Gruninger reaches final on 'The Mountain' MORRISON, Colo. - Up and coming NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Danny Gruninger made his first career final in front of his hometown friends and family during this past weekend's Division 5 Lucas Oil...
Gruninger reaches final on 'The Mountain'
MORRISON, Colo. - Up and coming NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Danny Gruninger made his first career final in front of his hometown friends and family during this past weekend's Division 5 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Bandimere Speedway just outside of Denver. In addition to making the final, the Gruninger Motorsports B/Altered Chevy Cavalier was awarded Best Engineered car of the event.
Gruninger, 20, who lives just miles from the track in Morrison, qualified his TRE Racing Engines powered B/Altered, which is nearly identical to Pro Stock, sixth in the field with a 7.570 second pass that put him .620 under his class index. In round one, he received a bye when his opponent Wade Oman could not make the call, then took out Joe Mozeris in round two with a 7.657 (-.533).
In his next two rounds, Gruninger had to rely on quick reactions to take holeshot wins. Gruninger's quarterfinal opponent would be the potent B/Altered Automatic of Lou Ficco, where Gruninger used a .016 to .056 starting line advantage to take the win by a mere .007 of a second with a 7.691 (-.469) to Ficco's quicker-but-later 7.658 (-.502). In the semifinals, Gruninger used a near-perfect .009 reaction time against Bill Kent's game .038 to hang on for another win with a 7.670 (-.490) to Kent's 7.526 (-.504) in his C/Dragster with the margin of victory only .015 of a second.
After living by the 'sword' in the two previous rounds, Gruninger pulled the trigger .049 of a second too quick, giving Clint Sallee's B/Dragster the automatic win.
"We're definitely pleased with the results," said Gruninger. "I guess I got a little too amped for the final. The car hooked a little harder and was four-hundredths better to 60 foot than it had been all weekend, so that didn't help the redlight. It was pretty cool to be able to go to the final here at our home track; we had a lot of people in the stands. We got in on a good spot in the ladder, and we're getting the car to make some pretty good runs, so we can't complain."
With a semifinal and runner-up finish on the divisional level thus far, Gruninger is eyeing a top five finish in Division 5.
"We're going to try to hit quite a few divisional races the rest of the year," stated Gruninger. "Our car tends to do better at the altitude races, so that's what we'll focus on. We would like to finish in the top five in Division 5, and make a good showing for our sponsors Visual Effects and T-Shirt Technologies."
The next event for the Gruninger Motorsports team will back at 'The Mountain,' Bandimere Speedway, for next month's Mopar Parts Mile-Hi Nationals, July 14-16.