2008 Chevy Impala SS NHRA

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(from General Motors Press Release)  Both Pro Stocker Greg Anderson and Funny Car driver Tony Pedregon must like the view from the top as each followed up their Norwalk (Ohio) wins with No. 1 qualifiers for tomorrow’s eliminations at the 29th annual NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Anderson drove his Summit Racing Pontiac to both ends of the Bandimere Speedway Pro Stock record with a track-record elapsed time of 7.010 at a track-record speed of 196.10 mph to edge fellow Pontiac driver Mike Edwards. It was the points leader’s third No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 65th of his illustrious career.

“I would’ve loved to have gotten into the ‘sixes’ and made a little history here,” Anderson said. “We ended up a hundredth away, but you never know what might happen tomorrow; it’s going to be fun. We’re happy so far. We’re very happy with the racetrack and we’re very happy with the race car.

“We learned a lot here last week testing and it’s just paying off this weekend. But it just amazes me, some of the teams tested out here, some of the teams didn’t, you have completely different conditions that we won’t see again all year, and still you have four or five hundredths from top to bottom. The class is amazing right now, so to come out on top on a Saturday night or a Sunday night feels pretty doggone good because this class is definitely tougher than it’s ever been. It’s going to be a battle tomorrow and the winner is going to feel better after this one.”

Bandimere Speedway, set in the mountains just outside of Denver, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and many of the drivers, including Anderson, are impressed with the all-new concrete surface and the continuous improvements being made to the mile-high facility.

“The track is absolutely better this year,” Anderson said. “The job that Larry Crispe and the management staff here have done is just incredible. My hat’s off to them. It’s absolutely a better deal to have the cooling system underneath the starting line, and they did a great job with the concrete both on the last eighth of a mile and on the first eighth of a mile. The track’s better than it’s ever been and that’s why the cars are running so fast. It’s 85 degrees out, there’s no cloud cover, and we’re running faster than we’ve ever run. We love it.”

Anderson led a trio of Pontiacs in the top four in qualifying as Mike Edwards placed his Young Life/Penhall Pontiac GXP in the No. 2 position with a 7.021 e.t. at 195.62 mph, and Greg Stanfield qualified his Pontiac in the fourth qualifying position. Ironically, both drivers were also under the old Bandimere Speedway elapsed time record.

“We made two good runs today, so we’re looking good,” Edwards said. “We’ll just come out here tomorrow and see what happens. We’ve got the horse, we just need the rider.”

Stanfield drove his Attitude Apparel Pontiac GXP to the No. 4 qualifying position with an elapsed time of 7.031 seconds at 195.31 mph.

“We’re facing one of the fastest cars in Jason (Line) in first round tomorrow,” Stanfield said, “so who knows if this was a good qualifying position or not. We’ll just have to see what happens tomorrow. The car is consistent, almost like a bracket car, so we’ll just need some racing luck. I think we have a good enough car to win if the driver does his job.”

Ron Krisher, runner-up here at Bandimere Speedway last year, qualified his Valvoline Chevy Cobalt seventh with an impressive run on his fourth and final qualifying pass. Krisher drove his Chevy to an elapsed time of 7.037 seconds at 194.58 mph to qualify in the top half of the Pro Stock field for the ninth time this season.

“I don’t think that last run showed how smart we were, I think it showed how dumb we were this morning,” Krisher said. “On that last run we went closer to where we were running last year. We took out a whole bunch of clutch out because we missed it real, real bad this morning. We ran real good down low, we just ran out of tire and motor on the top, so maybe we can fix that a little bit. We can go a little bit faster tomorrow under the same conditions, but I think it’s going to be a little warmer. But we’re a lot better than where we were – a whole lot.”

Tony Pedregon kept his Q Horsepower Impala SS in the No. 1 position for the second time this season and the 33rd of his career. He drove his Chevy to a 4.212 seconds at 286.50 mph to match his top-qualifying effort at Gainesville (Fla.) in March. This is the first NHRA race where both the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes are racing to 1,000 feet instead of the traditional 1,320 feet or one-quarter mile. This is an interim step that is being taken while NHRA continues to analyze and determine whether changes should be made in the wake of the tragic death of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta last month.

“I'm not superstitious; I'd much rather start from the No. 1 spot than anywhere else in the field," Pedregon said. “Qualifying up near the top is something we lacked for the last month and a half. It was our intention to run quicker today, but I'm glad we ran close to our earlier time in conditions that stayed pretty good. If the weather forecasts are correct, it will be a bit warmer tomorrow. I think the cooling system underneath the racetrack will gave us a chance to be more aggressive during the first 150 feet of the run than we would under normal conditions. I have to credit the track for the new cooling system and the great preparation they've done all weekend."

In Top Fuel, Team GMC’s Cory McClenathan held on to the top spot in his FRAM Top Fuel dragster with an elapsed time of 3.929 seconds at 308.07 mph for his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 32nd of his career. McClenathan also spoke highly of the all-new concrete surface and the changes made to Bandimere Speedway, sight of his first career victory.

“I’ve seen this track grow from a little, tiny tower and track to what the Bandimeres have made it today,” McClenathan said. “They are an awesome family and I love them dearly. They just care about the racers, like when they show up at different races to see who’s doing what, and the new cooling system here underneath the concrete. That’s what it takes to make these tracks better. You always get that feeling they care about racing and they care about their racetrack.”