MORRISON, CO – July 19, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Deric Kramer has almost two decades of experience racing at his home track, Bandimere Speedway, the site of weekend’s 38th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, starting in junior dragster and including his Pro Stock debut in 2012.
Despite all those passes on the mountain, racing in the unique conditions at Bandimere Speedway doesn’t get any easier for Kramer, who will make his sixth appearance of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season this weekend. Looking for his first round win of the year in his American Ethanol Dodge Dart, the Sterling, Colo., native knows challenges await in Denver.
“Racing (at Bandimere) in Pro Stock is definitely a whole new animal,” Kramer said. “The clutch setup is so different and there’s just so many things about this race that is different. There’s no other track like this, and the view, the fans and the location, it’s just really amazing. Even with the challenges, we like racing at home. It’s something we always look forward to and it’s a lot of fun.”
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 and FOX, including live final eliminations on FOX at 3 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 23. It is the 14th of 24 events in 2017 and also the first of three races on the famed NHRA Western Swing.
It will be a busy weekend for Kramer, who is also racing in Stock and will have Richie Stevens Jr., who is married to two-time Pro Stock world champ Erica Enders, driving a second American Ethanol Dodge Dart in Denver. But perhaps the biggest priority is finding some success in his own car. He has qualified for every race he’s attended this season, but after winning a career-best three rounds a year ago, Kramer is still looking to take that next step in 2017.
“I think we’ve made some decent runs, but these other teams are showing a lot more consistency this year so it’s been hard,” Kramer said. “We’re making good progress, but it obviously doesn’t show in the results. It’s super tough. It really takes an iron will and we want to keep going and keep getting better. We can’t get better if I’m not out there racing. When I race I don’t go there to go out in the first round, but that’s where we’re sitting right now. Hopefully we can change that.”
Doing it close to home would make for a thrilling weekend and having Stevens in a second car should help. But he’ll also have to deal with defending event winner Johnson, who has seven wins and 10 straight final round appearances at Denver, as well as points leader Bo Butner and the rest of the talented Pro Stock class. Kramer has seen the rigors of that this season, but he knows there’s room for improvement on his end. Racing in Denver and again next week in Sonoma will give Kramer an opportunity to show it and he’s aware of what must get better on his end.
“I want to see consistent starts for me,” Kramer said. “I’m trying so many things, my lights haven’t been consistent, so I would like consistent starts and obviously a handful of round wins. Whatever we can do to get that, that’s the goal the next few races. We’re trying to put our time to good use. It’s no secret we’re struggling right now, but I want to see us racing to the best of our potential.”
Schumacher will try for a fourth Top Fuel win at Bandimere Speedway, while also trying to track down points leader Steve Torrence, who has five wins in 2017.
Force’s seventh Funny Car win on the mountain tied him for most in NHRA history at the track. He’ll look to top points leader and defending world champ Ron Capps, who has six wins this year.
Hines will try for a fifth Pro Stock Motorcycle win in Denver to reach the most in class history, but he’ll have to get past points leader LE Tonglet, who already has four victories in 2017.
The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Muy Caliente Racing jet dragsters sponsored by Lucas Oil, driven by the General Manager of Bandimere Speedway, “Sporty” Bandimere! Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
As always, fans can 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 the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
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.
On the evening of Thursday, July 20, the official “starter” event of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals will commence with the free admission Mopar Mile-High Block Party in downtown Golden, Colorado, from 6 – 10 p.m. MT. Mopar is partnering with Pennzoil to put on the 16th edition of the extravaganza featuring an autograph session with all top Mopar NHRA stars.
Live music, food and drink tents, merchandise, interactive displays including the new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators and a car show featuring plenty of Mopar muscle are also on tap at the fan event. Popular Denver-area morning radio show host Willie B. from KBPI 106.7 FM will serve as the event emcee. For complete information on the Mopar Mile-High Block Party, visit www.milehighblockparty.com.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 22, at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 23.
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. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association