DSR Denver Qualifying Report

Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals

Event 14 of 24 (Denver)
Bandimere Speedway
Morrison, Colorado
July 20-22, 2018

DSR Denver Qualifying Highlights:

  • Leah Pritchett qualified No. 1 for the second consecutive event 
  • Pritchett nabbed the Top Fuel pole for the second consecutive year at Bandimere Speedway
  • Pritchett earned 11 out of a possible 12 bonus points 
  • Pritchett reset the Bandimere Speedway speed record (327.19-mph) 
  • All DSR dragsters qualified in the top half of the field 
  • Jack Beckman, Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. qualified in the Funny Car quick half of the ladder
  • Beckman and Capps earn bonus points for solid qualifying runs 
Pritchett Continued her Denver Dominance, Locking In the No. 1 Spot
Pritchett claimed her second consecutive Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals No. 1 qualifier; her third of the season

MORRISON, Colorado (July 21, 2018) – Leah Pritchett dominated throughout qualifying at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, securing her second consecutive Bandimere Speedway No. 1 qualifier, second consecutive pole of 2018 and 10th of her career. The Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel dragster was arguably the most competitive car on the property on Friday and Saturday, with Pritchett running the best pass of each round in three out of four qualifying sessions, and the second-best pass in Q1.
Pritchett closed out Friday evening sitting in the top spot with her 3.806-second at 317.19-mph pass from Q2. Right out of the gate on Saturday, the Todd Okuhara/Joe Barlam-led team threw down a stout 3.813-second at 319.90-mph run. Pritchett, who entered the event with the track E.T. record (3.733-seconds) after securing the No. 1 spot in 2017, added the track speed record to her impressive list of accomplishments when she blasted to a 3.799-second at 327.19-mph lap in Q4, which held up to be low E.T. of the weekend.
Pritchett’s reign of dominance during qualifying at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals yielded 11 out of a possible 12 bonus points and the advantage of lane choice over round one opponent Terry Totten.
“We were definitely putting the coals to it for sure, licking our chops. We’re on the mountain, it’s our sponsor’s race, we’re giving it every single thing we’ve got. Just like when we went No. 1 in Epping, that last run was pretty interesting, and Q4 right here was real interesting,” said Pritchett, referring to her No. 1 qualifier from the previous event in Epping, N.H.
“We got a new front-half on our dragster after Epping, that’s typical after a certain number of runs, and I’m sure glad we did. At about halftrack I wasn’t sure if the front wheels were on the ground, that thing was just dancing and dancing, but I knew that we were cooking and getting it. The scoreboards are so far from the finish line at this track that you can pull the chutes, lift off the throttle and look right up at them. When I saw that 79, there’s very few times that you get to feel what your crew gets to feel when they see a number like that light up. It’s incredible, this game has been all about fuel curve for us and Todd and Joe have been patient with it and stepping up to it in the right ways.”
The 2017 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Top Fuel runner-up is confident her team’s qualifying success will translate into a long and victorious race day, ending with the Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel dragster in the winner’s circle.
“We’ve mastered qualifying, but tomorrow is an absolute brand-new day. None of us have run during the day this weekend so we’re taking this data and we’re going to go right back to an entire year ago and take that data too. I couldn’t be more incredibly proud of my team. They’ve worked very hard to get us back where we were at, and the momentum that we had and we’re looking forward to rolling up this mountain.”

Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 16 Terry Totten

The Results:
Q1: 3.970 E.T. at 310.34 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.806 E.T. at 317.19 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.813 E.T. at 319.90 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.799 E.T. at 327.19 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session) 

Bonus Points: 11

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 8 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 9 Scott Palmer 

The Results: 
Q1: 4.178 E.T. at 230.33 MPH
Q2: 4.081 E.T. at 248.07 MPH
Q3: 3.887 E.T. at 316.82 MPH
Q4: 3.856 E.T. at 318.47 MPH

“I can tell you one thing, that our Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota/Pennzoil team, we’ve just been making strides. We came here with a completely new engine combination we’ve been running since Norwalk. It took us some runs to where we could get it to not drop holes, like we did yesterday. It’s a credit to our team where, as you can see, we’re just getting better and better every lap. And, we made a big, wholesale change between Q3 and Q4 because we wanted to move up, but it only got us halfway where we wanted to be. We wanted to run an 80 flat, a 79. But we know where we’re at, we made a good jump, and tomorrow the conditions are going to fall right where need them to be. I think an 85 is a run we’ll be able to make tomorrow in the heat of the day and be really competitive all day long. So we’re feeling really confident going into race day tomorrow. We’ll go out there and do what we do and have fun doing it. We’re ready to do some work tomorrow.”

Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 Doug Kalitta

The Results:
Q1: 4.980 E.T. at 152.04 MPH
Q2: 4.036 E.T. at 299.40 MPH
Q3: 3.870 E.T. at 324.59 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.834 E.T. at 325.37 MPH

Bonus Points: One

“It’s a great first-round matchup (versus Doug Kalitta). Those are the rise-to-the-occasion moments that are always good. Makes it good for the fans, makes it good for the teams, gets everybody pumped up. We don’t look for how we can just slide it down the racetrack, we look for how we can win the race right from the first push of the pedal. We’ll race the track, it doesn’t matter who’s in the other lane, but we’ll have to push it more than we would, normally. Now, after running four qualifying sessions at night, we have to adapt to racing in the heat of the day starting at 11 o’clock tomorrow. We did that at Bristol and we won the event with good notes to go off of. It’s going to be hot and slippery, and we know how to slide the car down the track. All I can say is, we’re going to show up for the game.”

Funny Car:

Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 15 Todd Simpson

The Results:
Q1: 4.262 E.T. at 294.56 MPH
Q2: 4.217 E.T. at 255.19 MPH
Q3: 4.049 E.T. at 316.67 MPH
Q4: 3.973 E.T. at 303.09 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Two

"I had to shut it off really early. The Infinite Hero Dodge was skating around from halftrack on and it was going to go over the centerline and I was going to be the guy steering it over there if I didn't click it off. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. We've improved every single run. We have a hot Mopar at the Dodge Mile High Nationals. Can't wait for Sunday."

Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 J.R. Todd

The Results: 
Q1: 4.007 E.T. at 320.81 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.622 E.T. at 182.33 MPH
Q3: 4.024 E.T. at 316.30 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q4: 4.008 E.T. at 316.15 MPH

Bonus Points: Three

"Well, I mean, consistency, we wanted a three-second run. But (crew chief Rahn) Tobler, you know him, he's big picture guy, and consistency is great in qualifying, especially when you see the adverse conditions we've been in. But tomorrow, let me tell you, race day Sunday here is going to be like nothing anybody has seen this weekend. We're going to start mid-day and temperatures are going to be hotter than it's been on any of our runs. That's when you want a guy with the NAPA Know How I brag about with Rahn Tobler. I brag about being able to go out and run in conditions that really equal Wallys. That's the heat we're going to see on Sunday, like we haven't seen. I feel great. Would have been nice to get a three-second run but I'll take a Wally on Sunday and a yellow hat over a three-second run."

Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 12

The Competition: No. 5 John Force

The Results: 
Q1: 4.933 E.T. at 161.48 MPH
Q2: 7.104 E.T. at 94.80 MPH
Q3: 5.789 E.T. at 123.17 MPH
Q4: 4.093 E.T. at 310.55 MPH

"It was good to get solidly in the field. We've been struggling all weekend up here with the altitude. We just don't have the tune-up for it but Q4 gives us something good to work off of for tomorrow. Obviously, conditions and temperatures will be a little different, so we've just got to go racing, man. I think that we know how to race and we race smart. We'll get a game plan together tonight and make things happen for our Mopar Funny Car powered by Pennzoil."

Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T 
Qualified: No. 6 (lane choice) 

The Competition: No. 11 Bob Tasca III

The Results:
Q1: 4.079 E.T. at 294.50 MPH
Q2: 4.031 E.T. at 305.29 MPH
Q3: 8.870 E.T. at 81.72 MPH
Q4: 4.003 E.T. at 312.42 MPH

"Q4 should have been our Q3 run. We had a mechanical issue in Q3 and had a cylinder out and I shut it off. But, I'm really confident in our car. We've improved almost every run throughout the problems. We went quicker every run with the exception of Q3 and the guys got a really good handle on it. Going into tomorrow I'm pretty confident. We’ve got a really good consistent car and we’re right in the hunt.”

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