TROXEL, HIGHT, JOHNSON AND SMITH PACE FIELD IN
|TROXEL, HIGHT, JOHNSON AND
SMITH PACE FIELD IN DENVER
DENVER - Denver's own Melanie Troxel picked the perfect race to lead the
Top Fuel qualifying field, racing to the top of the 28th annual Mopar
Mile-High NHRA Nationals Friday night with a 4.610 at 322.42 mph.
Troxel, who hails from the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo., used the
last pass of the day to set her mark, joining Funny Car's Robert Hight,
Pro Stock's Allen Johnson, and Pro Stock Motorcycle's Matt Smith on
Bandimere Speedway's provisional low qualifier podium.
The last four cars in Top Fuel had to wait out a 10-minute rain delay
and perhaps that gave Troxel and crew chiefs John Stewart and Lance
Larsen just enough time to fine-tune their set-up. The waiting was well
worth it as Troxel's Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA dragster managed to nudge
into the No. 1 slot by five-thousandths of a second.
"I can't think of a better place to do this then my home track and I
hope this turns our whole program around," said Troxel, who is racing in
just the third event with her new crew chief duo. "You've got to get
that chemistry going with the team. We're basically starting over with a
new team and a new car. We've done well as far as not DNQing or making
any big mistakes but we haven't yet seen the performance we all know is
"Mom's here running interference for me with all the family members
needing tickets and all that. Everyone, with the exception of one uncle,
lives right around here so it's a lot of fun to do well at this race. I
was born here and lived her for 30-something years before I moved to
Indy so this will always be a special place for me."
Rod Fuller had the lead until the last pairing with his earlier 4.615 at
319.75 mph in the Wagner CAT dragster. His second run appeared to be
even better, at least incrementally, but around half-track he started
hiking his front tires in the air and was forced to shut his car off to
avoid a blowover.
The John Force Racing organization continues to gain strength as team
driver Hight followed John Force's Bristol win from last Sunday with a
top qualifying effort here. Hight led both Friday sessions in his Auto
Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, opening with a 4.962 at 297.81
mph before dipping to a 4.862 at 314.02 mph in the evening.
"The team's on a roll," Hight said. "You know, I like it when we have
all these races in a row. I'm still pretty new to this driving deal so
when you race every weekend you kind of stay in that race mode. If I
have any time off I feel like I get rusty."
Mike Ashley was next in his Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger, clicking off
a 4.889 at 311.34 mph. Del Worsham followed with a 4.897 at 318.09 mph
in his Checker, Schuck's, Kragen Chevrolet Impala SS.
Force was fifth with a best of 4.929, while his daughter Ashley ended up
14th with a 5.187 in her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.
Tony Bartone had a wild ride after completing his 5.058-second,
290.94-mph second-round pass. Despite bending the handles almost
completely off, Bartone couldn't get his parachutes to deploy and his
Lucas Oil Monte Carlo slid sideways at the top end but still slid into
the sandpit. The car rolled over once before coming to rest on its'
side. Bartone was uninjured.
"I've never had a ride like that," said Bartone. "I had a guy run into
me one time in Alcohol Funny Car but this one was the worse. I was
sitting in there feeling pretty discombobulated for a minute. We'll exam
the chassis and do all we can to continue racing."
It seems fitting that Mopar Racing teammates Allen Johnson and Richie
Stevens have their Dodge Stratus R/T's first and second on the Pro Stock
qualifying grid at their title sponsor's main event. Johnson used a
track-record elapsed time of 7.032 at 195.73 mph to gain his early lead,
with Stevens following close behind with a 7.035.
"Life couldn't be any better," Johnson said. "Mark [Ingersoll, crew
chief] made the perfect call on mine and Richie's cars and they just ran
great. We tested here before Chicago and ran well then so this isn't a
POWERade points leader Smith continues to impress in Pro Stock
Motorcycle, knocking Round 1 leader Geno Scali off the provisional pole
with a 7.376 at 178.57 mph in the evening session. Smith and his Torco
Buell have earned low qualifier honors three times this year, including
the last stop for the bikes in Norwalk, Ohio.
"This is my first time on the mountain tuning the bike myself," Smith
said. "Before, I've always been riding for someone else. It's weird; no
one would give me a tune-up. I asked around but no hints. The first run
was a roll of the dice and I slipped the clutch quite a bit. I tightened
that up for the second round and we made a nice run."
Scali and his Performance Machine Suzuki recorded the only other
7.3-second pass of the day, as he was clocked at 7.397 at 181.15 mph in
the opening round. Harley teammates Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines
followed on their Screamin' Eagle V-Rods in third and fourth, Krawiec
with a 7.411, Hines with a 7.412.
MORRISON, Colo. -- Results Friday after qualifying for the 28th annual
Mopar Mile-High NHRA
Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, 13th of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade
Drag Racing Series.
Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Melanie Troxel, 4.610 seconds, 322.42 mph; 2. Rod Fuller,
4.615, 319.75; 3.
David Grubnic, 4.630, 327.82; 4. Tony Schumacher, 4.630, 322.96; 5. Doug
Kalitta, 4.650, 311.85; 6.
Larry Dixon, 4.670, 306.12; 7. Hillary Will, 4.687, 316.90; 8. Clay
Millican, 4.714, 294.31; 9.
J.R. Todd, 4.723, 292.90; 10. Brandon Bernstein, 4.728, 315.64; 11. Bob
Vandergriff, 4.741, 311.49;
12. Doug Herbert, 4.765, 291.01; 13. Whit Bazemore, 4.766, 307.86; 14.
Morgan Lucas, 4.849, 311.56;
15. Cory McClenathan, 4.863, 308.43; 16. Mike Strasburg, 4.886, 309.91.
Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.862, 314.02; 2. Mike
Ashley, Dodge Charger,
4.889, 311.34; 3. Del Worsham, Chevy Impala, 4.897, 318.09; 4. Jack
Beckman, Charger, 4.900,
313.37; 5. John Force, Mustang, 4.929, 316.08; 6. Gary Scelzi, Charger,
4.968, 298.60; 7. Jeff
Arend, Impala, 5.006, 298.87; 8. Gary Densham, Impala, 5.020, 267.48; 9.
Tony Bartone, Chevy Monte
Carlo, 5.058, 290.94; 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 5.059, 257.19; 11. Tony
Pedregon, Impala, 5.087,
302.55; 12. Tommy Johnson Jr., Impala, 5.135, 285.05; 13. Jim Head,
Toyota Solara, 5.165, 277.20;
14. Ashley Force, Mustang, 5.187, 282.30; 15. Cruz Pedregon, Impala,
5.189, 280.66; 16. Tim
Wilkerson, Impala, 5.290, 279.27.
Pro Stock -- 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Stratus, 7.032, 195.73; 2. Richie
7.035, 195.34; 3. Kenny Koretsky, Chevy Cobalt, 7.047, 195.03; 4. Kurt
Johnson, Cobalt, 7.053,
195.59; 5. Dave Connolly, Cobalt, 7.054, 195.28; 6. Jeg Coughlin,
Cobalt, 7.058, 195.59; 7. Ron
Krisher, Cobalt, 7.061, 194.74; 8. Justin Humphreys, Pontiac GTO, 7.068,
194.72; 9. Jason Line,
GTO, 7.076, 195.73; 10. Larry Morgan, Stratus, 7.081, 194.77; 11. Warren
Johnson, GTO, 7.091,
194.21; 12. Jim Yates, GTO, 7.093, 194.24; 13. Max Naylor, Stratus,
7.096, 194.52; 14. Greg
Anderson, GTO, 7.098, 194.91; 15. Erica Enders, Stratus, 7.110, 193.99;
16. Greg Stanfield, GTO,
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, Buell, 7.376, 180.24; 2. Geno
Scali, Suzuki, 7.397,
181.15; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.411, 182.28; 4. Andrew
Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.412,
179.76; 5. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.430, 179.42; 6. Steve Johnson,
Suzuki, 7.445, 176.35; 7. Matt
Guidera, Buell, 7.459, 176.35; 8. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.462, 180.04;
9. Antron Brown, Suzuki,
7.470, 180.62; 10. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.498, 175.32; 11. Chris Rivas,
Buell, 7.501, 177.35; 12.
Mike Berry, Suzuki, 7.520, 177.56; 13. Peggy Llewellyn, Buell, 7.520,
176.79; 14. Karen Stoffer,
Suzuki, 7.528, 178.26; 15. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.535, 178.07; 16.
Tom Bradford, Buell, 7.537,