Arend improves, but mad shuffling leaves him 10th
Denver, Saturday: Jeff Arend was all dressed and ready to go, right around 5:30 when the regularly scheduled final Funny Car session was about to take place. Just as the team pushed his car out of the pit stall, however, the first rain drops fell on Bandimere Speedway and they simply pushed it right back in. At around 8:00, he finally got to run in what amounted to a second night session for this race.
Before Arend's lap, however, the bumping and field shuffling was intense, as nearly every pair down the track created new versions of the eventual ladder. By the time he came to the line, Arend was sitting 15th, though in no danger of getting bumped himself. After a strong 4.925, he moved right back up the list to the No. 10 spot, although the run was costly in terms of engine damage. He will face Kenny Bernstein in round one.
"It was just cruising right down there, not really giving me any sign that anything was wrong, but just as I crossed the stripe and lifted it went boom," Arend said. "We knocked two rods clean out of it, but at least it got to the lights under power and we were able to move back up the sheet a few notches. It was pretty much impossible to keep track of where we were on the grid, who was in, who was out, or anything that was going on out there. I'm just glad we were able to put a good lap on the board, damage aside, and stay up in the meat of the field.
"Running at 12 noon tomorrow, it's probably going to be unlike any lap we've made here, so the tuners will be earning their keep and I guess it wouldn't surprise anyone if there was some mad pedaling going on. All we can do is roll it up there and give it our best, whatever the track temperature is."
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