Denver: Friday qualifying report

PEDREGON TAKES PROVISIONAL TOP SPOT IN FUNNY CAR; McCLENATHAN, JOHNSON, JOHNSON ALSO PROVISIONAL NO. 1 QUALIFIERS IN DENVER MORRISON, Colo. -- Tony Pedregon raced to the provisional No. 1 qualifier at the 29th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals...

PEDREGON TAKES PROVISIONAL TOP SPOT IN FUNNY CAR; McCLENATHAN, JOHNSON, JOHNSON ALSO PROVISIONAL NO. 1 QUALIFIERS IN DENVER

MORRISON, Colo. -- Tony Pedregon raced to the provisional No. 1 qualifier at the 29th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver.

Cory McClenathan, Allen Johnson and Steve Johnson were also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 13th of 24 events on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

This was the first time in NHRA history that Top Fuel and Funny Car ran at the interim distance of 1,000 feet.

Pedregon drove his Q Horsepower Chevy Impala SS to a 4.212-second pass at 286.50 mph to become the provisional top qualifier. It would be Pedregon's second No. 1 qualifier of the season, 33rd of his career, and first in Denver.

"The track surface itself is in excellent condition and that's some of the feedback that I got," said Pedregon. "As well as we've been doing recently, we haven't been able to qualify in the top three and that's something that we've lacked. I hope that if we can hold on to the position that it will be even more encouraging."

Funny Car points leader Tim Wilkerson sits fifth after two rounds of qualifying, while defending event winner Jack Beckman is just below him in the sixth spot.

Top Fuel pilot Cory McClenathan drove his FRAM dragster to the provisional No. 1 spot with a 3.929 at 308.07. It would be McClenathan's second No. 1 qualifier of the season, 32nd of his career and third at Bandimere Speedway.

"This is the right thing to do right now," said McClenathan, referring to the change of the racing surface from 1,320 feet to 1,000 feet. "This is one of those tracks that I've been able to see grow. (The Bandimere's) just care about the racers and it's great to come to a place like this."

Defending world champion and current points leader Tony Schumacher sits in the second spot while defending event winner Rod Fuller sits 12th.

Defending event winner in Pro Stock, Allen Johnson, picked up where he left off last year in Denver when he drove his Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus to the provisional top spot with a 7.037 run at 195.17. It would be his second of the season, fifth of his career, and second consecutive No. 1 qualifier at Bandimere Speedway.

"We've tested probably more than anyone else here over the past few years," said Johnson. "We've felt momentum really coming our way the past couple races. We're going to use this race and the Western Swing to really amplify that."

Points leader Greg Anderson just missed the top spot of the day, coming in second.

Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Steve Johnson drove his Snap-On Tools/Wyotech Suzuki to a 7.367 at 178.00 to sit in the provisional No. 1 spot. It would be only Johnson's second No. 1 qualifier of his career--his last coming in 1995 in Atlanta.

"I've never been a No. 1 qualifier as a team owner,'" said Johnson. "The crew did their job, they made the right decisions. They changed that motorcycle 1,000 percent from what it has been and what did we get? Numero Uno!"

Points leader Andrew Hines sits second while defending event winner Matt Smith is sixth.

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Sunday's eliminations begin at noon.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Greg Anderson , Cory McClenathan , Tim Wilkerson , Jack Beckman , Allen Johnson , Andrew Hines , Steve Johnson , Matt Smith