Denver: Friday qualifying report Racing series
BERNSTEIN, HIGHT, ANDERSON & SCHNITZ PROVISIONAL LEADERS AT MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS AT SCENIC BANDIMERE
MORRISON, Colo. -- Brandon Bernstein was the provisional Top Fuel qualifier Friday at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at scenic Bandimere Speedway.
Bernstein blasted the Budweiser dragster down the quarter-mile in 4.596 seconds at a track record speed of 330.88 mph to lead all competitors with Tony Schumacher and Larry Dixon following Bernsteing in the qualifying order.
"It's a pretty amazing feat to run a 330 up here in this altitude," said Bernstein, who won the NHRA's last event outside of St. Louis. "It would have gone quicker but the car was all over the place. I saw Tony make his run and thought that was amazing, but they are such a good team over there. Then we were able to run a speed of almost 331, that was impressive and it is all because of (crew chief) Tim (Richards) and (wife) Kim (Richards)."
Prior to the first round of professional qualifying, a heavy storm moved in and soaked the racing surface, dropping the temperature of the race track to a temperature that was considerably cooler than expected.
"The rain we had earlier today was huge," Bernstein said. "It cooled off the track so much and made it much better for racing."
Robert Hight, Greg Anderson and Ryan Schnitz also led their respective categories after the first day of qualifying for the $1.8 million race, the 13th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Funny Car rookie Hight set both ends of the track record in his Auto Club Ford Mustang, crossing the finish line in 4.796 at 322.58 to pace the 16-car field. Hight was followed in the qualifying order by Whit Bazemore and Ron Capps.
Anderson, the two-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock world champion and current points leader, covered the distance in a track record time of 7.106 at 194.07 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO. Anderson, who was competing in the new GTO for the first time, edged out former employer and No. 2 qualifier Warren Johnson and teammate Jason Line for the top spot, with Line qualifying his Pontiac Grand Am third.
Schnitz shut off the clocks atop his Team Muzzy Buell in a track record time of 7.453 at a track record speed of 186.54 to lead the two-wheel category. The 23-year-old Schnitz was followed in the qualifying order by defending POWERade world champion Andrew Hines and Craig Treble, respectively.
Professional qualifying continues Saturday at 10 a.m.