Two-time Mello Yello champion Robert Hight earned the pole position for the Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals with a stout 3.976 second run. Hight slipped past Tommy Johnson Jr., who had earlier run 3.978. For Hight, the current Funny Car points leader, this is the seventh time in 14 races this season that he’s earned the green low qualifier hat and the 67th time in his career. Hight believes he caught a break when the final session was shortened by rain. Four drivers, John Force, Bob Tasca III, Ron Capps, and Friday’s leader Cruz Pedregon were left sitting on the starting line when the session was called and the field sealed.
“That run was big, we came in here testing some stuff. We had some different parts on the car yesterday and it didn’t’ go well,” said Hight. “We came out today in Q3 and missed it. Thankfully NHRA stuck it out with the rain so we’d have a chance to come back. With those four cars sitting back there, I don’t think my run would have stuck. They were all good cars and I could have seen one of them running a 3.95 especially that other Chevy [boss John Force].
“We’ve had a lot of good luck up here,” said Hight when informed that a Force Racing driver has been the top qualifier in Denver for the last six years. “It’s hard to make power up here but we’ve always done well. You have to kind of throw this race out because we’re only here once a year. That’s why Jimmy [Prock, crew chief] tested. We tried a few things we thought might be better. Really, from here on out we have to get our act together. The goal is to go win Indy and then win some races in the Countdown.”
Related: Funny Car ladder
Pedregon’s 4.001-second run from Friday night held up through Saturday’s opening session but when the final attempt was pushed back to darkness due to rain, there was little chance the mark would hold up. Since he did not get to run Q4, Pedregon had to feel lucky to hang on to the No. 3 spot. The two-time champ is followed by Ron Capps and Bob Tasca III, who ran 4.005 and 4.008 yesterday.
Reigning world champion J.R. Todd made his best run of the weekend in Q4 with a 4.101 in the DHL Toyota, but that was only good for the No. 11 spot so hell face a tough match in round one against 16-time champion John Force. Todd’s teammate, Shawn Langdon, is also starting in the bottom half of the field and will battle Tim Wilkerson in round one.