Words and Pictures by Kevin Cooley
The fourteenth national event on the NHRA calendar made its annual stop at Bandimere Speedway. The July date means daytime temperatures in the ninety degree range and afternoon thunder storms that are sure to delay the nitro qualifying sessions into the cool Colorado evenings. John Force took advantage of the conditions in the first qualifying session when he powered the Peak Antifreeze Funny Car to the first three second funny car pass on the mountain. Courtney Force followed suit and lowered the track ET record to a terrific 3.91, securing the number one slot on the race day ladder.
Team Force continued to flex some mile-high muscle with all three cars making the quarter finals. John took out Del Worsham’s track speed record holding DHL hotrod and Robert Height red lighted against Courtney. In the final round, father John left slightly ahead of Courtney and held the advantage to the 1000-foot mark earning another Wally for the popular driver.
In the Top Fuel category defending event champion Steve Torrence picked up where he left off by dominating qualifying and securing the top spot on the ladder. Torrence’s first round match up with legendary fuel racer Chris Karamesines went as planned but his round two lead over number nine qualifier Tony Schumacher went away in a ball of fire.
Tony Schumacher defeated Clay Millican in the semifinal and Antron Brown won over the Kallitta car of JR Todd. In the final pairing Antron had lane choice by a mere one hundredth of a second but the Army sponsored car with Tony at the wheel laid down a 3.80 second ET to capture their first event win of the 2016 season.