DENVER (July 21) — Scott Palmer and his crowd-favorite CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster team are looking sharp through qualifying for the 39th annual Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Palmer and crew coaxed a steady 3.860 at 317.27 mph out of their nitro-burning machine, earning the No. 9 position in the race day field.
“The first two passes Friday were planned shut-off runs and we still put a 3.90 on the scoreboard last night even though I lifted at 750 feet,” Palmer said. “We watched what other people were doing this evening and got on it enough to run a 3.86 so we know what we have. We can work with this tomorrow, for sure.”
Because of its altitude, Bandimere Speedway is unlike any other track on the national tour. The lack of oxygen results in less horsepower being made and crew chiefs, like CatSpot Racing’s Jason McCulloch, have to lean on their equipment more to make up for the deficit.
At the same time, it’s been a hot weekend on Thunder Mountain and this year the NHRA has purposely been less aggressive in prepping the racing surfaces each weekend in an effort to keep teams from going too fast.
“You have to be very patient,” Palmer said. “But you also need to know what sections of the racetrack you can trust and try to apply enough power in those areas to make decent runs. It’s a tough deal for the crew chiefs. There’s a lot of seat-of-the-pants, gut-instinct tuning going on. Personally, I love it.”
As the No. 9 qualifier, Palmer will open sudden-death eliminations opposite Antron Brown, who qualified eighth with a 3.856 at 318.47 mph.
Winning rounds on Sunday has become of paramount importance to Palmer and a handful of other drivers vying to lock up the last few spots in the top 10 of the Mello Yello championship points standings before the playoffs begin in early September. Palmer is currently 14 points behind 10th-place Mike Salinas and 30 back of ninth-place Richie Crampton
“We have a car capable of winning multiple rounds every weekend,” Palmer said. “We’ve been qualifying well and making a lot of good tuning calls, we just need better luck on race day. We definitely want to be in the Countdown and we have five races left to solidify our position.
“It all starts tomorrow here in Denver. I’d love to have a big day for the fans because they’ve been awesome all weekend. We’re all having a good time and that’s the most important thing of all.”