DSR Denver Saturday Qualifying Report

Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Presented by Pennzoil

Event No. 8 of 20
Bandimere Speedway
Morrison, Colo.
July 16-18, 2021

DSR Qualifying Highlights:

  • Matt Hagan closed out qualifying in the No. 1 spot for the second time in 2021, and 42nd time of his career during the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil
  • Hagan rocketed the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Funny Car to the top of the timing sheets in two of three qualifying sessions
  • By earning the pole, the defending Funny Car world champion is one step closer to winning a Bandimere Speedway Wally trophy, a goal he has been chasing for more than a decade 
  • Ron Capps continued his 2021 qualifying trend of earning a ‘top five’ starting position. He charged to the third-quickest pass of Q1 and will start race day from the fourth seed
  • At their first Bandimere Speedway Factory Stock Showdown Series outing, Mark Pawuk and double-duty driver Leah Pruett secured qualifying positions in the top half of the field aboard their Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Paks 

Matt Hagan No. 1 in Denver at Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil

MORRISON, Colo. (July 17, 2021) – 2020 NHRA Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan will start from the pole for the 42nd time in his career on Sunday at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil. Hagan qualified the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye No. 1 on the strength of his blistering 3.966-second at 319.22-mph Friday night Q1 pass.
As a three-time Funny Car world champ, Hagan has crossed many items off of his racing bucket list, but one, in particular, has continued to elude him since he started racing professionally in 2008 – winning the Mile-High Nationals. Hagan is hopeful his No. 1 seed and lane choice advantage will help carry him to his first Bandimere Speedway triumph, and first victory of the 2021 season. Based on his impressive qualifying performance, he appears to be in prime position to close out race day at ‘thunder mountain’ with the Denver hardware in hand.
After earning three bonus points on Friday night for powering to the quickest run of the round, Hagan and the Dickie Venables-led Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat team unloaded with another stout run during Q2 on Saturday, recording a 4.007 E.T. which rewarded the 36-time race winner with another three bonus points for clocking the best run of the session.
“This Mopar Dodge//SRT crew really put a great car underneath me during qualifying this weekend and we’re sitting No. 1 going into race day,” said Hagan, a two-time No. 1 qualifier in 2021. “Dickie Venables, Mike Knudsen, and Alex Conaway are doing a great job and mesh so well together. It’s a great feeling to be No. 1 for your sponsor with Dodge and SRT and Mopar at their event driving the Dodge flagship car. I hope it puts a smile on their faces. We’re always pushing and learning and I’m excited about tomorrow. I’ve never won here on ‘thunder mountain’ and we want to check this one off the box and keep moving forward and up in the points chase. I’m very confident in Dickie and this team on race day.”
Hagan and the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Funny Car team will begin their quest for the 2021 Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals trophy with a round-one match-up versus No. 14 qualifier Chris King. 

Qualified: No. 1

The Competition:  No. 14 Chris King

The Results:
Q1: 3.966 E.T. at 319.22 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.007 E.T. at 315.64 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 7.563 E.T. at 89.45 MPH

Bonus Points: Six


Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 9

The Competition: No. 6 Greg Carrillo

The Results: 
Q1: 4.180 E.T. at 269.78 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.250 E.T. at 224.55 MPH
Q3: 4.030 E.T. at 309.42 MPH

Bonus Points: One

“It’s not where we wanted to be going into race day, but this mountain is always tough to tame. We’re getting there. We need to get the car to run on all eight cylinders and we’ll be right there. Tomorrow the conditions will be way different than they were during qualifying. We’ll race during the day, and it’s going to be a lot hotter. The main thing is to get this Matco Tools Toyota tuned up and to where it needs to be. The guys are working their tails off. We’ll go out there, keep our heads down, put the pedal down, and give it all we got.”


Driver of the Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 11

The Competition: No. 4 Doug Kalitta

The Results: 
Q1: Broke, No Time
Q2: 4.150 E.T. at 234.45 MPH
Q3: 4.056 E.T. at 249.49 MPH

“We had mile-high expectations for this Dodge//SRT team this weekend coming into Denver. Friday was the time to lay it down, and what’s been happening with our cars is a number of odd problems that we have been fixing along the way. We had a bolt breakage on Friday night so we did not get to have the one very important baseline run on the mountain. So, that put us behind and we put a couple of solid runs down today, but we’re a little behind with our fueling with dropped cylinders. We want to be on top of the mountain tomorrow. We’ve been there before here. We have tough competition in the first round with Doug Kalitta. For us, just going one round at a time is super important. I feel like the amazing fan energy and our Mopar muscle is going to take us to where we want to be tomorrow and that’s holding the bronze Wally trophy.”


Funny Car:
Driver of the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 11 Terry Haddock

The Results:
Q1: 3.986 E.T. at 318.09 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.050 E.T. at 314.39 MPH
Q3: 7.300 E.T. at 92.53 MPH

Bonus Points: One

“This race is unique because of the two-night qualifying runs on Friday and Saturday night. It’s a whole new game on race day. It’s going to be different conditions, temperatures, and this is when we rely on the NAPA Know How that I always talk about with our crew chiefs, Guido (Dean Antonelli) and John Medlen, for Pennzoil and NAPA. It’s going to be a lot of fun to wake up, come here in the sun, and race in front of these great fans. The grandstands have been absolutely packed. These Dodge//SRT Mile-High fans are crazy and we love that and I’m aiming to get back in the winner’s circle here at Denver.”

Factory Stock Showdown Series:

Driver of the Empaco Equipment Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

Qualified: No. 8 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 9 Joseph Welch

The Results:
Q1: 8.381 E.T. at 164.75 MPH
Q2: 8.330 E.T. at 164.73 MPH
Q3: 8.348 E.T. at 164.77 MPH
Q4: 11.398 E.T. at 104.26 MPH

“As tough as it is to race here because of the high altitude, the Bandimere family does a fabulous job with this facility. It reminds me a lot of Norwalk, Ohio, with a family-run operation. We saw a huge crowd last night and tonight, and I’m very happy and thankful for the fans. We tested here last week prior to this race and made three good runs in qualifying and really went for it tonight, but it overpowered the track and spun the tires and that knocked me down three spots. We’re still in the top half of the field and looking to have a good, long day on Sunday at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals.”

Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 13 Waldemar Rodriguez

The Results:
Q1: 8.991 E.T. at 154.21 MPH
Q2: 11.831 E.T. at 78.16 MPH
Q3: 8.417 E.T. at 165.80 MPH
Q4: 8.261 E.T. at 167.24 MPH


“We’ve really been working hard the past few weeks with setups and testing these two Drag Pak Challengers. Between Mark’s car and mine, we’ve been working with some different parts and we’re still figuring out the configuration with this new 2021 Drag Pak with the shocks and suspension and transitions and transfer. So far, it seems like the tune-up is working and that’s kudos to the work the team did with testing. I’ve never been so happy with an 8.26 and that puts us fourth in the field against some stout heavy-hitters. This is what we expect of this Mopar team, to dig deep and find some gold here on the mountain.”

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