Denver: Pontiac Friday notes

DENVER, Colo., July 20, 2001 - Qualifying for the 22nd annual Mile-High Nationals got underway today at Bandimere Speedway. In Pro Stock, Bruce Allen took advantage of the cool evening conditions and drove the Reher Morrison Pontiac Grand Am to...

DENVER, Colo., July 20, 2001 - Qualifying for the 22nd annual Mile-High Nationals got underway today at Bandimere Speedway. In Pro Stock, Bruce Allen took advantage of the cool evening conditions and drove the Reher Morrison Pontiac Grand Am to the No. 1 position with a 7.273 elapsed time at 188.91 mph. Currently ninth in the points standings, Allen is looking for his third raceday pole position in 2001.

"We may not end up low after tomorrow's two sessions, but it's definitely a good run right now," said Allen. "We came up here last week with our Grand Am and made a lot of runs on Wednesday and Thursday. We tested a lot of different parts, saw the conditions change a number of times and that helped us quite a bit coming in here today. We hit on a pretty good setup, and with the track being as smooth as it was, we were able to make a pretty nice pass.

"We've run well all year. Our Pontiac's been extremely fast at times, maybe not as consistent as we'd like but we've had our share of quick laps. Coming up here testing helps because with the altitude, it's different from anywhere else we run all year. If you haven't done your homework you could be in trouble. We got an idea last week what we needed to do and tonight it paid off."

Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am driver Jim Yates follows Allen in the No. 2 position, Warren Johnson is third in a Grand Am posting a track-record top speed of 189.71 mph, Darrell Alderman is fourth in a Neon and Kurt Johnson, the No. 1 qualifier after the first session, ends the day fifth.

Bruce Sarver led the Funny Car field in the e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird leaping to the front of the pack in the night session with a track-record elapsed time of 4.959 seconds at 307.02 mph.

"Richard (Hogan) said that if it stuck it would run a 4.95 and that's what happened," said Sarver. "The run was as smooth as glass and as straight as an arrow. We were running 247 mph to halftrack and to do that up here is pretty impressive. This Firebird was just perfect. It's not moving around, it has plenty of downforce and it didn't spin the tires at all on the top end. I couldn't be happier. This was a great way to start the weekend.

"Alan (Johnson) felt like it was time to play hardball so we gave it our best shot. The car felt like it was as sea-level. It took off, had the wheels up all the way to about 400 feet downtrack, came down and still had my head pushed all the way back in the head rest. It pulled hard all the way down the track. Up here with no air, our Firebird was glued to the ground."

Six Funny Cars including Sarver's Pontiac broke the old track record of 4.990 seconds set here last year by Whit Bazemore. Tommy Johnson Jr. is qualified second in a Camaro, John Force is third in a Mustang, Gary Densham is fourth in a Mustang and defending champion Bazemore is fifth in a Firebird.

The 22nd annual Mile-High Nationals is the 14th race on the 24-event NHRA Winston Drag Racing tour. ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying highlights on Saturday, July 21 starting at 6 p.m. Eastern. Final eliminations will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday, July 22 beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern.

-GM Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Darrell Alderman , Warren Johnson , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Gary Densham , Tommy Johnson Jr.