Denver: Hillary Will preview

Points foremost on Hillary Will's agenda at Denver MORRISON, Colo. (July 11, 2007) -- Hillary Will has been inching her way toward a spot in the eight drivers that will continue into the second segment of the Countdown to the ...

Points foremost on Hillary Will's agenda at Denver

MORRISON, Colo. (July 11, 2007) -- Hillary Will has been inching her way toward a spot in the eight drivers that will continue into the second segment of the Countdown to the Championship once the first segment ends at Reading, Penn., in August.

At this weekend's 28th annual NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals Will, who drives the 8000-plus horsepower Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel dragster owned by KB Racing LLC, hopes to make a giant step toward the top eight in points.

Currently Will is within 47 points of eighth position in the first segment of the season-long Countdown to the Championship. A strong showing at Mopar Mile-High Nationals would continue to move Will and her crew up in the NHRA POWERade point standing to their goal of a top eight finish after the first 17 races that comprise the first segment, the Countdown to Eight.

"I'm looking forward to racing at the Mile High Nationals this weekend," said Will. "It's a tricky place to race because of the high altitude. However, I'm confident that my team will give me a winning race car this weekend. My crew chief, Jim Oberhofer, tuned (teammate) Scott Kalitta to a win there so he knows the track conditions and how to tune for the altitude."

The Denver event is the fourth of six races in a row and eight in nine weeks. Next it's on to Seattle and Sonoma, Calif., in the heart of Napa Valley wine country. The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series then takes a week off before heading for the final two races in the first segment of the Countdown to the Championship -- Brainerd, Minn., and Reading, Penn. (For a brief description of the Countdown to the Championship, see below.)

Will, who family has ties to Greeley, Colo., remembers her first trip to this legendary track carved out of a mountain side by the Bandimere Family.

"I remember in 2003, my family and I saved our money, pooled our resources, and made the trek from our home in California to Denver so I could race my Dad's 1971 Dodge Challenger in Super Gas at the Mopar Mile High Nationals," Will recalled. "We were racing a Dodge so we figured we needed to be at Mopar's premiere event. I was working as a financial analyst at the time and I had to beg my boss for the days off.

"My Grandpa drove our truck and trailer out there with my little brothers. My Dad and I flew to the race so we wouldn't miss too much work. It was a really special race for us because of the extra effort it took to be able to attend. We had never been to that race track and couldn't usually travel so far. We struggled because we weren't used to racing in such high altitudes. However we did get by the first round and besides a few thunderstorms, we had a really great time. Bandimere Speedway is a great facility. I know racers and fans really like it so I'm thankful I get to go back every year."

Will advanced to the quarterfinals last year in her first trip to Bandimere Speedway as a Top Fuel driver. A win this time out would go a long way to a achieving a spot in the top eight.

QUALIFYING: Nitro fuel cars begin qualifying for the 28th annual NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals on Friday, July 13, with two sessions at 5:30 and 8 p.m. (Funny Car is up first, followed by Top Fuel in both sessions). Qualifying for nitro fuel cars then concludes on Saturday, July 14, with two sessions at 2 and 5 p.m. (Top Fuel starts the sessions, followed by Funny Car). Note later start time for eliminations: Final eliminations for the Mopar Mile-High Nationals begin for all teams at 12 noon on Sunday, July 15. All qualifying and eliminations times are local Denver time (MT) and subject to change.

-credit: kbr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Hillary Will