2014 Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals Sunday photo gallery
Sunday, July 20, 2014

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Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Last update: 8:15 p.m.
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Snap-on Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon drew a mixture of cheers and a few boos from die-hard Denver Broncos fans when he showed up for driver introductions carrying his custom painted Oakland Raiders helmet.

Pat Dougherty, Mopar vice president of parts, sales, and field operations, left, was joined by Bandimere Speedway owner John Bandimere Jr., center, and NHRA President Tom Compton as they announced a three-year extension of Mopar’s title-rights sponsorship of the NHRA event in Denver. Mopar’s association with the Bandimere event extends to 1989, making it one of the longest-running partnerships in motorsports.

Jenna Haddock made quite a first impression by taking out low qualifier Tony Schumacher in her Top Fuel debut. Haddock won with a 4.276 after Schumacher’s Army dragster smoked the tires.

Chris Cunningham, formerly of Bob Tasca III’s team, helped Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero car to a second-round finish this weekend. After an upset win over teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in round one, they eventually lost to Tim Wilkerson in the second stanza.

V. Gaines wanted nothing more than to have a good showing in front of all of his hometown fans. Things started off well enough, when he qualified sixth. The fun didn’t last long on Sunday, though, when his Dodge Dart left too soon and caught a red-light in round one.

Although his Suzuki never left the starting line, Steve Johnson celebrated his unusual round-one win over Adam Arana, who threw away a sure victory with a red-light start.

Larry Dixon enjoyed a solid outing in Denver behind the wheel of the Mike Guger-tuned Top Fueler. The three-time world champion qualified No. 3 and defeated Clay Millican and Antron Brown on race day.

Ron Capps took out two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon in the second round, 4.239 to 4.259. For their efforts, the Napa Auto Parts team was rewarded with a semifinal matchup with John Force, a pairing they eventually lost.

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

Erica Enders-Stevens made plenty of news this weekend, first by losing to former teammate and rival Dave Connolly on a holeshot in the second round and then announcing that her Elite Motorsports team would miss the next two races in Sonoma and Seattle.

With a solid qualifying effort and a round-one win over rookie Chaz Kennedy, Jim Underdahl had one of his best races of the season on his Bad Boy Buggies Suzuki.

After losing in the final round in Chicago three weeks ago, Hector Arana Sr. extracted a small measure of revenge against his son, Hector Jr., with a 7.266 to 7.245 in round two.

Jason Line began the day from the No. 1 qualifying spot and looked like a sure bet to reach the final until running into Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the semi’s, where the reigning world champion hung a .002 light on him and used it for a holeshot victory.

Tim Wilkerson was happy to get by Jack Beckman in the second round; the two were battling to stay in the top 10 of the Funny Car points standings. The LRS Mustang was running consistent 4.20s during eliminations but couldn’t get past Robert Hight in the semi’s.

In her second year of Top Fuel racing, Brittany Force continues to inch closer to her first win. Force has now been to three final rounds this season, including her second in the last three races.

The final rounds, and the ESPN live television coverage of the event, were briefly interrupted by a passing thunderstorm. Thanks to the efforts of the NHRA Safety Safari, the track was dried and racing resumed quickly.

Andrew Hines, near lane, extended his points lead in the NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle standings with his fourth win of the season. Hines, the winner two weeks ago in Norwalk, defeated Michael Ray’s Star Buell in the final, 7.246 to a slowing 9.033. 

Allen Johnson, far lane, continues to have all the right answers in Denver. He reached the final for the eighth straight year and ended up winning for the third straight time after taking out his teammate in the final. A.J. posted a 6.930-second lap for the victory while Jeg had a red-light start.

Robert Hight, near lane, had seemingly been playing second fiddle to John Force all weekend, Yet when it mattered most, in the final, he drove the Auto Club Mustang to his fifth win of the season on the strength of a 4.166-second e.t.

Each of J.R. Todd’s four runs on Sunday in the Optima Batteries dragster was quicker than the last, including the final where he ran a 3.878 to earn his first win since 2008. Todd, near lane, defeated Brittany Force, who was a runner-up for the third time this season in her Castrol Edge dragster.

The NHRA Mello Yello winners, Robert Hight, J.R. Todd, Allen Johnson, and Andrew Hines.