Bandimere Speedway becomes the source of thunder on the mountain July 21-22 when hundreds of drivers fire up their powerful engines to compete in the National Hot Rod Association’s Mopar Mile High Nationals.
“Teams begin arriving July 19 to …
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Drag racing is about harnessing horsepower and torque to produce as much speed as quickly as possible. The top fuel dragsters are at the top of the list of achieving those goals. The powerful 8,000-horsepower engine is behind the driver in the long, low-slung dragster. The engine idles at about 2,100 revolutions per minute and gulps fuel at about 1.2 gallons per second to generate the power needed to accelerate the car from the starting line to 100 mph in about one second. The car can be traveling more than 320 miles an hour as it crosses the finish line.
Funny cars are powered by the same high-performance engines as the dragsters. But, instead of the sling shot-style dragster body, funny cars use bodies fashioned to resemble production-model automobiles. Speeds and times for funny cars are just a little less than that of the top fuel dragsters.
Pro stock cars are powered by 500 cubic-inch engines and the bodies must be production models. Teams use bodies such as the Chevrolet Cavalier and the Dodge Stratus. The cars run times in the 7-second range and hit speeds of about 190 miles an hour. The cars are very evenly matched and, frequently, a win or a loss is determined by one-thousandth of a second.
Motorcycles are part of the pro classes, too. The drivers guide the bullet-like motorcycles as the machines cover the quarter-mile in 7.5 seconds and hit speeds of 180 miles an hour.
The Mile High Nationals action and fan interest pick up Friday and Saturday when the pro-class entries are on the track for qualifications runs. Top fuel funny cars and dragsters qualifying sessions are at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday, July 21, and at 4:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 22. The eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 23.
Bandimere Speedway is at 3051 S. Rooney Road, Morrison, alongside C-470.
For information on tickets or the Mile High National schedule, call Bandimere Speedway at 303-697-6001 or visit www.bandimere.com.
“Teams begin arriving July 19 to set up and be ready when racing begins July 21,” said John Miller, Bandimere media relations director. “There will be hundreds of cars competing in the different NHRA classifications. A majority of the entries are in the sportsmen classes and those entries are driven by men and women from the local area.”
Although friends and families support drivers competing in the sportsman classes, Miller said the Mile High Nationals are a special time of year for drag-racing fans as all the top competitors in the four professional classifications — top fuel dragster, top fuel funny car, pro stock car and pro stock motorcycle — will be at Bandimere Speedway.
Drag-racing is a full-time profession for just about all the professional class drivers and teams, most of whom come from cities around the country. But this year also sports two local entries in the professional classes: Deric Cramer, currently 18th in points, will be competing in pro stock and Mike Berry, a Littleton resident, will be astride his pro stock motorcycle. Berry is currently 15th in the points standings.
“The top dragster division in the sportsman class will also be interesting to watch this year, particularly the competition between Arvada residents Steve and Vicky Johnson,” Miller said. “Steve is first in points here at the track and his wife Vicky is second. Vicky won the Mile High Nationals top dragster race in 2015 and her husband won it last year.”
Over the three days of racing, about 100,000 fans are expected at Bandimere Speedway. The Mile High Nationals is the only National Hot Rod Association national event in the Rocky Mountain area.
Pro class drivers expected to be at Bandimere include names like Ron Capps, the points leader in top fuel dragster and Bo Butler, who is in first place in the pro stock points standings.
Special attention also is focused on the outcome of the top fuel dragster races because, as of July 12, there was a fierce battle for second place with two points separating Leah Pritchett (1,087 points) and Antron Brown (1,085 points). Steve Torrence is the points leader with 1,188 points. Points are awarded on participation and performance. Each driver who qualifies earns 10 points and the champion of a division earns 100 points, with 80 points going to the runner-up. It is possible, but not very likely, for a driver who has an unusually successful weekend to earn 130 points.
National drag-racing events are special because a ticket includes a pit pass, which allows fans to watch mechanics prepare the cars for action and even get a chance to talk and get autographs from their favorite drivers. It equates to allowing football fans access to a pro football team’s locker room.
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