The Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat of Tony Stewart Racing Funny Car driver Matt Hagan took the top spot on Thunder Mountain in three of four sessions and earned the No. 1 qualifier position at Bandimere Speedway ahead of the 42nd annual Dodge Power Brokers National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mile-High Nationals.
The defending event winner picked up where he left off last year by taking his 11,000 horsepower HEMI-powered machine to the top of the qualifying sheets with a 3.968-second elapsed time first pass, then improved on it with a solid 3.927-second run to close out Friday qualifying as the provisional polesitter.
Hagan ran his quickest pass of the weekend on Saturday in Q3 at 3.908 mph @ 323.12 mph, a time that kept him in the top spot through the fourth session when he had an issue with his burnout and lost traction at the hit of the throttle. That third run by the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was strong enough to secure Hagan’s second consecutive No. 1 qualifier position at Bandimere Speedway. It is also his fourth pole position of the season and the 47th of his career.
His qualifying efforts also provided him with 12 valuable bonus points to close the gap on the Funny Car points leader and rival Robert Hight who took over the top spot from Hagan at the last event in Norwalk. Hagan will begin his event title defense with an opening round pairing with No. 16 seed Jack Wyatt.
Hagan’s TSR teammate Leah Pruett, winner of the 2018 edition of the Denver event, also powered her Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel dragster to the provisional No. 1 qualifier position on Friday under the lights. She improved again on Saturday, recording her quickest pass of the weekend on her final lap with a 3.771-second elapsed time run to put her third on the eliminations ladder. She also collects seven bonus points for setting the quickest times in two sessions and placing third in the final one. Pruett will begin her Sunday drive to vy for her second Top Fuel Wally trophy from Bandimere Speedway against No. 14 seed Antron Brown.
Two-time Funny Car event winner Cruz Pedregon qualified his Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat ninth overall with a best pass of 4.038 seconds @ 306.74 mph on Saturday after having qualified in the top half of the eliminations ladder through the first ten races of the season. Despite a more challenging start to the weekend than Cruz Pedregon Racing has had in a while, the team is fifth in the category and ready to chase down their first Wally of the season by kicking off eliminations against No. 6 qualifier J.R. Todd.
Sunday’s Dodge Power Brokers Mile-High Nationals elimination rounds will air on FOX’s broadcast network commencing at 4:00 p.m. ET and will include live coverage of the finals.
ADDITIONAL NOTES and QUOTES:
Leah Pruett, Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel Dragster:
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.771 seconds @ 322.50 mph)
Qualifying 1: 11.016 sec. @ 77.75 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.788 sec. @ 326.79 mph (3 bonus points for the quickest run of the session)
Qualifying 3: 3.784 sec. @ 327.90 mph (3 bonus points for the quickest run of the session)
Qualifying 4: 3.771 sec. @ 322.50 mph ( 1 bonus point for 3rd quickest run of the session)
“I think the most valuable aspect of our qualifying is that we were able to develop a baseline here on the mountain because we really didn’t have one as this new team. All we could do was take what we’ve done so far this year. For us to find a really good quick spot on Friday was great, but I think most importantly was Saturday and running consistently and fast. That’s what’s going to prove to be effective on Sunday.”
“Of course, it’s going to be different conditions, but I’m extremely impressed with the way that this team unified throughout these two days. Everybody scrapped their egos at the door and tuned [the racecar] by a committee and had everyone’s back for whatever the car did whether it went back to number one, or if we made a complete pass. Having those positive surroundings is exactly what was allowing us to broker our power, the way that we would like to. Starting in third position going into Sunday is fantastic. We couldn’t ask for more than a better qualifying position at a Dodge race with our Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel dragster.”
Matt Hagan, Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car:
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.908 seconds @ 323.12 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.968 sec. @ 324.67 mph (3 bonus points for the quickest run of the session)
Qualifying 2: 3.927 sec. @ 319.07 mph (3 bonus points for the quickest run of the session)
Qualifying 3: 3.908 sec. @ 323.12 mph (3 bonus points for the quickest run of the session)
Qualifying 4: 6.600 sec. @ 103.68 mph
“I was impressed that we ran that 3.90 in the heat. The rain cooled everything off but there were still a lot of water grains in the air and the crew chiefs had to make some calls. Then tonight (Q4) was a bummer. I came through the water and the tires spun faster than normal and [the car] got sideways. I can’t hit the throttle with the front end looking at the wall and by then the water dried off the tires and the clutch got hotter. It was not going to be what we were looking for. I mean, we stayed in the No. 1 spot, but we should have run in the 3.85-3.87 second range. If you take the last run out of it, we’ve got a good car on Sunday. This is a Dodge car at the Dodge event. We’re expected to do well and have a shot as much as anyone.”
Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car:
(No. 9 Qualifier – 4.038 seconds @ 306.74 mph)
Qualifying 1: 7.962 sec. @ 92.75 mph
Qualifying 2: 4.081 sec. @ 308.14 mph
Qualifying 3: 4.038 sec. @ 306.74 mph
Qualifying 4: 4.459 sec. @ 206.23 mph
“It’s been a challenging weekend for sure. It was just little things here and there. I kind of let (crew chiefs) John Collins and Rip Reynolds do their thing. I trust that they’re going to do the right thing and get the Snap-on Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat car going fast. Tomorrow is another day because it’s a completely different setup than the cooler evening sessions we’ve had. While I’d like to get all caught up in all the 3.92s and 3.93s, which is what I think we could run, tomorrow’s going to be warmer and I think that’s going to play more into our hands. I’m still optimistic. I still feel like we have had so many great qualifying runs and then fizzled out like in the second round, so while qualifying is cool and important, it’s really about the race day. So that’s what I’m focused on.”