TROXEL, HIGHT, JOHNSON, SMITH, HOLD ON TO NO.1
|TROXEL, HIGHT, JOHNSON,
SMITH, HOLD ON TO NO.1
SPOT AFTER RAIN DELAYED SATURDAY QUALIFYING AT DENVER
DENVER, Colo. -- Melanie Troxel, Robert Hight, Allen Johnson, and Matt
Smith -- remained in control of their respective categories as NHRA
racers got a bonus nighttime session of qualifying after weather delayed
Saturday's qualiflying session at the 28th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA
nationals at Denver's Bandimere Speedway.
Hight survived the most attacks as the Funny Car contingent collectively
shot for the moon -- his 4.862-second elapsed time was even equaled by
"Fast Jack" Beckman -- but he held on for his fifth pole of the year.
The Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes were done well before the
rain came and little changes occurred from top to bottom.
This was Hight's fifth low qualifying effort of the season, which leads
the Funny Car class. The driver of the Auto Club of Southern California
Ford Mustang has maintained second place in the points despite missing
the Houston race following the death of teammate Eric Medlen.
"I didn't think that 4.86 would stay in because with that long weather
delay we basically ended up with a bonus night session," Hight said. "I
saw Beckman run my exact E.T. and I thought for sure someone else would
"This mountain is the great equalizer, but I feel as though I have a
great team behind me, led by Jimmy Prock. We'll be ready to race and I
hope to go some rounds tomorrow."
Mike Ashley of Team Torco followed Hight and Beckman in third place with
Jerry Toliver started the final session on the bottom of the qualifying
sheet. By the end of the round he was all the way up to the No. 4 slot
with a 4.893 at 319.60 mph. Unfortunately, his Rockstar Toyota Solara
ended up on its' side in the top-end sand-trap after Toliver's 'chutes
came out late.
"We just took delivery of our back-up car today so we'll be ready to
race no matter what," said Toliver, who was unhurt in the accident.
After a wild final session where drivers were bumping in and out after
virtually every pair, Ashley Force, Cruz Pedregon, and Tim Wilkerson all
ended up outside the 16-car field. Wilkerson was top qualifier at the
last event in Bristol, where Pedregon raced to a runner-up finish.
Troxel is doing everything she can to erase the memory of five
first-round losses in a row, qualifying No. 1 in Top Fuel for the first
time this season in her Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA dragster. The
Littleton, Colo., native used her 4.610 at 322.42 mph from Friday night
to earn the podium.
"There's been some controversy about the No. 1 qualifier not winning on
race day but we're looking forward to taking our shot at changing that,"
Troxel said. "Growing up here, I couldn't think of a better place to
turn our season around. We have a win and a runner-up this year, but
aside from that we've only won one other round. You've got to be able to
get past that first round to be a contender. I feel very fortunate that
we've been able to hold on to that No. 8 spot in the Countdown to the
Dave Grubnic cranked his Zantrex-3 dragster up Saturday and almost took
the top spot from Troxel when he posted a 4.612 at 314.97 mph in the
final session. POWERade points leader "Hot Rod" Fuller slipped to third
with a 4.615 at 319.75 mph.
Team Mopar Pro Stock racer Johnson secured the third No. 1 qualifying
award of his 259-race career in the perfect place -- the Mopar Mile-High
NHRA Nationals -- with his Friday night pass of 7.032 at 195.73 mph in
his Dodge Stratus R/T.
"I was just talking to Dad [engine builder Roy Johnson] and he said this
is a dream come true for us and he's right," said Johnson, who ran a
7.049 and a 7.088 Saturday. "For him especially, with his heart problems
and all from earlier this year, he's still put in so much work to make
us faster. He was dead on the table in Phoenix and three days later he
was at the shop working."
The top of the ladder is all Mopar blue as Johnson's team driver Richie
Stevens has his identical racecar right behind his boss in the No. 2
position after a best of 7.035 at 195.05 mph.
Smith's fourth low qualifier of the year in Pro Stock Motorcycle,
courtesy of a Round 3 pass of 7.347 at 179.92 mph, means he's had the
quickest bike at half the races this season. Now the Torco Buell rider
and current POWERade points leader will try to improve on his 1-4
"We've got to start winning more races," Smith said. "We're winning lots
of rounds but we're just having weird things happen to us in the final
round. Today's a great example. We ran the 7.34 in the first session and
then broke a crank trigger in the second session and the bike just quit.
That could have easily happened in the first round of eliminations and
we would have been done."
MORRISON, Colo. -- First-round pairings for professional eliminations
Sunday for the 28th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere
Speedway, the 13th of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday.
Top Fuel -- 1. Melanie Troxel, 4.610 seconds, 322.42 mph vs. 16. Mike
Strasburg, 4.886, 309.91; 2. David Grubnic, 4.612, 327.82 vs. 15. Cory
McClenathan, 4.819, 308.43; 3. Rod Fuller, 4.615, 319.75 vs. 14. Morgan
Lucas, 4.797, 311.56; 4. J.R. Todd, 4.617, 312.57 vs. 13. Doug Herbert,
4.765, 300.33; 5. Tony Schumacher, 4.630, 322.96 vs. 12. Clay Millican,
4.714, 298.73; 6. Brandon Bernstein, 4.646, 318.84 vs. 11. Hillary Will,
4.681, 316.90; 7. Doug Kalitta, 4.650, 320.05 vs. 10. Larry Dixon,
4.670, 308.99; 8. Bob Vandergriff, 4.659, 311.49 vs. 9. Whit Bazemore,
Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.862, 314.02 vs. 16. Gary
Densham, Chevy Impala, 5.020, 289.63; 2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger,
4.862, 313.88 vs. 15. Tommy Johnson Jr., Impala, 5.013, 296.24; 3. Mike
Ashley, Charger, 4.889, 311.34 vs. 14. Tony Pedregon, Impala, 4.948,
308.28; 4. Jerry Toliver, Toyota Solara, 4.893, 319.60 vs. 13. Jim Head,
Solara, 4.946, 299.60; 5. Del Worsham, Impala, 4.893, 318.09 vs. 12. Ron
Capps, Charger, 4.934, 315.27; 6. John Force, Mustang, 4.895, 317.12 vs.
11. Gary Scelzi, Charger, 4.932, 311.99; 7. Kenny Bernstein, Charger,
4.916, 309.20 vs. 10. Jeff Arend, Impala, 4.925, 306.05; 8. Tony Bartone,
Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.922, 300.26 vs. 9. Scott Kalitta, Solara, 4.924,
Pro Stock -- 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Stratus, 7.032, 195.73 vs. 16. Greg
Stanfield, Pontiac GTO, 7.109, 193.63; 2. Richie Stevens, Stratus,
7.035, 195.34 vs. 15. Erica Enders, Stratus, 7.109, 194.27; 3. Kenny
Koretsky, Chevy Cobalt, 7.047, 195.03 vs. 14. Max Naylor, Stratus,
7.096, 194.52; 4. Kurt Johnson, Cobalt, 7.053, 195.59 vs. 13. Jim Yates,
GTO, 7.092, 194.27; 5. Dave Connolly, Cobalt, 7.054, 195.28 vs. 12.
Warren Johnson, GTO, 7.091, 194.21; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Cobalt, 7.058,
195.59 vs. 11. Larry Morgan, Stratus, 7.077, 195.00; 7. Ron Krisher,
Cobalt, 7.058, 194.74 vs. 10. Jason Line, GTO, 7.076, 195.73; 8. Justin
Humphreys, GTO, 7.068,
194.72 vs. 9. Greg Anderson, GTO, 7.075, 194.94.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, Buell, 7.347, 180.24 vs. 16. Mike
Berry, Suzuki, 7.487, 177.77; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.382,
180.55 vs. 15. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.482, 179.30; 3. Michael
Phillips, Suzuki, 7.393, 182.30 vs. 14. Antron Brown, Suzuki, 7.470,
180.62; 4. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.394, 179.04 vs. 13. Hector Arana, Buell,
7.450, 177.70; 5. Geno Scali, Suzuki, 7.397, 181.15 vs. 12. Steve
Johnson, Suzuki, 7.445, 177.67; 6. Matt Guidera, Buell, 7.402, 178.47
vs. 11. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.425, 182.01; 7. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki,
7.403, 179.42 vs. 10. Chris Rivas, Buell, 7.417, 178.35; 8. Eddie
Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.405, 182.28 vs. 9. Peggy Llewellyn, Buell,