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Schumacher, Force, Line, Arana Jr. lead final Denver fields
Saturday, July 19, 2014


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Tony Schumacher raced to his first No. 1 qualifying position of the year and his career first in his storied career at Bandimere Speedway during qualifying for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.

John Force (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock), and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will lead their categories when eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m. for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Denver.

In his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, Schumacher earned the No. 1 qualifying position on Friday with a pass of 3.823 seconds at 319.75 mph. No driver was able to best the effort, and Schumacher retained the No. 1 qualifying position, which is the 73rd in his career. He will face Jenna Haddock in round one, who makes her career first Top Fuel start on Sunday.

Tony Schumacher
John Force

"We went down the track four times; we made it to the finish line four times,” said Schumacher. “Two runs were better than the other two, but we are still getting there, and a lot of people are struggling. The key is to take the horsepower we have, and this is a hard place to make horsepower, and we have some good power and slide it on down through there.”

Points leader Doug Kalitta qualified his Mac Tools dragster in the bottom half of the field in 11th, which is the first time the team qualified lower than eighth this season. Kalitta will face Antron Brown, who qualified sixth in the first round on Sunday. Steve Torrence qualified in the No. 2 position in his Capco Contractors dragster with a run of 3.831 at 322.96. This is his best qualifying position in seven races and will face Steve Chrisman in the first round on Sunday.

Force, the most recent Funny Car event winner, captured his third No.1 qualifying position of the year and his first since the Phoenix event with a run of 4.049 at 318.93. Force has six career wins at Bandimere Speedway, which leads the category. He will pilot his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang against Jeff Diehl in the first round of eliminations.

“I got a great race car, and I’ve got more energy and more fire,” Force said. “We came out and won the opening race after winning the championship, and we thought it was going to be a cakewalk, but then we got totally lost for a half of a year. Now working with Mike Neff, John Medlen, the whole brain trust, Jimmy (Prock) has found his way. He is back to where he was.”  

Robert Hight, teammate to Force, secured the second seed with his run of 4.055 at 313.15 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang and will face Todd Simpson on Sunday. Cruz Pedregon, the 2013 event winner, qualified fourth in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry and will race Terry Haddock in the first round.  

Jason Line
Hector Arana Jr.

Line, in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro, powered to the No. 1 qualifying position during the final qualifying session on Saturday, with a run of 6.924 at 198.70. It is his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and his second at Bandimere Speedway. He will face Steve Kalkowski in the first round of eliminations.

“I can’t tell you how hard everybody has been working at the shop,” said Line. “It’s been a tough grind, but we are tired of running bad and tired of losing. At some point, you get kicked enough and you get up and do something about it. We are definitely at that point. I didn’t think we could be No. 1, but I knew that we would be good.”

Points leader Erica Enders-Stevens drove her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro to the No. 3 starting spot with a 6.934 at 198.61 and will face Larry Morgan when eliminations begin. Allen Johnson has five career wins at the facility and qualified second with a run of 6.928 at 198.90. He will battle Tommy Lee.

Arana Jr. will lead the Pro Stock Motorcycle field into eliminations on Sunday as the No. 1 qualifier with his run of 7.178 at 186.72, which are both Bandimere Speedway track records. It is his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the fourth consecutive No. 1 qualifying for the Arana family at the facility. Hector Arana Sr. took the top spot in 2011, Arana Jr. was the top of the field in 2012, and Adam raced to No. 1 in 2013. Arana Jr. will face Charlie Sullivan in the first round.

“We put in the tune-up we had from last year, the motor is different, but we put in the same tune-up,” Arana Jr. stated. “The motor is running really strong, so the combination all came together. We have a good setup for this mountain, and all I can say is I didn’t expect to run that good.”

Eddie Krawiec, who leads the points in the category, qualified third and will face John Hall on Sunday.

Related story
Friday: Schumacher, Force, Johnson, Arana Jr. lead Denver fields
 

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