2014 Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals Friday photo gallery
Friday, July 18, 2014

News and views from the Mopar
Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Last update: 11:30 p.m.
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(Above) On Thursday, Mopar held its annual Mopar Mile-High Block Party in nearby Golden, Colo. The well-attended event featured the sport’s best Dodge drivers, including Make-A-Wish Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. (below), who signed autographs for the fans.


When Hector Arana Jr. looks over his shoulder, he sees the rest of the Pro Stock Motorcycle field after the second-generation rider wheeled his Lucas Oil Buell to a track record 7.178 during Friday’s opening session. Arana Jr. broke his own 7.237 track record from last year’s event.

Two weeks after unveiling his new Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson with a win in Norwalk, Andrew Hines continues to post impressive numbers. He opened with a 7.226 and later improved to a 7.198 for the No. 2 spot in the field.

Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens was the qualifying leader after Q1, when she drove to a 6.952 at 198.55 mph, just missing the track record of 198.70 set last year.

Matt Hartford is leasing an engine from Johnson & Johnson Racing for the three-race Western Swing. His day began with an aborted 7.269-second pass when the car drifted toward the wall. The Total Seal driver improved to 6.984 in Q2.

Matt Hagan posted a solid 4.111-second run in Q2 and finished the first day of Funny Car qualifying slotted No. 8 in the provisional field. With a special body this weekend, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Hemi, no doubt he’ll be looking to move up the ladder on Saturday.

Defending event champion Cruz Pedregon is running a one-off body here in Denver. The now flamed flopper came off the trailer with a 4.208 in Q1, then returned later in the day to run 4.078. With two more qualifying attempts remaining, Pedregon will enter Saturday from the No. 4 spot.

Spencer Massey, one of the pre-race favorites, struggled through his first two runs on Friday. Massey's best of 4.181 is currently good for No. 12 in the field.

NHRA Members and site subscribers can get in-depth coverage, notes, and more on NationalDragster.net.

With a pair of runs that were within a thousandth of a second of each other, Jim Underdahl and his father, Greg, obviously have a solid combination for Bandimere Speedway. Underdahl’ s 7.250 best has him in the top half of the field after Friday’s qualifying runs.

Defending event champion Shawn Gann has qualified 11, 12, or 13 at every race so far this season, but that string will almost certainly be broken this weekend following his strong 7.230-second run on Friday afternoon.

Local resident V. Gaines, runner-up at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals the two previous years, temporarily went to the top of the field on the strength of his 6.944-second pass in Q2.

Allen Johnson might not literally own Bandimere Speedway, but he certainly does figuratively. The Mopar-backed driver reset both ends of the track record in Q2, flashing 6.928, 198.90 on the scoreboards.

Tim Wilkerson likely caught the attention of many of his competitors still in the staging lanes when his Ford Mustang tripped the clocks at 4.071 in Q2, good enough for the No. 3 spot currently.

The legend of John Force continues to grow. He entered this weekend sitting second in the Funny Car points, but the 16-time world champion obliterated both ends of the track record, recording a 4.049 at 318.39 mph in the evening session.

After opening qualifying with a solid 3.902, Brittany Force smoked the tires on her second attempt. Force, whose qualifying results have improved dramatically at recent events, heads into Saturday in the No. 8 spot.

Tony Schumacher stole the top spot from Steve Torrence late on Friday with a spectacular 3.823 in his U.S. Army dragster. Schumacher is seeking his first low qualifier award since the Pomona season opener in 2013.

A spectacular day of qualifying came to a close with a thrilling jet car exhibition that had the packed house in Denver on its feet. As soon as the jets cleared the finish line, the fans got an extra treat in the form of an impressive trackside fireworks display.