The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver last weekend proved to be a marquee outing for the Hemi-powered Pro Stock contingent, and a fitting showing it was before the Mopar brass at the NHRA Full Throttle Series event at the Bandimere Speedway that has long boasted title sponsorship from the Chrysler performance division.
While Mopar-sponsored racer Allen Johnson was collecting yet another trophy in the ultra-thin mountain air that’s become his personal kingdom in recent years, fellow Mopar compatriot V. Gaines was enjoying his finest weekend of the season at his home track in his Kendall Oil Dodge Avenger.
Gaines, the owner of GRP Connecting Rods and a number of other well-known high performance brands under his Western Motorsports banner, qualified a season-high third at Denver behind only Johnson and Mike Edwards with an impressive 6.968 best, setting up a first round match with Kurt Johnson.
Sitting 14th in the Pro Stock standings with five rounds wins to match his five DNQ’s on the year, Gaines overcame Kurt Johnson’s perfect light in the opening stanza with a weekend-best 6.94, downed the Ford Mustang of Larry Morgan in round two with another 6.96, and advanced to the first final round since Phoenix in 2008 after disposing of fellow Mopar runner Vincent Nobile in the semifinals, 6.97 to 7.11. That set up the first final round meeting between a pair of Mopar’s in the history of the Mile-High Nationals.
Gaines fell victim to the methodical performance of Roy and Allen Johnson’s machine in the final round. 6.95 to 7.14, but the final round showing vaunted him up to 11th in the standings, just eight points behind 10th place Rodger Brogdon as the cutoff to the Countdown to the Championship draws near.
For more information on GRP Connecting Rods, log on to grpconrods.com.