After years of trying, defending world champ Matt Hagan finally picked up his first career victory at Bandimere Speedway, powering to the Funny Car win on Sunday at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the eighth race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, as all three defending world champs kicked off the famed three-race NHRA Western Swing with victories.

Winning in the challenging mile-high conditions at Bandimere Speedway is something that has always eluded Hagan, but the standout came through on Sunday, going 4.105-seconds at 305.70 mph in his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye to beat Alexis DeJoria in the final round. It capped off an incredibly fulfilling weekend for Hagan at his sponsor’s race, as he won for the first time in 2021 and 37th in his career. After qualifying No. 1, Hagan beat Chris King and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps to reach the final round. He never trailed against DeJoria, also giving DSR its first Funny win of 2021 after the team won every race a year ago.

“This mountain has chewed me up and spit me out several years in a row. I’m just so glad to pull this win out,” said Hagan, who jumped to third in points. “I’ve been trying to get this trophy for so long. It’s an important race and it’s one of those things where we finally got it done. I just cannot say enough about my team. I’m so proud of each one of them and those guys love doing what they do. My heart was beating out of my chest there in the finals. 

“It felt like I was running for a championship. When you see all these fans in the stands, it gives me chill bumps. We love Denver and we love the fans that are here. I’m glad we got it done in front of them. Every win that you can get, you’re grateful for and I’m just blessed here today.”

DeJoria advanced to her second final round this season after picking up round wins against Jack Wyatt, points leader Bob Tasca III and Tim Wilkerson.

There was no stopping Top Fuel’s Torrence in Denver, as the three-time defending champ ended Joey Haas’ upset bid by going 3.860 at 320.36 in the final round in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. Haas made his first career finals appearance, but Torrence’s consistency ruled the day as he earned his fourth win in the past five races, fifth this season, and 45th in his career. 

Torrence, who had round wins against Rob Passey and Mike Salinas, extended his massive points lead on the strength of four runs in the mid-3.80s on Sunday, no easy feat in the rigorous conditions on Thunder Mountain.

“This is one of the most difficult places to race because everything is so much different than everywhere else we go,” Torrence said. “To have the consistency, that’s just a testament to the experience and the way (crew chiefs) Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana race. They race really smart. Hats off to Joey Haas and that team, they did an unbelievable job today. To have the success we’ve had, it’s just a blessing. This car goes A to B, and it gives you call the confidence in the world, and it goes back to all the work these guys put in at the shop.”

Haas reached the finals for the first time thanks to victories against Alex Laughlin, who was making his Top Fuel debut, Leah Pruett, and Clay Millican.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Smith capped off a completely dominant weekend on Thunder Mountain by going 7.118 at 189.04 on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR to beat Eddie Krawiec in the final round. Smith qualified No. 1 and made one stellar run after another, rolling to his second straight win, third in 2021, and 29th in his career. The defending world champ knocked off Cory Reed and Andrew Hines en route to the final round and rode past Krawiec in the finals to strengthen his points lead.

“This place is hard to run at, but I love this racetrack and I was successful here in the early part of my career,” said Smith, who made the quickest run in all three qualifying sessions and three of the four rounds of eliminations this weekend. “What an awesome facility and I’m so glad to get to come out here. My bike was fast all weekend and it was just super impressive. We’ve got a tough field, so it’s always going to be tough, but this bike is on kill right now.”

To reach his first final round of the year and the 86th in his career, Krawiec knocked off Jerry Savoie, Steve Johnson, and Angie Smith.

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action next weekend with the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.


Ron Lewis Photography

Brittany Force unleashed the quickest run in the history of Bandimere Speedway on Saturday, rocketing to the No. 1 position in Top Fuel in front of a huge crowd at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 in their respective categories at the eighth race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. 

Force, a former Top Fuel world champ, put together a monstrous track-record run of 3.717-seconds at 326.00 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy dragster to close out qualifying. That gave Force her third No. 1 qualifier in 2021 and 23rd in her career, as she tries to close in on her first win of the season and also her first victory on Thunder Mountain in Denver. She’s been close throughout the year, advancing to a pair of final rounds and Force will look to finish the job on Sunday.

“John Force Racing as a whole, we took a step back in 2020. Every single one of my guys put their faith in John Force Racing and every one of them returned,” Force said. “I think that shows so much about character and their loyalty to this team. (Crew chief David) Grubnic said he was going to push it like he always does, so thank you to my guys. I’m excited to be here and I’m just glad to be back in Denver. I really want to win on the mountain. I’ve never won here in Denver and hopefully, we can win this thing tomorrow.”

Points leader and three-time defending world champ Steve Torrence finished second thanks to his impressive run of 3.778 at 327.11 from Friday. Mike Salinas took the third spot with his run of 3.836 at 320.51.

Matt Hagan moved a step closer to picking up his first victory at Bandimere Speedway, as he qualified No. 1 thanks to his run of 3.966 at 319.22 from Friday in his 11,000-horsepower Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. That run gave Hagan his second No. 1 qualifier of the 2021 campaign and 42nd in his career. Winning in Denver has been one of the few things that has eluded the defending world champ and Hagan is in a prime position to change that on Sunday.

“We’ve got to go rounds, there’s no doubt about it, but we’ll take that No. 1 qualifier right now,” Hagan said. “We’ll take that momentum into raceday tomorrow. This Hellcat is running strong and I cannot wait to put on a show tomorrow for all these fans here in Denver. It’s going to be awesome.”

Alexis DeJoria qualified second with her run of 3.982 at 323.50 on Friday and Tim Wilkerson jumped to third during the final qualifying session on Saturday with a pass of 3.984 at 312.35.

After qualifying in the No. 1 spot on Friday in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith only got better on Saturday, improving on each run and finishing the day with a pass of 7.113 at 189.47 on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR. It hands the points leader and defending world champ his second No. 1 qualifier of the year and the 45th in his career, and also gave Smith the speed record at Bandimere Speedway. Smith made the quickest run of every session in qualifying, giving the standout plenty of confidence heading into eliminations.

“We’ve got a good bike,” said Smith, who made the second-quickest run on Thunder Mountain as well. “This bike, it’s running mean. We’ve gradually gone faster and all in all, to be No. 1 and have Angie (Smith) No. 2, you can’t say enough about having Denso bikes No. 1 and No. 2 and husband and wife going No. 1 and No. 2 as well.”
Angie Smith took the second spot after her strong run of 7.134 at 186.67 and Andrew Hines, the 2019 winner and five-time champ at Denver, qualified third after his run of 7.170 at 188.10 in the final session. 

Justin Bond finished No. 1 in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. He ran a 5.976 at 230.45 to place himself atop the competitive category.

Eliminations for the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil begin at 11 a.m. MT on Sunday.

Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 41st annual Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Bandimere Speedway, the eighth of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Brittany Force, 3.717 seconds, 326.00 mph vs. Bye; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.778, 327.11 vs. 13. Rob Passey, 5.847, 118.38; 3. Mike Salinas, 3.836, 320.51 vs. 12. Buddy Hull, 4.339, 267.85; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.849, 299.33 vs. 11. Leah Pruett, 4.056, 249.49; 5. Alex Laughlin, 3.900, 316.67 vs. 10. Joey Haas, 4.054, 259.56; 6. Greg Carrillo, 3.926, 304.87 vs. 9. Antron Brown, 4.030, 309.42; 7. Clay Millican, 3.969, 264.49 vs. 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.973, 251.34. 
Funny Car -- 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.966, 319.22 vs. 14. Chris King, Toyota, broke; 2. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.982, 323.50 vs. 13. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 4.489, 207.08; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.984, 312.35 vs. 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.272, 292.90; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.986, 318.09 vs. 11. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.211, 287.78; 5. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.014, 320.74 vs. 10. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.097, 310.70; 6. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.045, 318.62 vs. 9. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.074, 313.29; 7. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.055, 314.90 vs. 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.060, 316.52. 
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 7.113, 189.47 vs. Bye; 2. Angie Smith, EBR, 7.134, 186.67 vs. 15. David Barron, Buell, 7.428, 161.32; 3. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.163, 184.88 vs. 14. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.384, 178.50; 4. Andrew Hines, Buell, 7.170, 188.10 vs. 13. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.360, 180.26; 5. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.171, 185.54 vs. 12. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.266, 186.18; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Buell, 7.182, 189.18 vs. 11. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.220, 182.21; 7. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.193, 185.15 vs. 10. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.220, 183.59; 8. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 7.199, 185.84 vs. 9. Cory Reed, Suzuki, 7.220, 184.42. 





Trying to solve Bandimere Speedway for the first time in his standout career, defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan started strong on Friday, rolling to the provisional No. 1 spot at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the eighth race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

In a thrilling side-by-side race with Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps, Hagan powered to the top with a run of 3.966-seconds at 319.22 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. It puts the veteran in position to qualify No. 1 for the second time this season and 42nd time overall. Hagan is still looking for his first victory of the year following his championship season and getting it at his sponsor’s race in Denver would be rewarding considering his struggles at the fan-favorite facility over the years.

“We go after it every time in qualifying,” said Hagan. “We’re just trying to get that rhythm down and the consistency but we put a number down here on the hill and thank goodness. This race has alluded me for almost 15 years now and it’s like, what do we have to do to win up here on the mountain? I don’t know about winning right now but we started out really well. I have a great race car underneath me, I’m solid in the field and hopefully tomorrow we can lay it down and go even faster.”

Alexis DeJoria claimed the second spot on Friday after going 3.982 at 323.50 and Capps took third after the first qualifying session with a run of 3.986 at 318.09.

In Top Fuel, Torrence was several steps ahead of everyone on Friday in Denver, making the only three-second run in the class with his impressive pass of 3.778 at 327.11 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. Should it hold, the three-time defending world champ would qualify No. 1 for the fourth time this season and 31st time in his career. Coming off a victory in Norwalk, Torrence, who is also the most recent Top Fuel winner in Denver thanks to his 2019 triumph, is after his second straight win and fourth in five races during the 2021 campaign. Joey Haas is currently second following his run of 4.054 at 259.56 and Antron Brown is a spot behind thanks to his pass of 4.180 at 269.78.

Things keep rolling along at an impressive clip for Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle, as the points leader jumped to the No. 1 spot with a run of 7.145 at 188.46 on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR. Smith would pick up his second No. 1 qualifier of the year and the 45th in his career if it holds. Smith, who is also the current points leader, is looking for his second straight win of the year this weekend. Andrew Hines, a five-time Denver winner who won the most recent race at the facility in 2019, is currently second after his pass of 7.205 at 187.68 and Angie Smith is third after going 7.210 at 184.98.

Qualifying continues at 4:45 p.m. MT on Saturday at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil.

Friday's results after the first one of three rounds of qualifying for the 41st annual Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Bandimere Speedway, eighth of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.

Top Fuel -- 1. Steve Torrence, 3.778 seconds, 327.11 mph; 2. Joey Haas, 4.054, 259.56; 3. Antron Brown, 4.180, 269.78; 4. Doug Kalitta, 5.887, 123.17; 5. Brittany Force, 5.955, 106.16; 6. Greg Carrillo, 6.295, 100.09; 7. Buddy Hull, 6.446, 109.33; 8. Mike Salinas, 7.235, 78.16; 9. Clay Millican, 7.301, 81.71; 10. Shawn Langdon, 13.529, 65.25.

Funny Car -- 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.966, 319.22; 2. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.982, 323.50; 3. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.986, 318.09; 4. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.045, 318.62; 5. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.272, 292.90; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 5.678, 155.49; 7. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 6.092, 112.93; 8. J.R. Todd, Camry, 6.507, 102.24; 9. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 7.614, 93.44; 10. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 7.657, 82.65; 11. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 8.131, 86.69; 12. Robert Hight, Camaro, 15.372, 68.07.

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 7.145, 188.46; 2. Andrew Hines, Buell, 7.205, 187.68; 3. Angie Smith, EBR, 7.210, 184.98; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Buell, 7.216, 188.31; 5. Cory Reed, Suzuki, 7.220, 184.42; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 7.226, 185.43; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.230, 182.95; 8. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.341, 181.25; 9. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.421, 175.21; 10. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.464, 165.29; 11. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.675, 176.14; 12. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 8.008, 129.60; 13. David Barron, Buell, broke. Not Qualified: 14. Steve Johnson, broke.





COMP (Q-1)

1   54    H/A Christine Harris, Littleton CO, Grand Am   9.216  9.94  -0.724
  2  597   B/DA David Kramer, Sterling CO, Dragster        7.123  7.82  -0.697
  3  564    D/A Matt Harris, Bellevue NE, '10 Grand Am     8.218  8.80  -0.582
  4    3   B/ED Joe Mozeris, Phoenix AZ, Dragster-Dodge    7.369  7.90  -0.531
  5  514    B/D Clint Sallee, Glendive MT, Dragster-Dodge  7.242  7.68  -0.438



1 5250  FSS/D Todd Patterson, Augusta KS, '19 Camaro     9.490 10.52  -1.030
  2 7643  GT/LA Kayla Mozeris, Phoenix AZ, '93 Daytona    10.784 11.74  -0.956
  3 1990  FSS/D David Barton, Sinking Springs PA, '17 Cam  9.597 10.52  -0.923
  4 5206  GT/OA Carroll Warling, Brighton CO, '74 LeMans  11.308 12.17  -0.862
  5   58  FGT/J Neal Rhodes, Elizabeth CO, '08 Mustang    10.430 11.27  -0.840
  6   76  SS/IA Mike Cotten, Cave Creek AZ, '70 Barracuda 10.610 11.37  -0.760
  7 5538  SS/JA Jim Thune, Jefferson SD, '65 Chevy II     10.988 11.69  -0.702
  8  582  GT/GA Scott Burton, Golden CO, '91 Firebird     10.363 11.05  -0.687
  9 5024  FGT/B Chad Guilford, Highlands Ranch CO, '10 Mu  9.159  9.78  -0.621
 10 7526  SS/AM Ed Niquette, Lake Havasu City AZ, '05 Cav  8.952  9.56  -0.608



1 5354   AF/S Kyle Tripp, Littleton CO, '86 Omni        13.586 14.72  -1.134
  2 173B   FS/B Don Belles, Collegeville PA, '20 Camaro    9.660 10.63  -0.970
  3 5022    B/S Tony Hernandez, Denver CO, '65 Corvette   10.962 11.90  -0.938
  4    8   FS/D Scott Burton, Golden CO, '10 Mustang      10.374 11.27  -0.896
  5 5388   FS/B Jay Soller, Andover KS, '18 Camaro         9.745 10.63  -0.885
  6  594  FS/AA Daria Kramer, Sterling CO, '17 Camaro      9.106  9.99  -0.884
  7  543   FS/C Craig Maddox, Sidney NE, '15 Challenger   10.067 10.95  -0.883
  8 5775   C/SA Jeff Johnson, Strasburg CO, '67 Mustang   11.251 12.12  -0.869
  9 5250   FS/C Todd Patterson, Augusta KS, '13 Camaro    10.100 10.95  -0.850
 10 4561   F/SA Bill Bagley, Longview TX, '73 Duster      11.750 12.60  -0.850



 1   53 Ross Gregory, Brighton CO, Dragster-Brodix      6.109  230.96  230.96
  2  586 Betsy Peek, Sedalia CO, Dragster-Chrysler       6.149  223.17  231.71
  3 5301 Tony Stark, Denver CO, Dragster-Chevy           6.200  223.88  223.88
  4    2 Bradley Johnson, Morrison CO, Dragster-Chevy    6.298  218.58  218.58
  5 7145 Jennifer Wiens, Las Vegas NV, Dragster-MadCap   6.324  218.27  218.27
  6 4059 Jim Thorp, Mertzon TX, Dragster-Chevy           6.498  216.06  216.06
  7 479W Wynette Hudgins, Clyde TX, Spitzer-SDPC         6.699  209.88  209.88
  8 7902 Brianna Wiens, Las Vegas NV, Dragster-Chevy     6.764  206.73  206.73
  9 5950 Dawn Barth, Greeley CO, Dragster-Chevy          6.796  199.85  199.85
 10   55 Victoria Johnson, Arvada CO, Dragster-Chevy     6.816  196.90  196.90



1 4147 Greg Lair, Canyon TX, '15 Camaro                6.865  202.39  202.39
  2 5381 Wade Kiefer, Kimball NE, '63 Corvette           7.246  189.39  189.39
  3 4880 Jimmy Lewis, Forney TX, '10 GXP                 7.252  198.58  198.58
  4   58 Duane Doffing, Golden CO, '57 Sedan             7.546  188.67  188.67
  5 5737 Chris Vang, Sterling CO, '19 Camaro             7.669  197.97  197.97