Dodge//SRT and Mopar entries kicked off the 41st edition of the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series event held near Denver, Colorado, with Friday night qualifying runs under the lights at Bandimere Speedway.
Current Funny Car World Champion Matt Hagan charged to the provisional No.1 qualifier position aboard his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Funny Car in his quest to earn his first national event win of the 2021 NHRA season and a coveted Wally trophy at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals. Hagan powered his Mopar to the top spot with a 3.966-second elapsed time run at 319.22 mph at the picturesque drag strip known as “thunder mountain”, set 5,800 feet above sea level. While a win at his sponsor’s title event has eluded him in 12 previous attempts, Hagan’s best performances on the all-concrete track include No. 1 qualifier position in 2010 and a runner-up finish in 2011.
“OK, we’re back, baby, we’re back! Dickie Venables is putting the tune-up up here on the mountain and the car felt great and ran great. It ran on all eight cylinders and I can’t ask for anything more than that. It’s the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals, we’re running the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye and it’s time we put this thing in the winner’s circle after more than a decade of trying, Hagan said.”
Running alongside Hagan in the adjacent lane was DSR teammate Ron Capps, who powered his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the provisional No. 3 spot with a 3.986-second pass at 318.09 mph. Capps previously took home No.1 qualifier honors and a Wally trophy from Bandimere in 2009, along with three runner-up finishes (1998, 2007, 2018) in 23 attempts. Capps has qualified in the top-five at every event so far this year aboard his HEMI®-powered Hellcat.
While fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Cruz Pedregon powered off early on his first run, he and his Snap-on Tools Pedregon Racing team remain in high spirits after consistent improvements this season resulted in a trip to the winner’s circle at the previous event in Norwalk, Ohio. In 27 Funny Car appearances at Bandimere Speedway, Pedregon has won twice (1993 and 2013), posted three runner-up finishes (2003, 2004, and 2006), and two No. 1 qualifier positions (2011 and 2013).
While DSR Top Fuel pilot Leah Pruett wasn’t able to make her first run of the weekend after a mechanical issue on the burnout, she wasn’t discouraged and expects to make some solid passes on Saturday evening aboard her Mopar Dodge//SRT Redeye dragster in an effort to repeat her No. 1 qualifier positions in 2017 and 2018, resulting in a runner-up finish and a win, respectively. She also set the current track record elapsed time run of 3.733 seconds in optimal cool conditions in 2017.
Pruett was also back at the wheel of her 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak for two Friday qualifying sessions at the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) debut at Denver, the fourth event of the eight-race series, and is looking forward to running two more qualifying laps on Saturday to improve on her best pass of 8.991 seconds at 154.21 mph. Fellow DSR-prepared Drag Pak driver Mark Pawuk took his Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger for two consistent runs that put him among the top-five with a best pass of 8.330 seconds at 164.73 mph.
All the on-track action at the Dodge//SRT Mile High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil will be live-streamed via NHRA.TV throughout the weekend, while FS1 will provide television highlights Sunday, July 18th, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET, with coverage of Sunday’s elimination rounds from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. ET. This weekend’s event kicks off the NHRA’s three-race western swing that includes Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California, and Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, California, over consecutive weeks.