MORRISON, Colo. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed eliminations for this weekend's 23rd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. NOTABLE: DBP Motorsports Dodge Neon R/T pilot Greg Stanfield...
MORRISON, Colo. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed eliminations for this weekend's 23rd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
NOTABLE: DBP Motorsports Dodge Neon R/T pilot Greg Stanfield made a semifinal round appearance in his first NHRA Pro Stock start of his career. The Bossier City, La., driver, a standout in the Pro Stock Truck category last season, outran George Marnell in the first round (7.288 to 7.323) and Darrell Alderman in round two.
Hemi-powered Dodge Neon R/T driver Allen Johnson beat Stanfield in a close semifinal.
DEAN SKUZA, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T
It was a nice day for the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T of Dean Skuza. The two-time NHRA national event winner drove to the semifinals before being nipped by Tony Pedregon.
Skuza moved into the round of four by defeating John Force in the second round and Dale Creasy, Jr., in round one. Skuza's second-round victory was impressive, beating Force off the line (.474-.511) and on the scoreboard with a 5.194-second elapsed time at 294.33 mph. Force clocked a 5.237-second lap at 280.02 mph.
"That was almost good enough for us," said Skuza, who grabbed the 10th qualifying position."We had two weeks off after St. Louis and we all agreed that if we have a good three races on the Western swing it would be huge. We really wanted to win this race though, for obvious reasons. I know that all the brass from DaimlerChrysler and Mopar keep up with it throughout the year, but this is really the only place they get a chance to see it live. There's nothing better than showing off in front of your sponsor.
"I really thought it was our race," Skuza added."It was only .028 of a second difference between Tony and I at the finish line. We wanted to get aggressive with the car, but I was so afraid of being too aggressive. We tried to find that happy medium. Tony was the car to beat this weekend. Since that car came off the trailer, that thing was running teens and 5.00-second passes. He ran a 5.10 in the second round. It would have been easy to say that you needed to run a 5.09 to beat him. We didn't want to do that, but we really tried to run a 5.12 or a 5.15-second run. We thought that if we improved a little bit in a couple areas, like getting one-to-one a little smoother, we could have run a 5.15 or so. I went in a little deeper, so that was probably another two hundredths of a second. So it probably equaled the 5.19. From there, it's just a numbers game. Those are close and they are heartbreakers and I just hope that they are happy with it. I know no one here is happy with it, but were making a good turn here. We want to finish the second half of the season strong. We think we can get back into the top-five in points and that wouldn't surprise any of us on this team.
"Another thing that I'm proud of this weekend is that we went down the track seven times in Denver," Skuxa continued." I don't know if we've ever done that before. All four qualifying laps were quick enough to qualify in the field. We're right there with this thing. We're not even reaching our potential. We're taking a conservative approach to it. We learned from St. Louis that you can get too aggressive out there. I think that we're on to something and we need to stay focused. We just can't get giddy with our success."
Skuza logged a 6.161-second elapsed time at 287.41 mph en route to victory in round one.
DARRELL ALDERMAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Darrell Alderman, despite taking a holeshot advantage on the starting line (.438-.474), fell in the second round of competition to fellow Dodge Neon driver Greg Stanfield. The three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion and driver of the Mopar Parts factory entry made a 7.361-second pass at 187.96 mph. Stanfield clocked a quicker 7.321/188.52 combination.
"It helped to get by Krisher in the first round," Alderman stated."The second round was just a good drag race and we came up a little bit short. The air was a little bit better today and the track seemed pretty good to me. We spun the tires pretty hard on that last run."
Alderman advanced to the second round when No. 1 qualifier Ron Krisher red lit in the first round of competition. The 28-time NHRA national event champ had a solid .438 of a second reaction time and an elapsed time if 7.342 seconds at 188.31 mph.