John Force (Funny Car), Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the No. 1 qualifiers at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. Eliminations get underway Sunday at 11 a.m. MT.
Force captured his 154th career No. 1 with a track record of 4.015 seconds at 318.09 mph; he’ll face John Hale in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.
“When you run good, you stay at the end of the qualifying line and you get better conditions,” said Force. “We didn’t know what we would run but we said, ‘This is not the conditions we’ll run tomorrow, but let’s see what we can do.’ I’m starting to build my brain trust again and I’m pretty excited about it. It’ll build your confidence but if you get jacked up around that tomorrow, you could get picked off by anybody.”
Tim Wilkerson qualified No. 2 (4.026 seconds/317.27 mph), followed by Jack Beckman in the No. 3 spot (4.035 seconds/313.73 mph). Tommy Johnson Jr. qualified fourth followed by defending event winner Robert Hight in fifth.
Dixon made a track record 3.791-second run at 326.63 mph to take his first Top Fuel No. 1 since 2011 and 52nd of his career. Dixon faces Scott Palmer in the first round.
“It was good information for us so we know how to better adjust the car for tomorrow’s conditions,” said Dixon. “Hopefully we can have some full pulls tomorrow. Bob Vandergriff has given us a great car with great equipment and great people to work on it. That’s really what it takes to win a race, qualify or contend for a championship. This was my crew chief, Mike Guger’s first No. 1 qualifier as a crew chief, so I’m really happy for him to be a part of it.”
Tony Schumacher qualified second (3.796 seconds/325.37 mph), while Brittany Force qualified third (3.802 seconds/326.95 mph). Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta qualified fourth and fifth, respectively.
Johnson picked his 37th career No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock and first of 2015 with a track record 6.877-seconds run at 200.29 mph; he has a first round bye on Sunday.
“We were really gearing up for raceday tomorrow all day,” said Johnson. “The first run we made a decent run and were lowest of the round by a little bit. Competition is getting tougher, getting closer and it’s going to be knockdown drag out tomorrow. Coming in here and running like we’ve run is what we set out to do.”
Larry Morgan qualified second (6.878 seconds/200.20 mph), while Erica Enders earned the No. 3 seed (6.882 seconds/200.65 mph). Jonathan Gray qualified fourth followed by his brother Shane Gray in fifth.
Krawiec earned his first PSM No. 1 qualifier of 2015 with a track record 7.169-second run at 186.10 mph; he’ll face Chaz Kennedy in the first round.
“It was obviously more of a tuning session for us,” said Krawiec. “I didn’t think someone was going to the No. 1 spot and we weren’t really concerned with the No. 1 spot. We were concerned with the race-day tune-up. That’s what we’ve struggled with. We saw a direction in which we want to go tomorrow so I’m pretty confident. I’ve got a great motorcycle. As long as it can get me four very fast, consistent laps, I’ m good with that.”
Hector Arana Jr. qualified second (7.182 seconds/187.55 mph) , followed by defending event winner Andrew Hines in third (7.201 seconds/184.47 mph). Hector Arana and Jim Underdahl qualified fourth and fifth, respectively.
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Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.