Littleton’s Mike Berry had a broken heart when his Pro Stock Motorcycle broke in the classification semifinals of the Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, causing a subsequent loss to Hector Arana Jr. of Milltown, Ind.
Berry had qualified in the No. 2 position behind the No. 1 qualifier, Adam Arana, who would foul out on his second run, losing to former Trinidad resident Andrew Hines.
Shawn Gann of Stoneville, N.C., was the classification winner, beating Hector Arana Jr. with his pass of 7.351 seconds at 181.08 mph to Arana’s 7.376/182.11 effort.
“I blew it up and we spun the wheels,” said a dejected Berry. “I’m ecstatic about the weekend. We just need to fix the problem. I’m not going to do the rest of the Western Swing, but I’ll be coming back for Indianapolis. I just want to figure out the whole problem.
“I was actually shocked to be the No. 2 qualifier,” said Berry, who opened with a win against L.E. Tonglet of Metairie, La. (7.320/180.69 to 7.363/181.47). “Something worked early, not just at the end for me. I just want to get a handle on it. I’m really pleased overall with the weekend, but finals and a win would have been sweet. We were excited.”
Berry had reached the semifinals with a tremendous hole shot (.026 second) at the start, which enabled him to beat Matt Smith of King, N.C. (7.383/178.89 to 7.354-181.08).
It’s been two decades since Cruz Pedregon of Brownsburg, Ind., won at Bandimere, but he fashioned what can be called a near-perfect weekend, winning the Funny Car championship.
In the course of three days, Pedregon qualified No. 1 with a record-setting pass of 4.073 seconds at 307.37 mph. He went on to defeat Bob Tasca III from Cranston, R.I., for the Mile High title with a pass of 4.233 seconds, 295.46 mph to Tasca III’s 4.408/257.04 effort.
In winning for the 33rd time in his career, Pedregon defeated Todd Simpson of Ponder, Texas (4.188/295.46 to 4.376/206.70) to open his run, Ron Capps of Carlsbad, Calif. (4.178/297.35 to 4.282/296.18), and Del Worsham of Villa Park, Calif. (4.232/292.84 to 5.261/155.9).
“To run the table with the low ET puts the pressure on,” Pedregon said. “This is just a difficult place to race. I’m grateful and happy that we were able to break a track record. Each win means as much as it does with the other 33. They just all mean a lot to me. Can we sweep the Western Swing? We’ll see. We’ve got the good start.”
Tasca III opened his run to the final upsetting John Force of Yorba Linda, California (4.268-296.76 to 4.313-288.33), followed by victories against Tim Wilkerson (4.237-303.03 to 4.307-274.22) and Robert Hight of Yorba Linda, California (4.221-302.89 to 4.434-230.13).
Top fuel dragster
Like Funny Car, there were no Colorado drivers in Top Fuel, a classification won by Spencer Massey. Yet it was a step up in the right direction for the Brownsburg, Ind., resident.
Massey, who was the runner-up in the Mile Highs last season, came through to beat Bob Vandergriff of Alpharetta, Ga., with a pass of 3.974 seconds, 309.27 mph to Vandergriff’s 4.029/304.67 effort. He had reached the final with his victory against teammate Shawn Langdon (3.966/309.98 to 3.975/309.20), his quarterfinal win over Mike Strasburg of Lehi, Utah (3.996/305.91 to 5.213/138.77), and his opening round win against Clay Millican of Drummonds, Tenn., (3.970/311.99 to 4.011/304.74).