Denver: Friday summary

MORRISON, Colo. - Gary Scelzi led all Top Fuel competitors Friday at the 22nd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at scenic Bandimere Speedway. Bruce Sarver, Bruce Allen and Antron Brown also led their respective categories at the...

MORRISON, Colo. - Gary Scelzi led all Top Fuel competitors Friday at the 22nd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at scenic Bandimere Speedway.

Bruce Sarver, Bruce Allen and Antron Brown also led their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the 14th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Scelzi blasted his Alan Johnson-tuned Team Winston dragster down the quarter-mile in 4.646 seconds at 315.64 mph to set the pace in the field and edge current Winston points leader Kenny Bernstein for the top spot. Scelzi is aiming for his second straight No. 1 qualifying position in an attempt to make a second-half surge in the standings. The 23-time event winner is still seeking his first victory of the year.

"I like being No. 1," said Scelzi. "Every qualifying point counts right now, especially with the year we have been having. The car has made tremendous power all season but we have been having some problems with the new clutches we have been using. A lot of other teams have been having clutch problems too. We are starting to figure it out and if we get it right, we will be good for a long time. And I don't mean just this year, but for several years to come."

Sarver, who is Scelzi's teammate, powered his e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird to an elapsed time track record run of 4.959 at 307.02 to lead the Funny Car field. Sarver's effort gave team owner Johnson two No. 1 qualifiers after the first day of competition.

"(Crew chief) Richard (Hogan) said that if the Firebird 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 at half-track, and to do that up here (in the elevation) is pretty impressive. The Firebird was just perfect. I couldn't be happier. This was a great way to start a weekend."

Last season Whit Bazemore made the first Funny Car pass under five seconds at the mountain side facility. Six drivers made passes in the 4.90s during the evening qualifying session with Sarver leading the way.

Allen drove his Pontiac Grand Am to the top of the Pro Stock order when he covered the distance in 7.273 at 188.91 just ahead of fellow Pontiac Grand Am driver Jim Yates.

Darrell Alderman and Mark Osborne made a strong debut in the new Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/Ts, qualifying fourth and tenth respectively in the ultra-competitive category.

Brown rode his Team 23 Suzuki to a Pro Stock Motorcycle elapsed time track record pass of 7.641 at 176.88 to lead the two-wheel category just ahead of hometown favorite Matt Hines. Current Winston champion and defending event winner Angelle Savoie is currently qualified seventh, her worst spot of the year after the first day of qualifying.

Professional qualifying continues Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

-NHRA

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Bruce Sarver , Matt Hines , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Bruce Allen