Matt Hagan powered his Dodge Charger SRT® Hellcat Redeye to the top of “thunder mountain” and the Funny Car timing sheets to earn the No. 1 qualifier position for Sunday’s Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series event held near Denver, Colorado, at the picturesque Bandimere Speedway. Sunday’s national event at the Rocky Mountains venue will be Dodge//SRT and Mopar® brands 32nd as title sponsors, the longest consecutive and active sponsorship in all of motorsports.
Hagan secured his second top-qualifier honor of the 2021 NHRA season and the 42nd of his career with his 3.966-second pass at 319.22 mph on Friday under the lights. The three-time NHRA Funny Car world champion collected a total of six bonus points by posting the quickest pass in two of three qualifying sessions with his Mopar machine. He’ll begin pursuit of the coveted Wally trophy at his sponsor’s long-time headline national event with a first round match-up against No. 14 qualifier and rookie Chris King.
Running alongside Hagan in the adjacent lane for all three sessions was DSR teammate Ron Capps who qualified his HEMI®-powered Funny Car in the top-five for an eighth consecutive event this year. He drove his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the No. 4 spot on the eliminations ladder with his 3.986 second pass at 318.09 mph from Friday which earned him a bonus point for setting the third quickest run of Q1. Capps will have No. 11 seed Terry Haddock in the lane next to him for the opening round of eliminations.
Fresh off a win at the previous event, the Pedregon Racing team headed into the final qualifying session without a baseline run but gave their driver and team owner Cruz Pedregon exactly what he needed to post the third quickest run of the session and earn a bonus point. His Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat ran a solid 4.074 sec./313.29 mph to position him in ninth place overall and pair him up with No. 6 seed Paul Lee on Sunday morning.
In Top Fuel action, DSR Dodge//SRT Redeye dragster pilot Leah Pruett had her best run in Saturday night’s final qualifying session under the lights at the Rocky Mountain dragstrip with a 4.056-second elapsed time run at 249.49 mph to put her 11th on the eliminations ladder where she will start her race day battling No. 4 qualifier Doug Kalitta.
Pruett also pulled double duty for a fourth time this season by taking the wheel of her 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak for the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) series debut this weekend at Denver. Both Pruett and her teammate Mark Pawuk had four qualifying runs to get their race cars running to their liking and successfully qualified them in the top half of the field for Sunday’s contest.
With a solid final pass, Pruett drove her 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak to the fourth quickest pass in FSS qualifying with an 8.261-second elapsed time run at 167.24 mph to set up a meeting with No. 13 Waldemar Rodriguez in the opening round.
Pawuk and his Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger had their best run in Q2 with an 8.330-second pass at 164.73 mph. They ended up eighth on the ladder and will see No. 9 seed Joseph Welch in the first round of FSS competition. The Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil will be live streamed via NHRA.TV with FS1 providing qualifying highlights on Sunday, July 18, from 3-4 p.m. Eastern, and coverage of Sunday’s elimination rounds from 4-7 p.m. Eastern.