MORRISON, CO – July 14, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Deric Kramer and Cory Reed both grew up in Colorado racing junior dragsters at scenic Bandimere Speedway, and now both of the rising stars in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series are eager to be part of the NHRA’s first live broadcast on a national television network.
Those are the moments that Pro Stock’s Kramer and Reed, a newcomer in Pro Stock Motorcycle, have dreamed about and both have big aspirations at the upcoming 38th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, which takes place July 22-24 at the popular family-owned dragstrip that sits along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, just west of downtown Denver.
The race kicks off the famed Western Swing and Sunday’s finals will be broadcast live on the FOX national broadcast network. It’s a long way from racing junior dragsters to start their racing careers, but both Kramer and Reed are embracing their returns to the track many refer to as “Thunder Mountain.”
“I’ve raced here pretty much my entire life and it’s going to be a great opportunity,” said Kramer, who is currently 15th in Pro Stock points. “This is where I learned how to drive. It’s definitely exciting and the way we approach it, this is where the season starts for us. We definitely want to go out and do our best.”
Said Reed: “It’s definitely going to be the coolest (race) for me yet. I’ll have more family and friends there. I think it just adds another level of comfort. You don’t really have to go there and think about anything else. It’s just one extra thing off your mind. Going out West for me is definitely cool. This is where I grew up.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Larry Morgan (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners of the 14th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The race is also the seventh of 16 for Reed and the rest of the Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors, and the Grand Junction, Colo. native is starting to see things come together on his Precision Service Equipment Buell.
Reed was named the second rider on the Star Racing team before the 2016 season, becoming teammates with three-time world champion Angelle Sampey, and has made impressive strides. Reed, who had just one career race in Pro Stock Motorcycle before this season, has picked up his first career round wins at each of the past two races, moving to 14th in points with just four PSM races before the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
“I think everything has been building up to this point,” Reed said. “Nobody stops working on this team. (Team owner) George (Bryce) stays on top of Angelle and me pretty good. We’re always working on things and thinking about going faster. I’m always trying to improve on little things.
Racing at an elevation of more than 5,800 feet, the Bandimere Speedway altitude presents a challenge unlike anything in drag racing. It will be Reed’s first experience at the track on his Pro Stock Motorcycle Buell, but he hopes that familiarity of racing there over the years will pay off.
“I already know about the track and everyone is looking forward to this race,” Reed said. “We’ve got a good feeling and good vibe going and we just want to keep it up. Nobody is satisfied.”
Kramer has had his best season in the Pro Stock ranks while continuing to race on a part-time basis in his American Ethanol Dodge Dart.
He has posted three round wins in five races, two more round wins than he had in his previous 38. Kramer has also qualified as high as 11th twice in the new look Pro Stock class, which now features which features fuel-injected engines, flat hoods, 10,500 RPM rev-limiters and shortened wheelie-bars. It’s been adjustment for everyone in the class, but it’s worked out well for Kramer thus far.
“Our team is a much more unified piece now,” Kramer said. “We’re a lot tighter now. I started racing Pro Stock in 2012 and there are a lot of guys with a lot more laps than me. With the changes to the cars, I feel like a lot of teams are in the exact positions as we are now. That gave us an opportunity to improve and be equal to some of the competition.”
Kramer, a Sterling, Colo. native, has made the most of it but he wants to make even more progress starting in Denver. He called the three-race Western Swing, which also includes stops in Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Pacific Raceways in Seattle, one of his most important stretches of the season.
The team will run a second car in Denver and Kramer, who will also be racing in Brainerd and at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, is excited about what his team can do at Bandimere Speedway.
“It’s going to be a great time,” Kramer said. “I want to go four rounds every week. As a driver, I don’t go out there to lose. I want to do the best I can and I try to show that on the tree. It’s just a matter of building consistency. The more we can repeat a great run, the better we will do.”
In Top Fuel, Torrence raced past eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher in the Denver final round last year to claim his first win of the season. Torrence already has two wins in 2016 and will hope for a third to try and track down points leader and reigning world champion Antron Brown, who has three victories this season. Others to watch include J.R. Todd, Shawn Langdon, who won back-to-back events this season, two-time 2016 winner Brittany Force, Aussie Richie Crampton, Terry McMillen, Doug Kalitta, who has three victories this year, and Clay Millican.
In Funny Car, Beckman claimed his third Denver victory last year by outlasting John Force in the final round and earned his first win of 2016 recently in Chicago. Force and his John Force Racing team have combined for 11 victories at the picturesque dragstrip, including six by Force. But points leader Ron Capps is red-hot with four wins this year. A host of other top competitors include Robert Hight, a three-time Denver winner, Courtney Force, two-time world champ Matt Hagan, Alexis DeJoria, Tim Wilkerson, a two-time winner this year, Tommy Johnson Jr. and reigning world champ Del Worsham.
The Pro Stock race at Bandimere Speedway in 2015 featured a major upset as Morgan sprinted past then back-to-back-to-back Mopar Mile-High winner Allen Johnson in the final round. Johnson is a six-time Mopar Mile-High winner and will hope to make his 10th straight final round appearance this year. But the new era of Pro Stock has so far been dominated by Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson. Points leader Line has won seven races while Anderson, the only Pro Stock driver to sweep the Swing, has won six events. Drivers like Bo Butner, two-time and defending world champ Erica Enders, Drew Skillman, Shane Gray and Vincent Nobile are all after their first win of the year.
Eddie Krawiec raced to his first victory of the season last year in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and the standout already has three wins and the points lead in 2016. The talent-rich field also features standouts like reigning world champ and four-time Denver winner Andrew Hines, who won the most recent event in Chicago, Louisiana alligator farmer Jerry Savoie, Sampey, who won her first race since 2007 recently in Englishtown, N.J., Hector Arana Jr., Scotty Pollacheck, LE Tonglet, Karen Stoffer, Matt Smith, gritty veteran Steve Johnson, Hector Arana and Chip Ellis.
The Mopar Mile-HIgh Nationals will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where the future stars of the sport earn their racing stripes.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand how the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
As part of NHRA’s ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Funny Car class, one legendary Funny Car driver will be honored during pre-race ceremonies.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 22, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 23, at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 14.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-664-UWIN (8946) or 303-697-6001. Tickets also are available online at www.bandimere.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 37th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, the 14th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. The NHRA Lucas Oil Series also will be featured at this event.
WHERE: Bandimere Speedway, Morrison, Colo. The track is 10 miles west of Denver, just north of the historic town of Morrison. From Denver, take Interstate 70 west to C-470 and travel south to the Morrison Road exit. Take Morrison Road west to Rooney Road and go north to the track.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 5,860 feet above sea level; Track direction is south to north.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, July 22-24
FRIDAY, July 22 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, July 23 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4 and 6:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, July 24 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Friday, July 22, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 8 p.m. (ET).
Saturday, July 23, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 11:30 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, July 24, FOX will televise three hours of live finals coverage at 3 p.m. (ET).
2015 EVENT WINNERS: Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Jack Beckman, Funny Car; Larry Morgan, Pro Stock, Eddie Krawiec, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
MOST VICTORIES: Bob Glidden, 7, PS; Joe Amato, 6, TF; John Force, 6, FC; Allen Johnson, 6, PS; Warren Johnson, 5, PS; Matt Hines, 4, PSM
Top Fuel – 3.791 sec. by Larry Dixon, July ’15; 326.95 mph by Brittany Force, July ’15.
Funny Car – 4.015 sec. by John Force July ’15; 318.39 mph by Force, July ’14.
Pro Stock – 6.877 sec. by Allen Johnson, July ’15; 201.01 mph by Shane Gray, July ’15.
PS Motorcycle – 7.169 sec. by Eddie Krawiec, July ’15; 187.96 mph by Hector Arana Jr., July ’15.
Top Fuel – 3.676 sec. by Brittany Force, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.862 sec. and 335.57 mph by Matt Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
PS Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.
TICKETS: For tickets, call (800) 664-UWIN (8946) or purchase online at www.bandimere.com.
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
GLENDORA, CA — Point standings (top 10) following the 13th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –
1. Antron Brown, 1,056; 2. Doug Kalitta, 1,054; 3. Steve Torrence, 912; 4. Brittany Force, 896; 5. Tony Schumacher, 803; 6. Shawn Langdon, 746; 7. J.R. Todd, 725; 8. (tie) Richie Crampton, 603; Clay Millican, 603; 10. Leah Pritchett, 521.
1. Ron Capps, 1,068; 2. Jack Beckman, 942; 3. Courtney Force, 892; 4. Matt Hagan, 828; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 803; 6. Robert Hight, 799; 7. Del Worsham, 796; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 760; 9. John Force, 699; 10. Alexis DeJoria, 697.
1. Jason Line, 1,472; 2. Greg Anderson, 1,392; 3. Bo Butner, 898; 4. Allen Johnson, 773; 5. Drew Skillman, 717; 6. Vincent Nobile, 666; 7. Shane Gray, 619; 8. Chris McGaha, 610; 9. Jeg Coughlin, 580; 10. Alex Laughlin, 530.
Pro Stock Motorcycle:
1. Eddie Krawiec, 639; 2. Andrew Hines, 505; 3. Angelle Sampey, 471; 4. Jerry Savoie, 428; 5. Hector Arana, 344; 6. Chip Ellis, 333; 7. LE Tonglet, 289; 8. Steve Johnson, 258; 9. Matt Smith, 235; 10. Michael Ray, 228.