Post-Race Report Event 14: NHRA Mile High Nationals Bandimere Speedway Morrison, Colo.

Doug Kalitta Sunday

Doug Kalitta Sunday

Kalitta advances to his sixth Denver final

Race Recap: Doug Kalitta advanced to his sixth career Denver final earlier this afternoon. 

In qualifying, Kalitta ended with his strongest run of the four attempts. The Jim Oberhofer-tuned machine blazed the Bandimere surface in 3.862 seconds and earned the 10th starting spot.

That left Kalitta and the Mac Tools team with a very tough draw in the first round with former Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. The duo were close throughout the 1,000 foot race. At the finish line, the Mac Tools driver crossed the finish line one ten-thousandth ahead of Schumacher and moved on to the quarterfinals.

In the quarterfinals, Kalitta faced the upset minded Jim Maroney in his second career Top Fuel start. Kalitta had the lead by the time they passed the Christmas tree, and stretched it out all the way down the track. The Mac Tools machine banged the blower right before the finish line but still scored the round win and moved to the semifinals. 

In the semifinals, the Mac Tools driver came up against Norwalk winner Blake Alexander. Kalitta earned over five hundredths at the starting line, and took that advantage all the way to the finish line with his 3.872 defeating Alexander’s quicker 3.857. That gave Kalitta his fifth final round appearance of the season and sixth final round effort at Bandimere Speedway.

In the final, Kalitta faced no. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett. Kalitta had the advantage off the tree and led through the 660 foot mark, before Pritchett was able to sneak around. She picked up the race win by two thousandths over Kalitta’s Mac Tools machine. 

Qualified: No. 10 (3.862 sec., 310.91 mph)

  • E1: Kalitta defeated Schumacher – 3.849 sec., 320.43 mph to 3.852 sec., 321.12 mph
  • E2: Kalitta defeated Maroney – 3.897 sec., 302.08 mph to 4.227 sec., 249.53 mph
  • E2: Kalitta defeated Alexander – 3.872 sec., 311.63 mph to 3.857 sec., 320.20 mph
  • E2: Kalitta defeated by Pritchett – 3.852 sec., 319.82 mph to 3.831 sec., 316.45 mph

Quotable: “Anytime you are on the mountain and in the final is a good day. Really impressed by the Mac Tools team after our struggles in qualifying. They worked so hard, and we accomplished a lot. It always stings to lose close races like this, but it makes me even hungrier to get to Sonoma and try to pick up the win there.”

Point Standings: Fifth; leads Antron Brown by 143 points for sixth; trails Tony Schumacher by 37 points for fourth

Richie Crampton Sunday

Crampton get third straight first round win

Race Recap: Richie Crampton scored another first round win today at Bandimere Speedway. 

Crampton had a great Saturday session of qualifying. After a planned early shutoff in the first pass, Crampton laid down a solid 3.822 to move inside the top five qualified drivers. That gave the Kalitta Air driver his best qualifying effort since Phoenix earlier this season.

In the first round, Crampton drew fellow top ten competitor Terry McMillen. Rob Flynn had a great handle on the tune-up and the Kalitta Air dragster went straight down the track to defeat a tire smoking McMillen.

Crampton advanced to the quarterfinals and came up against Clay Millican. The Kalitta Air driver was close early, but hit tire smoke before the 330 foot line. Millican had his own problems down track, but was able to score the round win. 


Qualified: No. 5 (3.822 sec., 318.09 mph) 

  • E1: Crampton defeated McMillen – 3.870 sec., 317.19 mph to 6.020 sec., 120.89 mph
  • E2: Crampton defeated by Millican – 5.045 sec., 158.99 mph to 3.887 sec., 295.05 mph

Quotable: “It was another constructive day. We made some gains in the points department which is very important right now. We’re making good runs, all things considered, with this being such a wild-card race with the altitude up on the mountain here. I’m pretty proud of my guys. I’m looking forward to getting Connie Kalitta back with the Kalitta Air Toyota team in Sonoma.  I love that track and the Toyota Nationals is one of my favorite races.”

Point Standings: Ninth; leads Scott Palmer by 32 points for 10th; trails Brittany Force by 82 points for eighth

Shawn Langon Sunday

Tire smoke costs Langdon in the first round

Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team fell in the first round of the Mile High Nationals earlier today.

Langdon’s Global Electronic Technology Toyota was solid in qualifying with three consistent passes. The best, a 4.048, clinched a top half starting spot and eighth overall in a stacked Funny Car field.

The first round draw was Tim Wilkerson. Langdon was able to get a slight advantage on the tree, but the Global Electronic Technology Camry lost traction early on in the run. In the other lane, Wilkerson made the quickest run in the first round to score the round win. 

Qualified: No. 8 (4.048 sec., 315.34 mph) 

  • E1: Langdon defeated by Wilkerson – 5.128 sec., 165.01 mph to 4.057 sec., 315.64 mph

Quotable: “It is just a bummer. We smoked the tires in the first round. We were trying to go 4.09-4.10. It happens. We are back at sea level next week, and we feel comfortable with our tuneup. We will keep fighting to stay in the top ten.” 

Point Standings: Ninth; leads Bob Tasca III by 51 points for 10th; trails John Force by 88 points for eighth

JR Todd Sunday

Todd falls early in Denver

Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team suffered through a tough weekend at Bandimere Speedway.Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team made one clean pass in qualifying on Friday evening. Todd’s solid 4.083 second run was good enough for a top ten start, but a tough first round draw of Ron Capps.Todd and Capps were close early, but Capps began pulling away by the 330 foot mark. Despite a clean 4.133 second run, Todd was unable to get the round win over the former Funny Car champion. 

Qualified: No. 10 (4.083 sec., 305.01 mph) 

  • E1: Todd defeated by Capps – 4.133 sec., 311.27 mph to 4.101 sec., 311.27 mph

Quotable: “We just struggled since we unloaded on Friday. Today’s run is what we needed to start off the weekend. We were just a little behind and chasing some gremlins here and there. It’s tough to run up here on the mountain as it is. I’ll be glad to get Sonoma and turn around this DHL Toyota Camry. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the tour and it’s good to get back to sea level where it’s not as hard to make horsepower as it is up here on the mountain. Steve Page and his crew do a great job there in Sonoma with the Toyota Sonoma Nationals.”
Point Standings: Sixth; leads Tommy Johnson Jr. by 86 points by seventh; trails Jack Beckman by 74 points for fifth