2022 NHRA MILE HIGH NATIONALS - EVENT RESULTS
SUNDAY - PRUETT, HIGHT, HARTFORD & M. SMITH OPEN WESTERN SWING WITH WINS AT MILE-HIGH NATIONALS
Leah Pruitt delivered the first Top Fuel victory for Tony Stewart Racing at the Mile-High Nationals
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won at the 11th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. The stop in Denver marks the first event in the three-race NHRA Western Swing.
Pruett, who is also married to Stewart, went 3.884-seconds at 316.38 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Dodge Power Brokers dragster to knock off Shawn Langdon in the final round. It gives Pruett her first win of the season and 10th in her career, as well as her second victory in Denver. She reached the final round by taking down Antron Brown, Clay Millican and Justin Ashley, making a series of consistent runs that was her trademark this weekend in Denver. Pruett made another strong run in the championship round to close out one of the more meaningful weekends in her career at her sponsor’s race. Getting the first Top Fuel win for the TSR team was also massive for one of the sport’s most popular drivers.
“This is absolutely everything,” said Pruett. “We have the best fans in the entire nation. This is my favorite track. I’ve been trying to be emotionless all day just to do my job, but this is for (crew chiefs) Neal Strausbaugh, Mike Domagala, Ryan McGilvry, and my entire crew that has flawless all weekend. I told you guys a long time ago it was coming and couldn’t be prouder than to do it at a place like this. Thank you, Bandimere.”
Added Stewart: “Of all the places we go to on the circuit, Denver is the one she circles on the calendar. Denver is the one she loves the most and the thing she talks about the most. It’s the support of the fans here that means the most to her. For her to win her first race with this group and this organization here, it means the world to her.”
Langdon advanced to his second final round this season and 37th time in his career after getting past Greg Carillo, points leader Mike Salinas and Josh Hart. Salinas’ points lead stands at 10 over Brittany Force at the halfway point of the season.
In a Funny Car finals rematch of the most recent race in Norwalk, Hight delivered the same result against Bob Tasca III, continuing his incredible season by going 4.065 at 311.92 in his 11,000-horsepower Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS. That gives the points leader his second straight win, fifth this season and 58th in his career, and his fifth victory in Denver. Hight, who qualified second, reached the final round for the seventh time this year in what’s been a dominant stretch by defeating Terry Haddock, J.R. Todd, and teammate John Force. He powered past Tasca to win for the third time in five races and open up the possibility of sweeping the Western Swing.
“Things are going our way right now, but there’s a lot of good teams out there,” Hight said. “I give all the credit to our team. Last year was probably the worst race we’ve ever had on the mountain. This year, we made quality runs and went down the track every time. We made a lot of good runs, and I was confident my guys had it figured out. We just raced really smart, made it go down the track and I tried to do my job. To have five wins at this point in the season, it’s surreal. Everything is working from top to bottom and we’re just going to try to stay focused and keep working. It’s been a great first half of the season, but these next 11 are going to be even tougher.”
Tasca reached the finals for the second straight race and 23rd time in his career by knocking off Chad Green, defending world champ Ron Capps and Jack Wyatt, who upset No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan in the opening round. Hight also extended his points lead to 95 points over Hagan.
Hartford was terrific on the starting line when it counted, using a .004 reaction time and then a strong run of 6.967 at 196.36 in his Total Seal Camaro to knock off No. 1 qualifier Aaron Stanfield in the finals. It gives Hartford his first win of the season and fifth in his career, and also some redemption at Bandimere Speedway after finishing as the runner-up to Greg Anderson in 2019. That was the last time Pro Stock raced on Thunder Mountain before this weekend, and Hartford made the most of it by knocking off Deric Kramer, Mason McGaha, and Cristian Cuadra. He left no doubt against Stanfield, leaving the starting line first and rolling to a big win.
“I love Bandimere, but it’s a hard facility to race at,” Hartford said. “Since Epping we’ve turned our program around and come raceday I know we’re going to have a top car. It would eat me up every time I watched the finals versus Greg in ’19. It’s a hard pill to swallow knowing if I would have driven better, I could have won that race. But to have this redemption it’s great for this team. Coming up here, it’s an equalizer and anyone can win on raceday, but I was relaxed, and I knew I had a great car.”
Stanfield reached his fourth straight final round, sixth this season and 12th in his career after knocking off Bo Butner and Troy Coughlin Jr. He also closed within 35 points of leader Erica Enders, who fell in the first round.
Smith capped off a dominant weekend in Pro Stock Motorcycle by going 7.097 at 190.22 on his Denso Auto Parts Buell to knock off Joey Gladstone and win for the second straight time in Denver, also setting the track speed record en route to his 34th career win and second this season. It was a fitting finish to an event that included track records all weekend, including a couple on Sunday. He became the first rider to reach the 7.00s in qualifying and then became the first in the class to go 190 mph on Thunder Mountain, doing so in his semifinal win against Angelle Sampey. In the final round, Smith went event faster and nearly equaled his qualifying run of 7.090, as he remained a clear step ahead of everyone in Denver.
“This is the bike that won this race last year and it paid off,” Smith said. “We qualified No. 1, won the race, and set both ends of track record. I can’t ask for much more than that. I really wish I’d have run Angie in the final, but something happened to her bike in the (semifinals). Her bike slowed up, but Denso took the win and that’s most important.”
Gladstone reached his second straight final thanks to wins against Ryan Oehler, Eddie Krawiec and Angie Smith. Steve Johnson stayed in the points lead and now holds just a 10-point advantage over Angelle Sampey and 19 over M. Smith.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action July 22-24 with the Denso NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.
SATURDAY - B. FORCE, HAGAN, STANFIELD AND M. SMITH GRAB NO. 1 QUALIFIERS AT MILE-HIGH NATIONALS
Brittany Force made the most of her final qualifying pass on Saturday at Bandimere Speedway, powering to the No. 1 position in Top Fuel at the 42nd annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the 11th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. The stop in Denver marks the first event in the three-race NHRA Western Swing.
Force picked up her fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 36th in her career by going 3.758-seconds at 325.61 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac dragster to close out qualifying on Thunder Mountain. She’ll meet Terry Totten to open eliminations and was thrilled with how her team bounced back after struggling during qualifying on Friday. It was a different story on Saturday, as Force made two quality runs, going to No. 1 to close out the day. The former world champ will now try to win for the first time in Denver and jump back into the points lead in the process.
“We turned it around with two solid passes today, so we’re feeling good and in a great position for tomorrow,” Force said. “It’s game on tomorrow and we’re trying to get back on top as the points leader. I’ve struggled here in the past, so we’re looking to turn it around here. I believe in this team, but it’s tough out here. There’s no other track like this one. After Friday, our focus wasn’t going to No. 1. We wanted two solid passes, but lucky for us we went to the top.”
Justin Ashley jumped to second during the final session thanks to his standout run of 3.765 at 327.51, while provisional No. 1 qualifier Leah Pruett improved on her Friday run to qualify third with a 3.771 at 322.50.
In Funny Car, Hagan held onto the No. 1 spot by improving on his run from Friday with an impressive pass of 3.908 at 323.12 in his 11,000-horsepower Dodge Power Brokers Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. It gives the three-time world champion his fourth top position during the 2022 season and the 47th in his career. After two great days of qualifying, Hagan will try to win for a second straight year on Thunder Mountain at his sponsor’s race and possibly take the points lead in the process.
“All in all, the car is running great,” Hagan said. “We were able to stay No. 1 and I’m pretty happy with the performance. I think we’ll have a great car on Sunday and the fans got a great show here today. It was a packed house and for us, seeing so many fans here, it’s really cool. On raceday, it’s always crazy here. If the sun is out, it can be tricky, and it could turn into a driver’s race. But for me, I feel confident in what Dickie’s done here and the car he’s given us, so we’re excited.”
Points leader Robert Hight qualified right behind Hagan with a 3.929 at 323.58, while his teammate, John Force, took third going 3.930 at 325.14 in what was the quickest pass of the final session.
After watching Elite Motorsports teammate and points leader Erica Enders go to the top to open the final round of Pro Stock qualifying, Stanfield delivered a superb run to close out the session, jumping back on top with a 6.934 at 196.82 in his Janac Brothers Chevrolet Camaro. It gives Stanfield his fourth No. 1 spot this season and fifth in his career as the young standout continues to impress in his first appearance on Thunder Mountain. He’ll now look for his first Denver win as he aims to advance to his fourth straight final round in what has been a banner 2022 season.
“I knew we were capable of running a little better, and it was really cool for all of us,” Stanfield said. “To have Elite Motorsports qualify in the top three spots, that’s extremely hard to do, especially when the fields are so tight. I can’t thank all the guys enough and I’m having a blast up here. The stands are jam-packed and it’s always a great show here. It’s something different behind the wheel as far as driving goes, but I’m having fun. I definitely cleaned up my shifts a bit and I felt like I did a much better job driving today.”
Enders secured the second spot with her 6.938 at 197.02 in the final qualifying session, put the four-time world champ in a good position after struggling during the first three qualifying runs. Cristian Cuadra took the third spot after going 6.940 at 195.59.
Smith lowered the boom on Saturday in Pro Stock Motorcycle, setting both ends of the Bandimere Speedway track record with an impressive blast of 7.090 at 189.79 on his Denso Auto Parts Buell. The defending world champ and event winner set the track record on Friday but delivered in an even bigger way to close out qualifying, becoming the first motorcycle to go in the 7.00s on Thunder Mountain. It gives Smith his second No. 1 this season and 49th in his career, and plenty of confidence heading into eliminations after a stellar two days of qualifying.
“The Suzuki bikes were stepping up (today), so I tried a tune-up and obviously it worked,” Smith said. “It’s awesome (to set a record). I’ve always loved coming here and we come here to win the race. That was the whole reason why we brought out the (EBR) for this race. There might be a little more, but we definitely learned something today. As long as you ride the bike well and hit the light well, you can do well here, but we’ve got the bike on kill every time up here.”
Smith’s wife, Angie, qualified second thanks to her 7.151 at 188.25 in the final qualifying session, while Eddie Krawiec’s 7.164 at 186.56 gives him the third spot heading into eliminations.
Eliminations for the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Television coverage of the race begins at 4 p.m. ET on the FOX broadcast network.
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 42nd annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, the 11th of 22 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, 3.758 seconds, 325.61 mph vs. 16. Terry Totten, 4.144, 256.94; 2. Justin Ashley, 3.765, 327.51 vs. 15. Cameron Ferre, 4.125, 297.02; 3. Leah Pruett, 3.771, 322.50 vs. 14. Antron Brown, 4.069, 302.41; 4. Mike Salinas, 3.783, 322.34 vs. 13. Alex Laughlin, 3.923, 284.62; 5. Greg Carrillo, 3.794, 315.12 vs. 12. Shawn Langdon, 3.901, 312.93; 6. Clay Millican, 3.811, 320.05 vs. 11. Tony Schumacher, 3.885, 302.96; 7. Austin Prock, 3.818, 314.46 vs. 10. Steve Torrence, 3.845, 316.30; 8. Doug Kalitta, 3.827, 319.37 vs. 9. Josh Hart, 3.843, 314.17.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Rob Passey, 4.201, 279.32.
Funny Car -- 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.908, 323.12 vs. 14. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 4.206, 260.31; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.929, 323.58 vs. 13. Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, 4.188, 290.94; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.930, 325.14 vs. 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.131, 299.66; 4. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.946, 316.75 vs. 11. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.082, 301.60; 5. Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 3.961, 326.32 vs. 10. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.059, 288.03; 6. J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.964, 325.37 vs. 9. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.038, 306.74; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.964, 290.94 vs. 8. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.966, 329.18.
Pro Stock -- 1. Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 6.934, 196.82 vs. Bye; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.938, 197.02 vs. 15. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.996, 195.87; 3. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.940, 195.59 vs. 14. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.991, 195.31; 4. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.947, 196.33 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, 6.988, 196.07; 5. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.950, 197.02 vs. 12. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.980, 194.80; 6. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.953, 196.47 vs. 11. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.976, 192.80; 7. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.957, 196.87 vs. 10. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.973, 195.87; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.960, 195.34 vs. 9. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.965, 194.58.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 7.090, 189.79 vs. Bye; 2. Angie Smith, EBR, 7.150, 187.34 vs. 13. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.382, 178.95; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 7.164, 186.56 vs. 12. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.334, 181.20; 4. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.171, 186.95 vs. 11. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.334, 182.30; 5. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.180, 183.67 vs. 10. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.286, 184.88; 6. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.183, 185.28 vs. 9. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.276, 184.90; 7. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 7.215, 184.95 vs. 8. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.240, 184.52.
FRIDAY - PRUETT, HAGAN, STANFIELD AND M. SMITH EARN PROVISIONAL NO. 1 POSITIONS AT DODGE POWER BROKERS NHRA MILE-HIGH NATIONALS
Tony Stewart Racing teammates Leah Pruett and Matt Hagan raced to the provisional No. 1 spots in Top Fuel and Funny Car on Friday, powering to the top positions at the 42nd annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 11th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. It is also the first event in the three-race NHRA Western Swing.
After struggling in her first run of the day, Top Fuel’s Pruett and her team rebounded with a run of 3.788-seconds at 326.79 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Dodge Power Brokers dragster. If it holds up, Pruett would earn her first No. 1 qualifier of the season, while the first-year TSR team of Pruett and Hagan look to qualify No. 1 together for the first time as well. Pruett, who has one Denver win, was also thrilled with the work her team put in on Friday that led to the strong pass.
“This is extremely cool. I mean, you always believe it can happen,” Pruett said. Matt and I said it all week. You have to be positive, and we talk about simultaneously parking our cars in winner’s circle and then we came out in Q1 and that was a gut punch. We were not trying to go No. 1. We were trying to establish a baseline. (But) for us both to hold on to our No. 1 is a cool feeling, especially at our Dodge race. I’m so incredibly happy right now.”
Greg Carillo posted a solid 3.824 at 318.24, putting him in second, while Clay Millican’s run of 3.826 at 312.93 gave him the third spot after two qualifying sessions on Thunder Mountain.
Hagan went 3.927-seconds at 319.07 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Dodge Power Brokers Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to close out qualifying in a thrilling side-by-side session with Robert Hight, putting the three-time world champ in line for fourth No. 1 qualifier of 2022 and 47th in his career. Hagan, who is currently second in points, won in Denver for the first time in his career last year, and he’s off to a great start at his sponsor’s race as he looks to jump back into the points lead.
“This mountain air is hard on these motors,” Hagan said. “It takes me a while to get acclimated to this place. With the race car, we have to stay ahead of it. We have a good combination from last year and we just brought it off the shelf and made two strong runs in a row. We didn’t just come out and back into it into for one run. For everything we’ve done this year with TSR, I had a good feeling coming into this deal. I don’t know about weather for tomorrow, but if conditions are the same, we could go better. Nothing is said and done until tomorrow.”
Hight, who took over the points lead in Funny Car with his win in Norwalk, made a strong run next to Hagan, going 3.936 at 324.51. Tim Wilkerson went 3.973 at 321.50, putting the veteran in third.
Stanfield made a strong first impression in his Pro Stock debut on Thunder Mountain, making the quickest run in each of the two qualifying sessions, including an impressive pass of 6.946 at 196.73 in his Janac Brothers Chevrolet Camaro to close out the day. Stanfield is after his fourth No. 1 spot of the season and his third victory during a great 2022 campaign. Despite the challenges that await for every driver at Bandimere Speedway, Stanfield looked strong on Friday in his first race at Denver.
“This is definitely a confidence booster,” Stanfield said. “I know I’ve got a fast hot rod. This is the first time I’ve raced Pro Stock on the mountain and those gear changes come really quick. I can’t thank my guys enough. We’re having a ball. The first three gears come up so quickly, this is different than anywhere else we race. Thankfully, our crew chiefs have a lot of data here and that just helps all of us. Tomorrow, the goal is to clean up my shift points. They are not perfect yet. There’s always room for improvement.”
Fernando Cuadra Jr. went to second with his run of 6.953 at 196.47, while Matt Hartford sits third after two sessions thanks to his 6.957 at 196.87.
Smith, the defending world champ and event winner, made a strong statement to open qualifying on Friday in Pro Stock Motorcycle, setting the track record with his run of 7.107 at 189.31 on his Denso Auto Parts Buell. If it holds, Smith would pick up his second top spot this season and 49th in his career. The five-time world champ opted to go back to his Buell for the weekend on Thunder Mountain and after the first day of qualifying, it looks to be a strong decision for the standout.
“I guess we’ll see what Sunday brings but a lot of factors went into that decision to race a Buell,” Smith said. “I’ve never run a Suzuki up here and I didn’t want to take a chance to hurt it. I want to be able to race it next week in Sonoma if I decide to. Last year, I was No. 1 and won the race on my Buell. This is basically the same package, and this Denso Buell is hateful.”
Angelle Sampey, who won the most recent event in Norwalk, made the best run of the second session and currently sits second with a 7.171 at 186.95. Points leader Steve Johnson is right behind after going 7.180 at 183.54.
Qualifying continues at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 42nd annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, 11th of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Leah Pruett, 3.788 seconds, 326.79 mph; 2. Greg Carrillo, 3.824, 318.24; 3. Clay Millican, 3.826, 312.93; 4. Josh Hart, 3.843, 314.17; 5. Steve Torrence, 3.850, 320.97; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.901, 312.93; 7. Austin Prock, 3.904, 312.86; 8. Mike Salinas, 3.910, 299.06; 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.915, 310.27; 10. Alex Laughlin, 3.923, 284.62; 11. Justin Ashley, 4.016, 294.95; 12. Tony Schumacher, 4.036, 249.21; 13. Cameron Ferre, 4.194, 289.82; 14. Brittany Force, 4.198, 201.52; 15. Terry Totten, 4.304, 227.31; 16. Rob Passey, 4.464, 240.38. Not Qualified: 17. Antron Brown, 5.415, 160.79.
Funny Car -- 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.927, 319.07; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.936, 324.51; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.973, 321.50; 4. John Force, Camaro, 3.978, 325.06; 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.987, 323.43; 6. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Supra, 4.005, 315.64; 7. J.R. Todd, Supra, 4.051, 323.04; 8. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.059, 288.03; 9. Ron Capps, Supra, 4.075, 280.66; 10. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.081, 308.14; 11. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.082, 301.60; 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.149, 300.26; 13. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.383, 226.16; 14. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 4.850, 176.47.
Pro Stock -- 1. Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 6.946, 196.73; 2. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.953, 196.47; 3. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.957, 196.87; 4. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.957, 196.13; 5. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.960, 195.34; 6. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.962, 196.70; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.965, 194.58; 8. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.973, 194.94; 9. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.976, 192.80; 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.982, 196.27; 11. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.991, 195.31; 12. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.992, 194.77; 13. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, 6.998, 196.27; 14. Erica Enders, Camaro, 7.008, 196.10; 15. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 7.026, 194.80.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 7.107, 189.31; 2. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.171, 186.95; 3. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.180, 183.54; 4. Angie Smith, EBR, 7.184, 187.50; 5. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 7.203, 186.69; 6. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 7.215, 184.95; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.240, 184.52; 8. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.240, 183.69; 9. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.276, 184.90; 10. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.334, 181.20; 11. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.336, 183.87; 12. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.462, 176.26; 13. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 8.877, 107.09.