MORRISON - Saturday Recap by Larry Sullivan MORRISON, Colo. - SUMMIT FastNews - Extremely hot conditions continued to try the competitors and fans during the final day of qualifying for the 20th annual NHRA Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals.
MORRISON - Saturday Recap
by Larry Sullivan MORRISON, Colo. - SUMMIT FastNews - Extremely hot conditions continued to try the competitors and fans during the final day of qualifying for the 20th annual NHRA Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals. With near-100-degree heat and unremitting sunshine heating the racing surface to over 140 degrees, traction was at a premium and the number-one qualifiers from Friday evening - Cory McClenathan, Whit Bazemore, Warren Johnson, and Matt Hines remained atop the eliminations ladders for their respective categories. Mirroring his pattern last year, when he won this event, McClenathan was quickest in the first Top Fuel qualifying session Saturday and then shut off early in the final session. "The track is very tricky. We dropped a cylinder immediately and the crew clicked the radio to signal me to shut it off. We could have run a (4.)97, but wanted to take it easy on the parts. We know the car will go down the track. I'm more than happy with our car right now." Bazemore's Friday qualifying effort was good enough to retain the top spot on the Funny Car ladder, his Winston Camaro losing traction on both runs today. He pedaled his way to a 5.319 on the first and shut early on the other. Bazemore was also the number-one qualifier at this event in 1997. Chuck Etchells jumped into second place on the Funny Car ladder on his final qualifying attempt, with a 5.245 second elapsed time, quickest of the round and moving him within one point of John Force in the Winston driving championship. Johnson struggled a bit today, his Pro Stock car not running well with the density altitude over 8,900 feet. He was clearly frustrated after two troublesome runs, while his son Kurt, running essentially the same engine combination, was among the quickest in both sessions. It is the 95th time Johnson has qualified number one in Pro Stock during his career, and at this event he has two victories and four runner-up finishes. Hines was the only one of the four to improve over his Friday night performance, resetting the track Pro Stock Bike ET record once again, to 7.806 seconds. It was the 19th time Hines has qualified first in his short racing career. David Schultz exorcised electrical gremlins and jumped into the second spot on the Pro Stock Bike ladder with a 7.864, moving Angelle Seeling down to third. Seeling had handling problems on both runs today, not exactly the way the Winston team wanted to get ready for eliminations. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 AM Sunday, with the weather forecasters calling for even hotter conditions than today. That will make this a crew chief's race, the clutch and suspension tuneup critical to even having a chance of getting down the track. However, it will also make it a driver's race because the crew chiefs can't get it right every time. Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **