Drag Race Central - NHRA
Sat, 13 Jul 2013, 09:44 AM

NHRA's Demanding Three-Week Western Swing Kicks Off
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

At Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver at Bandimere Speedway

MORRISON, Colo. --

As the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series thunders near the Rocky Mountains for the 34th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 19-21, fans and drivers alike are ready to get into the swing of things for the kickoff of the traditional three-week Western Swing at scenic Bandimere Speedway.

In celebration of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series at Thunder Mountain, fans can take advantage of a special Mello Yello ticket offer: Bring an empty 20-oz. Mello YelloR bottle to the Bandimere Speedway box office and SAVE $8 on one adult single day NHRA race ticket, Friday - Sunday.

The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals marks the 14th of 24-races in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and one of the final regular season races where NHRA teams push hard to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA's six-race playoffs. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were victorious at the popular Denver drag strip in 2012 and hope to continue to rule at the event, which will be televised on ESPN2 HD.

To kick off the three-week Western Swing, the NHRA Mello Yello teams will travel deep into the Rocky Mountains to an elevation of more than 5,800 feet, where the altitude affects everything from engine tune-ups to aerodynamics. Crews must adapt their setups to power-making combinations and battle the lack of down force to tackle the unique racing environment. The event is a testament to the skill and adaptability of the racers and teams.

Allen Johnson
Teams also must take advantage of the hectic pace of the three races in three weeks opportunity. Those who do will see an increase in their points position as the NHRA Regular Season concludes. Those who struggle to deal with the adversity presented to them during the grueling stretch could wind up several spots down in the standings. In addition to the rigorous three-race Western Swing, the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals also comes in the middle of a stretch that includes seven races in eight weeks.

With high altitude challenges and tough competitors, the race at the top of the Mountain is anyone's game. So far this season in Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon has impressed the most, winning three events and sitting in the points lead. Seven-time Mello Yello world champion Tony Schumacher is showing the success that has made him a multi-time champion as he continues to stay on Langdon's heels. He has two wins at the Mile-High event and will have to face his teammate and reigning Mello Yello world champ Brown. There's also past event winner Spencer Massey, who recently won in Epping, N.H., Khalid alBalooshi, who won the last race in Norwalk, Ohio, and Morgan Lucas, who are all ready to battle it out at Bandimere and start the grueling Western Swing.

The 2011 world champion Matt Hagan is back in championship form as the series points leader in the super competitive Funny Car ranks, but he has yet to earn a win at the legendary Bandimere track. Other former event winners are inching up the points order, including defending world champ and event winner Beckman, Robert Hight, Cruz Pedregon, New England Nationals winner Courtney Force and 15-time world champion John Force.

In Pro Stock, reigning world champ and four-time Mile-High Nationals winner Johnson will be looking to repeat while points leader Mike Edwards hopes his dominance remains and takes home his first career win at the Mountain. Jeg Coughlin, Jason Line, Greg Anderson, Vincent Nobile and more will provide plenty of competition to try to keep Edwards' lead from growing, giving fans plenty of thrilling side-by-side racing in the process.

Hector Arana Jr. is the points leader in Pro Stock Motorcycle, but he will have plenty of challengers including defending world champ Eddie Krawiec, two-time event winner Andrew Hines, Scotty Pollacheck, Hector Arana, Michael Ray Jr., John Hall and many more.

In addition to three days of intense racing, there will be loads of family-fun activities in celebration of Bandimere Speedway's 55th anniversary. On Thursday, July 18, fans are invited to attend the tradition-rich Mopar Block Party in Downtown Golden from 6-10 p.m., featuring a live band, car displays, and a driver autograph session.

There are also spectacular jet car runs on Friday night and a special "Go Red for Women Track Walk" on Saturday morning prior to racing at 8:30 a.m. to bring awareness to heart disease. The Track Walk gives fans the chance to walk the same track where NHRA drivers race at speeds of more than 300 mph and are joined by some of NHRA's favorite drivers. The experience is free for all Saturday ticket holders.

As always, every ticket purchased for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals is a pit pass, which offers an extraordinary look behind the scenes in the world of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics "twirl the iron" between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time with their favorite NHRA drivers.

Mello Yello Series qualifying begins on Friday, July 19 with the first session at 5:15 p.m., followed by another session under the lights at 7:15 p.m. When 8,000-horsepower nitro machines blast off from the starting line with their header pipes full of flames during night qualifying, the scene provides one of the most sensory-filled experiences for any race motorsports fan.

The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, July 20 at 1:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 21.

To purchase tickets for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, please call Bandimere Speedway Box Office at (800) 664-8946 or visit www.bandimere.com.

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