Mopar, Pritchett Return to Top Fuel; Enders No. 1 in Dodge Dart on First Day of Mopar Mile-High Nationals
Morrison, CO – Mopar fans came out in full force to cheer on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour on the first day of the 37th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, and they were treated to quite a show as newly christened Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Leah Pritchett debuted the brand new Mopar/Pennzoil® Top Fuel Dragster. In the Pro Stock category, another Mopar driver was blazing a trail as Erica Enders showed renewed vigor and led the field on the first day of her sponsor’s premier NHRA event.
Pritchett’s first race behind the wheel of the HEMI®-powered nitro dragster marked a return for Mopar to Top Fuel for the first time in 17 years; the last time Mopar fielded a Top Fuel car was 1999 with Mike Dunn behind the wheel.
DENVER – She’s back! Two-time champion Erica Enders returned to the top of the Pro Stock charts, grabbing the provisional No. 1 spot for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on Friday at Bandimere Speedway.
Enders dominated the class the past two seasons, winning 15 races and the championship in 2014 and 2015, but a change in rules and a switch to Mopar precipitated a small step back this season as her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge team worked to develop a new Dodge Dart and new fuel-injected engines.
“What better race to have a turnaround weekend than at our sponsor’s event, the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals,” Enders said. “It might come as a shock to a lot of people because we’ve been running toward the back of the pack all year, but it just goes to show that hard work and determination pay off.
DENVER, CO – Courtney Force set the elapsed time track record in the second qualifying session tonight at Bandimere Speedway, the first event on the historic NHRA Western Swing. Her 3.917 second pass at 318.39 mph was low of the session, low of the day and at the time only the second ever three-second run at the Mile High Nationals.
“We were definitely hoping to run in the 3.0s after we saw my dad (John Force) lay down a 3.95 in Q1. It was definitely worth the wait, I’ll say that,” said Force who was abruptly shut off on the starting line at the beginning of Q1 due to a storm overhead and rain beginning to fall on the race track.
“Obviously the conditions are excellent out here, but it’s a totally different set up this weekend so I wasn’t sure what to expect being at high altitude in the thin air. Everything changes; the crew chiefs, the car, the motor, everything.”
Mountain rains on DSR parade at Mopar Mile-High Nationals as Langdon leads team in Top Fuel, Johnson best in Funny Car
DENVER – A rainbow appeared near Bandimere Speedway after a two-hour delay for an evening for thunderstorm, but it didn’t lead to a pot of gold for Don Schumacher Racing on the opening day of the 37th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals near Denver.
After dominating the Funny Car category by winning the last seven NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events and six of the last seven No. 1 qualifying spots, only Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T made it into the top-eight with a best run of 4.136 seconds at 291.63 mph after two of four qualifying sessions.
Friday’s rain-delayed opening two rounds of qualifying for this weekend’s 37th annual Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in the Denver suburb of Morrison, Colorado showed the U.S. Army duo of Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown fifth and ninth, respectively, on the Top Fuel timesheets.
Schumacher, the eight-time Top Fuel world champion and two-time Mile-High Nationals winner in his U.S. Army Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), closed the night with a stout run of 3.836 seconds at 313.07 mph. The Sarge did not get down the track cleanly on his first effort of the day after a two-hour rain delay, crossing the finish line in 8.572 seconds at 70.27 mph.
Brown, the two-time and defending Top Fuel world champion in the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Dragster for DSR, got down the track in 3.911 seconds at 281.30 mph in tonight’s second session. He, too, struggled to get down the track in the opening round, crossing the finish line in 7.599 seconds at 90.89 mph.
LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Dragway hosted Pack the Track on Friday for their Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing program. A great crowd of fans took advantage of discounted general admission on a warm and steamy late July evening.
The Top 8 class final came down to a battle between dragster vs. doorslammer. The rear engine dragster of Joe Masullo of Buffalo, N.Y. came out on top over Tony Madonia after Madonia slowed up on his final pass of the night. Jeff Sobczysnki of West Seneca, N.Y. was victorious in Mallare Enterprises Top ET. Sobczysnki chased down Bill Balser, Jr. to get the win.
ST. LOUIS – The Premier Street Car Association heads back to Gateway Motorsports Park Aug. 25-27 under the lights for the Anarchy at the Arch III Street Car Super Nationals. When it returns to the site of some of world’s biggest drag racing records and payouts, the Outlaw 8.5 class will be some of the fastest and quickest cars on the property as well as providing a $4,000 payday thanks to a partnership with Jordan Grunwald’s MX235 group.
When racers arrive at Gateway, they can choose to race under either the Outlaw 8.5 rules or MX235 rules and run for SCSN cash and MX235 points. “We pride ourselves on being extremely flexible with our racers,” said Mel Roth, PSCA president. “When they come to one of our events, we want to give them the best chance to be competitive and this is another great way for them to get the highly sought after SCSN cash & publicity.