Russell, Worsham, Edwards and Hines celebrate victories at Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals. MORRISON, Colo. -- Darrell Russell earned his second Top Fuel victory of the season and the fourth of his career Sunday at the Mopar Parts Mile-High ...
Russell, Worsham, Edwards and Hines celebrate victories at Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals.
MORRISON, Colo. -- Darrell Russell earned his second Top Fuel victory of the season and the fourth of his career Sunday at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, continuing a legacy of dominance by Joe Amato Racing at Bandimere Speedway.
Del Worsham, Mike Edwards and Matt Hines also were winners of the $1.8 million race, the 13th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Russell used a holeshot start in his Bilstein Engine Flush dragster to get the win over the quicker dragster driven by Cory McClenathan. Russell covered the quarter-mile distance in 4.877 seconds at 301.07 mph and crossed the finish line just in front of McClenathan's machine, which clocked a quicker, but losing 4.898 at 295.53.
Russell defeated Scott Weis, Paul Romine, and local favorite Melanie Troxel to advance to his seventh career final round, and put him in position to take the $40,000 victory.
"This is one of those big races that you want to win as a driver," said Russell, who gave team owner Amato his seventh Bandimere Speedway victory (Amato won six here as a driver). "Not just because of the great history of this race and all the success that Amato Racing has had here in the past, but because of the difficult conditions that we face at this track and the things you must do as a driver to get it done here. This is a real sweet victory."
Kenny Bernstein used a semifinal finish to trim first round loser Larry Dixon's points lead to 119. Worsham captured his third win of the season and the 10th of his career in Funny Car, defeating two-time Denver winner Tony Pedregon in a classic Pontiac vs. Ford matchup. Worsham's Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird posted a 5.160 at 293.15 to hold off Pedregon's Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang, which recorded a 5.193 at 291.13.
"After qualifying was over I don't think anyone felt we had a shot at winning this race," said Worsham, who qualified ninth before defeating Tommy Johnson Jr., top qualifier Scotty Cannon and former teammate Frank Pedregon to advance to the final and earn the $40,000 payday. "This gives our team a ton of momentum heading into a tough stretch of races. In the last 13 months we've won a lot of races. Every season it seems like we get a little bit better. I hope we can keep building on this and win the POWERade championship. In the past it seemed like we would blow a lot of opportunities. This year we've been taking advantage of those situations. I hope we can push this championship chase all the way to Pomona (Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona Raceway, Nov. 7-10)."
Worsham dedicated the victory to his team manager's late father, Del Wilber, who played professional baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals and was a former manager of the Triple-A Denver Bears. He passed away earlier this week.
With the victory, Worsham moved to third place in the POWERade points order for Funny Car, 112 behind leader John Force.
Mike Edwards took his second victory of the year and 11th of his career in Pro Stock, defeating Allen Johnson in a Chevy vs. Dodge finale. Edwards drove his Chevy Cavalier to a 7.339 at 188.41 to edge Johnson's Dodge Neon, which clocked a 7.347 at 189.07.
"Our car wasn't the fastest, but it ran good all day and we were able to get it done," said Edwards, who earned $25,000 for the win. "Pro Stock is so unpredictable. The only thing that's for sure is that if you can qualify, you've got a shot at winning the race. It's pretty competitive right now. We had fun today."
Pro Stock points leader Jim Yates remained in front, despite not qualifying for the event. Warren Johnson moved to second with a semifinal effort, 47 behind the leader. Greg Anderson, who could've tied Yates for the lead with a win, lost in the second round and dropped to third overall, 60 points out of first.
Hines, from nearby Trinidad, Colo., ended more than a year's absence from the winner's circle in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and was able to celebrate his 29th career victory in front of family and friends. Hines powered his Eagle One Suzuki to a winning run of 7.634 at 180.04, but didn't need the performance when final round opponent and rival Angelle Savoie fouled at the start on her CVEC Racing Suzuki.
"It's been a long time since we've won," said an elated Hines, who topped Greg Underdahl, Mike Berry and Craig Treble to advance to his 44th career final. "We've been a win waiting to happen, but haven't been able to catch a break lately. We finally did it today. It feels good to get a win here at home."
Savoie remained in the points lead, 121 ahead of second place rider Treble. Hines moved to fourth in the order with the $10,000 victory, 208 behind the leader.
The next event in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is the Lucas Oil NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 26-28, at Pacific Raceways near Seattle.