Denver: Mopar Saturday summary

Mopar places three into Pro Stock field Bazemore takes home third MORRISON, Colo. (July 19, 2003) -- Allen Johnson and Darrell Alderman paced the Mopar factory Pro Stock effort for tomorrow's Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere ...

Mopar places three into Pro Stock field
Bazemore takes home third

MORRISON, Colo. (July 19, 2003) -- Allen Johnson and Darrell Alderman paced the Mopar factory Pro Stock effort for tomorrow's Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

Johnson, who wields the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T, maintained the 13th-qualifying position with a 7.269-second elapsed time at 189.68 mph. The Greeneville, Tenn., resident will face off against Jim Yates in round one.

"We still missed it down low a little bit," said Johnson, talking about his fourth-round qualifying pass. "It felt like we made up some ground in a positive direction on that last one. We had a couple of hundredths left in it. We felt like we should have run a 7.28 or a 7.29 (second elapsed time). Those numbers would be in the hunt.

"This track gets really tricky," Johnson said. "I think we had a bad set of tires during the first few rounds of qualifying. We changed tires for that run, but we needed to adjust a little more. When you put something new (tires) on like that, you're not sure which way to go. We feel like we're ready for tomorrow and we think we can go some rounds."

Three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion Darrell Alderman qualified right behind his Johnson & Johnson Racing teammate. Alderman's Hemi-powered Dodge Stratus clicked off a 7.279-second lap at 189.92 mph, setting up a first round match up with Ron Krisher. Alderman defeated Krisher in the first round of last year's Mopar Mile-High Nationals.

"I think we could have run just a little bit better," Alderman said. "We tried some new tires on our last run, but we spun them a little more than we would have liked. We're going back to our baseline tomorrow and hopefully go some rounds.

"The track should be hot for tomorrow," Alderman added. "If it's going to be as hot as it was today, it will be a challenge for us."

The DBP Enterprises Dodge Neon of Greg Stanfield landed the 10th-qualified slot after running a 7.266-second elapsed time at 189.90 mph. The Bossier City, La., racer has a round one match with defending Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin, Jr.

"We need to get a handle on this car," Stanfield said. "We're backing up. We're going to go back to a baseline and go from there. I don't think lane choice is going to mean a lot, and if we go back to what we first qualified with, we should be okay. I also want to get him (Jeg) on the starting line too."

Larry Morgan was unable to crack the top 16 with his Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus. The Newark, Ohio resident ran to a 7.312-second elapsed time at 188.57 mph. Morgan's Mopar teammate and 2002 NHRA Rookie of the Year Gene Wilson also missed the show. The 30-year-old hotshoe ran a weekend best time of 7.350 seconds at 188.25 mph.

Bazemore Takes Third; Scelzi Grabs the 16th Slot...

Matco Tools Funny Car driver Whit Bazemore, who is piloting the Mopar 'Bling Bling' Dodge Stratus this weekend, maneuvered his way to the third-qualified position with a 5.061-second elapsed time at 300.00 mph. The Indianapolis resident will take on Terry Haddock in the first round of eliminations.

"We are a little disappointed because the conditions were right to grab the pole," said Bazemore, on his 5.19 second fourth session pass. "We were trying to get the top spot on that last one. We took some spoiler away from the car, and we were just a little bit too aggressive for these conditions.

"It's still been a decent weekend so far," Bazemore continued. "The heat is pretty amazing out here. It's the same for everyone and we're fortunate that we can adjust the aerodynamics on this Dodge Stratus body. We can turn up the downforce a lot more than the others. That will give us an advantage and we know where we are for tomorrow. We just have to get more control on our engine and clutch. The guy that wins tomorrow will be the one that spins the tires the least."

Gary Scelzi squeaked into the field with his Oakley-sponsored Dodge Stratus Funny Car. Despite improving his elapsed time at 5.192 seconds at 287.84 mph, it wasn't enough to move up the elimination ladder. The Fresno, Calif., resident's round one opponent is No. 1 qualifier Tim Wilkerson.

"We've been behind with our superchargers this weekend," Scelzi said. "We got to the point where we just had to get down the race track. We figured we could have run a 5.13-second elapsed time and that's what we were trying for. We had a supercharger eat itself on that run. It was a blessing that it actually made it to the finish line. We spun the tires and did everything that we shouldn't have done. Tomorrow is going to be hot and slippery. We'll see. This place is one of those places that's like no other, but we have a few tricks up our sleeves."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Darrell Alderman , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Gene Wilson , Greg Stanfield , Tim Wilkerson , Allen Johnson , Terry Haddock