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NHRA’s Mile-High Nationals underway in Denver

Jul 20, 2013, 2:19 PM EDT

NHRA Mile High Auto Racing AP

On Friday, Cruz Pedregon, Doug Kalitta, Allen Johnson and Adam Arana came away as first-day qualifying leaders in their respective classes at the NHRA’s Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

Pedregon topped the Funny Car contingent and bested his own track record with a time of 4.073 seconds at 307.37 miles per hour, ahead of defending event winner Jack Beckman (4.097/309.91) and Tim Wilkerson (4.114/302.21). Beckman’s run was enough to eclipse Bandimere’s old speed record.

In Top Fuel, Kalitta, who is looking for his first win of the year in the top-tier Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, led the way with a time of 3.889 seconds at 310.13 miles per hour. Khalid alBalooshi was second-fastest with a pass of 3.924 seconds at 313.95 mph, while rookie Brittany Force was third in class following a time of 3.926 second at 309.56 mph.

Johnson, a four-time winner at Bandimere, was the fastest Friday qualifier in Pro Stock with a time of 6.949 seconds at 198.23 miles per hour. Colorado native Vieri “V” Gaines was second (6.970/197.25), followed by Shane Gray in third (6.971/197.02).

Finally, in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana led with a pass of 7.267 seconds at 182.62 mph, topping Denver resident Mike Berry (7.281/181.89) and Michael Ray (7.289/180.48).

Qualifying continues this afternoon, with eliminations beginning tomorrow morning.

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