Sunday's Mile-Highlights
Sunday, July 24, 2011

News and views from the 
Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Last update: 6:30 p.m.
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A large crowd of Colorado race fans filled the stands and the pits at Bandimere Speedway for the third straight day of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.

Jerry Haas, left, and Darrell Zimmerman were recognized for being the most recent inductees into the Taylor-Vertex High & Mighty Hall of Fame.

Shirley Muldowney gave the orders to Antron Brown and Terry McMillen to fire up in the first pair of Top Fuelers to kick off eliminations.

Antron Brown made the quickest run of Top Fuel eliminations when his Brian Corradi- and Mark Oswald-tuned Matco Tools dragster unloaded a 3.96 in a second-round win against points leader Del Worsham.

Rod Fuller, left, and crew chief Mike Guger had a strong semifinal outing with the Yas Marina Circuit/DiGiorno Top Fuel team. Teammate Bob Vandergriff Jr. also went rounds.

Jeff Arend led the Kalitta Motorsports contingent when he reached the semifinals in Funny Car for the third time in the last four events.

Robert Hight made the quickest runs of the first two Funny Car rounds before dropping a close semifinal race against Matt Hagan when he spun the tires at the top end.

Erica Enders, who qualified fifth in Pro Stock with a 7.008, made a huge improvement in round one with a great 6.978 to defeat Shane Gray. But Enders’ day ended prematurely when her fine follow-up effort of 7.988 was negated by a -.014-second red-light against Kurt Johnson, who went on to take the second-round win with a 7.032.

Although Larry Morgan struggled in the first three rounds of Pro Stock qualifying, he made the program in Saturday’s final session and then utilized his starting-line skills Sunday to advance with a 7.01 to 7.00 holeshot win over Ron Krisher in the opening stanza and a monster 7.05 to 6.97 gatejob against No. 2 qualifier V. Gaines.

LE Tonglet didn’t make the program until Saturday’s final Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying session, and that was with a subpar No. 11 effort of 7.302. He rose to the occasion, however, in his first-round marquee matchup against Andrew Hines by stepping up for the 7.28 to 7.31 victory.

Eddie Krawiec’s bid to reach the Pro Stock Motorcycle winner’s circle ended when he was the victim of Karen Stoffer’s near-perfect .002-second reaction time in the semi’s and lost a 7.33 to 7.32 holeshot decision. Krawiec qualified third with a 7.258 and had advanced to the semi’s with wins over Jim Underdahl and Tonglet.

Karen Stoffer scored her first Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of the year and the sixth of her career when she rode her GEICO Powersports Suzuki to a decisive 7.28 to 7.39 victory against Michael Phillips in the final. Stoffer qualified No. 2 with a 7.245 and ran in the 7.2-second zone in three out of the four rounds of eliminations. Stoffer had three runner-up performances previously this year.

After dominating both the qualifying and eliminations all weekend with stellar performances that included a new track record of 6.955 to defeat Greg Anderson in the second round of Pro Stock, Allen Johnson lost his bid to win the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals for the fourth time in the last five years when he red-lighted by.009-second to give the win to Mike Edwards. It was Edwards’ third victory of the season.

John Force scored his first win of the season and 133rd of his career when Matt Hagan red-lighted away a quicker run against him in the Funny Car final.

Spencer Massey won for the third time this season while keeping teammate Tony Schumacher out of the Top Fuel winner’s circle. Both drivers hazed the tires in the final, but Massey dropped a cylinder later than Schumacher and carried the momentum through for the win, which also clinched his berth in the Countdown playoffs.

Lucas Oil Sportsman winners Clint Neff (Comp), Jackie Alley (Super Stock), Scott Burton (Stock), Dave Crawford (Super Comp), and Mike Wiblishouser (Super Gas) celebrated their hard-earned victories on Thunder Mountain.

Full Throttle winners, from left, Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle), John Force (Funny Car), Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock).