94.07.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.132, 186.56; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.146, 188.04; 3. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 7.155, 188.23; 4. Matt Smith, Victory, 7.158, 185.54; 5. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.207, 185.77; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 7.220, 182.43; 7. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.230, 184.95; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.234, 185.61; 9. Angie Smith, Buell, 7.243, 181.69; 10. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 7.253, 185.46; 11. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.259, 183.05; 12. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.266, 182.45; 13. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.288, 182.45; 14. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 7.309, 183.57; 15. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.393, 178.92; 16. Cory Reed, Buell, 7.417, 182.23.

Not Qualified _17. Kelly Clontz, 7.555, 180.69.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 21 2018
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