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Bandimere Speedway echoes with thunder this weekend

Mile High National Drag Races take place July 21-23


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 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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