- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

MORRISON, Colo. (AP) - Funny Car’s John Force raced to the quickest run in track history to take the qualifying lead at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway on Friday.

Force set the pace in his Ford Mustang, setting both ends of the track record with a time of 4.049-seconds at 318.39 mph.

If the pass stands after the final two qualifying sessions, it will be the 16-time world champ’s fifth career No. 1 qualifier at Denver and third of the season.

“I made today with confidence early,” Force said. “I think everybody was programmed how to run today. We stepped up and started getting there.”

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Denver.

Schumacher, the seven-time Top Fuel world champ, powered his dragster to a leading performance of 3.823 at 314.09 during the second of two qualifying sessions. If the effort stands it will be his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 73rd of his career.

Two-time defending event champ Allen Johnson dominated Pro Stock qualifying by resetting the track record with his performance of 6.972 at 198.90 in a Dodge Dart. The 2012 world champion has five wins at Bandimere Speedway.

Arana Jr. powered his Buell to the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying lead of 7.178 at 185.97, setting a track record for elapsed time.

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