MORRISON, Colo. (July 14, 2000) - Larry Morgan, driver of the Dodge Motorsports NHRA Pro Stock Avenger, stunned a packed house during Friday's first round of qualifying for the 22nd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
MORRISON, Colo. (July 14, 2000) - Larry Morgan, driver of the Dodge Motorsports NHRA Pro Stock Avenger, stunned a packed house during Friday's first round of qualifying for the 22nd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Morgan ripped off a 7.35-second elapsed time at 186.85 mph en route to capturing the second slot.
Lou Patane, vice president of motorsports and Mopar Performance Parts, who works closely with the Mopar-powered teams, was in attendance for the Mopar sponsored event and witnessed the impressive outing by Morgan.
"I have to give Lou a lot of credit for this," Morgan said. "He talked to me in Chicago and told me to work on the Hemi engine. He even said to take some time off to run better.
"I tell you what, it has really paid off," Morgan continued. "We found the right combination when we tested last week. We put more compression in the Hemi because of the low air density, which resulted in a great high-altitude engine. Even though we have two sessions left, I never dreamed we would be second."
The Team Mopar Dodge Avenger of Darrell Alderman was equally impressive at the 5,800-foot elevation, when he clicked off a 7.36/187.03 combination. The three-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock World Champion took the fourth qualifying position and the third fastest time of the day.
"The left lane is outstanding here," said Alderman, who made his second pass in the left lane. "This is still a new car for me and I messed up on my shifting a little. This car is quick enough to take the pole.
"It's hard to beat this new Hemi engine when the combination is right," Alderman added. "We need to run well at our own event. I think we've shown that."
Team Mopar Dodge Avenger driver Scott Geoffrion barely missed the top 16, after driving to a 7.45/185.49 effort. The run landed Geoffrion in the 17th slot.
"The right lane was real slick and I spun the tires," Geoffrion said. "We have the left lane during tomorrow morning's session and we should be in good shape. There is a lot more left in my Hemi engine."
Driver and crew chief Mark Ingersoll, in his first competitive driving stint for the Team Mopar Dodge Avenger squad, failed to qualify after lapping the suburban Denver quarter mile at 7.46/185.59.
Not to be outdone by the Mopar Pro Stock contingent, Matco Tools/Mopar Parts Nitro Funny Car driver Dean Skuza nabbed the third qualifying position and broke the track's top-speed record. Skuza managed a 5.11/303.91 blast.
"We were really off on our first pass," said Skuza, who smoked the tires off the line in the first session. "The car was really fast in the second session. It threw me back in the seat and I knew it was a good run.
"Our Mopar powerplant still has something left," Skuza continued. "We have a shot at number one tomorrow."