Hight, Brown, Skillman and Krawiec rule in Denver
Robert Hight powered to his first Funny Car victory of the year at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, as Antron Brown, Drew Skillman and Eddie Krawiec won the other categories.
Robert Hight earned his victory with a 3.995-second pass at 317.57 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro against Tommy Johnson Jr.’s Dodge Charger R/T which ran a 4.099 pass at 297.16 in the final round. He earned his first victory of the season and the 38th of his career.
Hight, whose triumph also marked the 13th consecutive season in which he has earned at least one win, said: “We definitely struggled through the first few rounds and we were lucky to get those round wins, but I have a great team who figured things out and helped get me to the winner’s circle.
“It’s definitely a long-time coming and we hadn’t had much luck, but today we had some luck and we hope this continues throughout the Western Swing.”
Hight qualified third and defeated Todd Simpson, Jack Beckman and Cruz Pedregon before reaching his third final round of 2017. Johnson Jr. took down points leader Ron Capps, Jonnie Lindberg and Jim Campbell en route to his third final round of the year.
Hight jumped up to third in the standings behind Don Schumacher Racing teammates Capps and Matt Hagan.
Antron Brown knocked off teammate and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett in the final round with a pass of 3.792 at 319.82. After having lost his three previous final round appearances, Brown now has three victories on the season and 64 in his career.
“This race definitely put us through a marathon this weekend, but seeing those win lights makes it all worthwhile,” Brown said. “Next year when we come out we know the bar will be raised even more at this track, with all of this information all of these drivers learned this weekend, but we feel like we have a good idea how to get things done here in Denver.”
The victory allowed Brown to edge ahead of Pritchett to take second in the Top Fuel standings, behind Steve Torrence.
Drew Skillman drove to his fifth career victory with a 6.916 run at 198.15 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro to defeat points leader Bo Butner in the final.
Skillman was the No. 1 qualifier and maintained that success with round wins over Richie Stevens and Jason Line on the way to his second consecutive victory this season – the first PS driver to score consecutive wins this year. Butner qualified in the ninth spot and took down Allen Johnson, Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders before reaching his sixth final round of the season.
“Our car kept running the same numbers, which is the sign of a good car and a great team,” Skillman said. “We have finally figured out a way to put it all together, and as long as we stay aggressive as a team, we know we can win.”
Butner stays in first in the points standings ahead of Greg Anderson and Tanner Gray, while Skillman is seventh.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Eddie Krawiec won with a 7.145 pass at 188.28 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to defeat Matt Smith in the final round. After notching his 35th career No. 1 qualifier on Saturday, Krawiec defeated David Hope, Joey Gladstone and Scotty Pollacheck to reach the final round, and go on to clinch earned the 38th win of his career.
Smith had qualified third and beat Angie Smith, Andrew Hines and Jerry Savoie as he secured his second final round appearance in 2017.
“We’ve gotten off to a slow start since we had to switch bikes, so we were behind in terms of figuring out the strengths of this new bike and how it works,” Krawiec said. “We really like where we are at currently, and we’re going to try and keep this momentum going on the West Coast.”
Krawiec remains in second following his second victory in seven events, while LE Tonglet is still atop the standings despite a quarterfinal exit.
Final order at 38th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway
TOP FUEL: 1. Antron Brown; 2. Leah Pritchett; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Brittany Force; 5. Doug Kalitta; 6. Clay Millican; 7. Steve Torrence; 8. Terry Haddock; 9. Scott Palmer; 10. Bob Vandergriff; 11. Troy Coughlin Jr.; 12. Steven Chrisman; 13. Greg Carrillo; 14. Shawn Langdon; 15. Rob Passey; 16. Terry McMillen.
Final: Antron Brown, 3.792 seconds, 319.82 mph def. Leah Pritchett, 3.816 seconds, 324.90 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 3. Cruz Pedregon; 4. Jim Campbell; 5. Matt Hagan; 6. J.R. Todd; 7. Jack Beckman; 8. Jonnie Lindberg; 9. Ron Capps; 10. Alexis DeJoria; 11. Tim Wilkerson; 12. Courtney Force; 13. Jeff Diehl; 14. John Force; 15. Todd Simpson; 16. Del Worsham.
Final: Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.995, 317.57 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.099, 297.16.
PRO STOCK: 1. Drew Skillman; 2. Bo Butner; 3. Jason Line; 4. Erica Enders; 5. Vincent Nobile; 6. Greg Anderson; 7. Chris McGaha; 8. Tanner Gray; 9. Allen Johnson; 10. Alan Prusiensky; 11. Richie Stevens; 12. Jeg Coughlin; 13. Deric Kramer; 14. Matt Hartford.
Final: Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.916, 198.15 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.953, 198.88.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Matt Smith; 3. Jerry Savoie; 4. Scotty Pollacheck; 5. Hector Arana Jr; 6. Andrew Hines; 7. LE Tonglet; 8. Joey Gladstone; 9. Angelle Sampey; 10. Melissa Surber; 11. Karen Stoffer; 12. Cory Reed; 13. Mike Berry; 14. Angie Smith; 15. David Hope; 16. Steve Johnson.
Final: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.145, 188.28 def. Matt Smith, Victory, Foul - Red Light.
Point standings after 14 of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 1,253*; 2. Antron Brown, 1,199*; 3. Leah Pritchett, 1,183*; 4. Tony Schumacher, 974; 5. Doug Kalitta, 873; 6. Brittany Force, 871; 7. Clay Millican, 826; 8. Terry McMillen, 541; 9. Scott Palmer, 528; 10. Troy Coughlin Jr., 496.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps, 1,244*; 2. Matt Hagan, 1,058*; 3. Robert Hight, 973; 4. Jack Beckman, 970; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 925; 6. Courtney Force, 793; 7. John Force, 757; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 634; 9. J.R. Todd, 612; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 538.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 1,240*; 2. Greg Anderson, 1,066*; 3. Tanner Gray, 976; 4. Jason Line, 931; 5. Jeg Coughlin, 888; 6. Erica Enders, 863; 7. Drew Skillman, 823; 8. Vincent Nobile, 781; 9. Chris McGaha, 540; 10. Allen Johnson, 514.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. LE Tonglet, 658*; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 584; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 483; 4. Scotty Pollacheck, 455; 5. Jerry Savoie, 453; 6. Andrew Hines, 403; 7. Matt Smith, 398; 8. Joey Gladstone, 363; 9. Karen Stoffer, 323; 10. Steve Johnson, 284.
* = locked into Countdown
Pritchett, C. Force, Skillman and Krawiec secure top qualifying positions in Denver
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