MORRISON, Colo. (July 25, 2015) – This weekend’s Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals near Denver marks the third consecutive NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event when Don Schumacher Racing and other teams dealt with evening and night-time qualifying sessions before facing afternoon racing for Sunday’s championship eliminations.
That doesn’t lessen the importance of qualifying because every driver wants to enter Sunday’s first round scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (MT) with its choice of lanes that goes to the higher seeded team.
And every advantage is magnified with the power-choking 5,800-foot altitude of the splendid mountainside facility outside of Denver.
Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald weren’t jumping for joy after qualifying eighth for championship eliminations but were very happy to be able to have their lane choice when they face J.R. Todd (Kalitta Motorsports), the defending race winner, in the first round.
“We’re alright right now,” said Antron, who has won twice at Denver in six championship rounds. “And Sunday’s a whole different ballgame. In the semis, the sun’s really going to be beating down and the track’s going to be as hot as it’s going to be all day and you’ll be lucky to run a 3. 98 or a 4-flat. That’s what Denver does.”
“Our main game is knowing how to keep improving on the car and to know how to run hard and good when the conditions are cool, like they are Friday and Saturday nights. It takes a little different mindset to work your way through the weekend here in Denver.”
The second-ranked Top Fuel team will try for a category-best fourth Mello Yello title of the season. One of the Matco team’s three victories came from the No. 8 qualifying spot (Charlotte) while the others were from the pole.
No. 1 qualifier: Larry Dixon (Bob Vandergriff Racing) 3.791 sec.-track record, 326.63 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
QUALIFIED: No. 8
First round: BROWN vs. J.R. Todd
SATURDAY: 4.389 sec., 197.91 mph, (Session 3); 4.034, 235.10, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 8.251, 82.81, (Session 1), 3.878, 311.05, (Session 2)