Pritchett Powers To No. 1 At Bandimere

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Leah Pritchett paced NHRA Top Fuel qualifying on Saturday at Bandimere Speedway. (NHRA Photo)

MORRISON, Colo. – Leah Pritchett powered to the Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the 38th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

Courtney Force (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 14th of 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Pritchett set an elapsed time track record with a 3.733-second pass at 326.24 mph in her Papa John’s dragster during the fourth and final qualifying session. She has four No. 1 qualifiers this year and five in her second full year of Top Fuel action.

“We were definitely swinging for the fence and definitely did not expect a 3.733 but we stayed centered and we were able to get it right,” Pritchett said. “We know what works for this car, and we just need to stay consistent like we were earlier in the season.”

Kalitta is second in the Top Fuel category with a run of 3.767 at 323.97 mph in his Mac Tools dragster during his second pass on Friday. Steve Torrence sits third in the qualifying after a 3.775 run at 323.97 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster, also during his second pass on Friday.

C. Force set both ends of the track record after a 3.889-second pass at 328.30 mph in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro during the first qualifying session on Friday. She locked down her sixth No. 1 qualifier of the season as she chases her first win of the season.

“It feels great being in the No. 1 qualifying spot, it’s pretty impressive what my team can do in these difficult conditions,” Force said. “We are looking for a long race day tomorrow to pick up some points and climb up the standings a bit.”

John Force landed second in Funny Car qualifying with a 3.899 run at 301.87 mph in his Peak Performance Chevy Camaro. Teammate Robert Hight rounded out the top three in qualifying after a 3.905 pass at 318.17 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro.

In Pro Stock, Skillman holds on to the top spot after driving to a 6.924 at 198.29 mph during his second and final pass of the day. He earned his first No. 1 qualifier of the season following his first victory of the year in Chicago.

“Denver is always very consistent, and our testing proved to be good so we know we have a great race car for Sunday,” Skillman said. “We are definitely confident after three strong runs, we all feel good and ready to get going tomorrow.”

Erica Enders is second in qualifying with a run of 6.930 at 198.85 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Vincent Nobile is in the third spot with a 6.939 pass at 199.05 mph in his Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro.

Krawiec finished atop the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying order with a run of 7.178 at 187.29 mph on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson in his lone pass on Friday. He notched his 35th career No. 1 qualifier and the second of this season.

“We came out strong this morning, and this last session we had better air and a better track but we weren’t able to improve on our time,” Krawiec said. “We know where we need to go, and we can definitely turn things around before tomorrow so we make sure to maintain this level of success.”

Hector Arana Jr. is in the No. 2 slot after a 7.179 at 186.28 mph on his Lucas Oil Buell, while Matt Smith sits at third with a 7.183 at 186.20 mph on his Magnum Victory Gunner.