Denver: Saturday summary

Bernstein, Bazemore, Anderson and Hines Earn No. 1 Qualifying Spots at The Mopar Mile-High Nhra Nationals MORRISON, Colo. - Greg Anderson decided to debut a new race car this weekend and the results mirror the rest of the season. Anderson ...

Bernstein, Bazemore, Anderson and Hines Earn No. 1 Qualifying Spots at The Mopar Mile-High Nhra Nationals

MORRISON, Colo. - Greg Anderson decided to debut a new race car this weekend and the results mirror the rest of the season. Anderson paced the Pro Stock category Saturday, earning the No. 1 qualifying spot at the 25th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel), Whit Bazemore (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Bike) also earned the No. 1 qualifying position in their respective categories at the $1.8 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event.

Anderson has earned the No. 1 qualifier 10 times this season and 27 times in his career. He has posted nine victories in 10 final rounds after the first 12 events this season. Anderson decided to bring a new race car to Denver. The results are the No. 1 spot with a run of 7.159 seconds at 192.47 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am.

After the first two qualifying sessions were rained out on Friday, Anderson started to question the idea of bringing a new car to the track.

"People must think I am nuts to bring out a new car when the old one won nine races already," Anderson said. "But I thought we should try it and see what happened. (Teammate) Jason Line has the old car and if this one doesn't work out, we know where the old car is and we can repo it if we have to."

Anderson's run was good enough to set the track record for time. Anderson has set 10 track records this season.

"The rain changes everything," Anderson said. "Everyone gets nervous when it gets down to two sessions. The Friday night sessions were always good to us and it's a setback when we don't have that entire day.

"I feel very confident. When I get into that car, I know it's going to be fast. If I do my job as a driver, we can win races."

Bernstein earned the fourth top qualifying award of the season and sixth of his career when he drove his Budweiser dragster to a 4.677 run at 308.43 in Top Fuel. Bernstein has been the top qualifier at three of the last four events.

All professional Top Fuel and Funny Car teams were given new tire specs to run for the first time this weekend. The change was made in hopes of improving the safety on the track.

"We knew we'd all struggle this weekend with the new tire and the tire pressure, but I don't think any of us expected to have to go into race day with just two runs under our belt," Bernstein said. "Fortunately, we're all in the same boat. It really will be a bit of a crapshoot tomorrow and on top of everything else, it's supposed to be hot and sunny, so we'll be guessing that much more."

Bazemore led Funny Car and set the track E.T. record with a 4.842 pass at 312.50 in his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T. Bazemore has been the No. 1 qualifier 27 times in his career, three times this season.

"It's a very tricky race track, especially now," Bazemore said. "It always has been. It's very challenging. The altitude always presents a problem with making horsepower and making downforce and now with shortened qualifying sessions and a new tire made it more challenging."

Hines has earned six career No. 1 qualifying honors - all coming this season on the Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson. Hines went 7.509 at 185.66 to set both ends of the track record.

"The bike has always run well up here," Hines said. "We made a few changes after the first round and it woke up the bike for the second pass. At least we can go into tomorrow with two good passes under our belts."

Final eliminations are set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Greg Anderson , Brandon Bernstein , Jason Line , Andrew Hines