Denver: Mopar Saturday qualifying notes

MORRISON, Colo. (July 15, 2000) - It was a stellar Saturday of performance for the NHRA Dodge Avenger contingent during the final day of qualifying for the 22nd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Dodge Motorsports...

MORRISON, Colo. (July 15, 2000) - It was a stellar Saturday of performance for the NHRA Dodge Avenger contingent during the final day of qualifying for the 22nd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

Dodge Motorsports standout Larry Morgan led the way in Pro Stock action. The Ohio resident, who clicked off an impressive 7.355-second elapsed time at 186.85 mph in Friday's second session, nabbed the third qualifying position and will face Rickie Smith in round one of eliminations Sunday.

"I am so impressed with this Dodge Motorsports team and the new Hemi engine," said Morgan, who was unable to improve during today's two sessions. "We did a little experimenting today and I can't wait for tomorrow. I can't wait to get out there; it has been a long time since I've been in this position.

"It's always good to qualify well during your sponsor's event," Morgan continued.

Team Mopar Dodge Avenger ace Darrell Alderman also took measure of the suburban Denver quarter mile. The three-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock World Champion also qualified in the top half of the Pro Stock bracket with a 7.36/187.03 effort following yesterday's last session. Alderman will take on Mark Pawuk in a first-round eliminator tomorrow.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow," Alderman said. "The left lane is definitely the best. I'm happy for the Team Mopar crew, they really work hard and have found the right combination."

Scott Geoffrion drove a second Team Mopar Dodge Avenger to the 16th qualifying position with a right-lane blast of 7.407/185.15. The nine-time NHRA national event winner pairs off against No. 1 qualifier Kurt Johnson in round one.

"We finally caught a break in qualifying," Geoffrion said. "This is the first time that a hundredth of a second went in our favor. We have spent too much time on the other side of that number this year. I'm ready for tomorrow."

Crew chief/driver Mark Ingersoll almost completed a Team Mopar trifecta when he wheeled his Dodge Avenger just outside of the top 16 with a 7.41/185.51.

The Dodge Avenger of Nitro Funny Car pilot Dean Skuza dropped to fifth after today's final two sessions. Skuza clocked a 5.119-second elapsed time at a track-record speed of 303.91 mph during Friday's night qualifier.

Skuza faces Houston national event winner Bob Gilbertson in round one.

"After our St. Louis performance, I'm real confident with this Mopar," said Skuza, who made a final-round appearance three weekends ago in the Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway just outside St. Louis. "The car has a lot left and we have lane choice in round one. It should be a fun afternoon here at Bandimere tomorrow. Team Mopar has been quite impressive this weekend."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Scott Geoffrion , Rickie Smith