Mile High Nationals a showcase for speed

Top drag racers will battle for points at Bandimere Speedway


Powerful engines will emit deep-throated growls and shake the ground July 20-22 when the Mile High National Drag Races take center stage at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison.

Although time trials and racing don’t begin until July 22, teams were arriving as early as July 16 at Bandimere Speedway for the 13th race in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Over the three days of racing, about 100,000 fans are expected to come to Bandimere for the Mile High Nationals, which is the only National Hot Rod Association national event in the Rocky Mountain area.

“We began preparations for the Mile High Nationals about a month ago,” said John Bandimere III, track president. “We have had crews in sprucing up the entire track area.”

He said, for the event, they will hire about 200 additional people.

“We hire people to handle parking, to work concessions and do the other jobs needed to accommodate our fans,” he said. “This is our major event of the year and we want all our fans to come to a first-class facility to watch championship drag racing.”

Annually, many of the racers will be regional or local drivers but a major attraction at the Mile High Nationals is the drivers in the pro classes — top fuel dragster, top fuel funny car, pro stock and pro stock motorcycle.

There will be a lot of attention paid to the pro categories because, as of July 13, Steve Torrance was leading in points but former top fuel champion Tony Schumacher was only 190 points back in the standings. Courtney Force, daughter of John Force, who won the national funny car championship a number of times, is leading in the points standings with Matt Hagan trailing by 190 points.

There is a pitched battle going on for points in pro stock. Erica Enders is in first place but Greg Anderson trails by only 16 points and Tanner Gray is in third place 19 points behind Enders.

National drag racing events are special because a ticket includes a pit pass, allowing fans to watch mechanics prepare the cars for action and even to talk with and get autographs from their favorite drivers. It equates to allowing football fans access to a pro football team’s locker room.

The Mile High Nationals action and fan interest pick up July 20 and 21 when the pro-class entries are on the track for qualifications runs. Top fuel funny cars and dragsters qualifying sessions are at 6 and 8 p.m. July 20 and at the same time July 21. The eliminations begin at 11 a.m. July 22.

Drag racing is about harnessing horsepower and torque to produce speed as quickly as possible. The top fuel dragsters are at the top of the list of achieving those goals. The powerful 10,000-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, and the car can be traveling more than 320 mph as it crosses the finish line.

Funny cars are powered by the same high-performance engines as the dragsters. But, instead of the slingshot-style dragster body, funny cars use bodies fashioned to resemble production-model automobiles. The speeds and times for funny cars are just a little less 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 seven-second range for a quarter-mile and hit speeds of about 190 mph. 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 mph.

For information on tickets or the Mile High National schedule, call Bandimere Speedway at 303-697-6001 or visit the website at


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