The first stop of three consecutive races on the NHRA’s Western Swing gave three forceful drivers mile-high wins at this weekend’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. The most historic of wins belonged to the winningest Funny Car driver at Bandimere Speedway, John Force, who drove to his 13th career final round as well as his 149th career win at the quarter-mile dragstrip in Morrison, CO.
Force wasn’t the only driver to earn a momentous win at Thunder Mountain. KB Racing’s senior driver Greg Anderson also earned his 91st career win after defeating his teammate Jason Line in Sunday’s finals. While two NHRA legends climbed their way up the drag racing mountain this weekend, former Top Fuel Girl on Fire and rising Top Fuel legend Leah Pritchett also rocketed her way back to the top after dominating this series to earn her seventh career win at Bandimere Speedway.
After qualifying No. 1 for the second consecutive event and the 10th time in her career, Don Schumacher Racing driver Leah Pritchett piloted her Dodge Mopar 1320 dragster past Terry Totten, Scott Palmer and Clay Millican before facing off against Doug Kalitta in the finals. Despite Kalitta’s impressive run of 3.852-seconds, at 319.82 MPH, Pritchett once again dominated with a winning pass of 3.831-seconds at 316.45 MPH.
“My crew has been really impressive this season, and this definitely showed at Bandimere,” said Pritchett. “They chipped away at my vehicle and didn’t let themselves get down when we struggled earlier this season. They have even given me the confidence that I need to keep going and earn amazing wins like this one.”
Following this win, Pritchett moved to third in the Top Fuel point standings behind Steve Torrence and Clay Millican.
Following Pritchett’s return to glory, another driver who has had several well-known challenges this season regained his former grandeur at Bandimere Speedway. Instead of John Force ending his weekend early in yet another fireball crash, the head of John Force Racing raced his way back to the top at one of the most legendary tracks on the NHRA circuit.
After defeating Matt Hagan and Cruz Pedregon as well as his hard-charging daughter Courtney Force, the head of the Force Racing family moved on to Sunday’s finals against Don Schumacher Racing driver Ron Capps. After leaving the line ahead of Capps, Force would earn his eighth win at the facility with a pass of 4.075-seconds at 315.42 MPH.
“Thanks to this win, the fire to win is back in me,” said Force. “Following all these recent crashes, I found myself at probably the lowest I have ever been, probably worse than 2005 when I crashed and was fighting to get back. Now, I am on my way back up and I am ready to fight.”
John had better be ready to put up a hell of a fight if he wants to take down his daughter Courtney in the Funny Car point standings!
Force wasn’t the only driver to overcome some serious season challenges at this weekend’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals. After a long winless streak, KB Racing’s lead driver Greg Anderson finally raced his way to a win after taking down Joey Grose, Vincent Nobile and Jeg Coughlin Jr. to advance to Sunday’s finals against teammate Jason Line.
Despite Line’s 6.947-second pass, Anderson earned his third win at Bandimere Speedway and 91st of his career with a nose to nose pass of 6.943-seconds at 196.53 MPH.
“We have had a heck of a battle this year with some great running cars, but we have made mistakes on Sunday and have not been able to close the deal,” said Anderson. “The class is so tough right now and it is so hard to win. Fortunately, we have not stopped giving it our best shot, and this weekend we did.”
Following this win, Anderson retook the Pro Stock points lead heading into Sonoma Raceway.
The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals July 27-29 at Sonoma Raceway. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all your NHRA coverage!