MORRISON, CO – July 19, 2018 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – A trip out West and to familiar territory might be just the switch Cory Reed is looking for to get his 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season on track. Currently sitting 11th in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings, Reed is hoping for a swift turnaround heading into this weekend’s 39th annual Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
It’s the home track for the Grand Junction, Colo., native and also the track where Reed grew up racing. With only three PSM events following this weekend until the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship begins, Reed knows he has work to do to crack into the top 10 on his FireAde/Team Liberty Racing Buell. But familiarity in Denver could produce the result he’s been after in 2018.
“We just need to get things rolling, so by the time Indy comes we’ve really got some steam built up,” Reed said. “I like going out West, though. It’s a good change and I’m a West Coast guy. I grew up there, I get to go see a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while. I’ve been to Bandimere so many times since I was a kid. It’s my favorite track on the circuit. It’s just nice to feel at home a little bit.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (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 22. It is the seventh of 16 races during the 2018 Pro Stock Motorcycle season and Reed, NHRA’s top rookie in 2016, would love for his first victory in the class to come in Denver.
Reed is still looking for consistency from the second-year Team Liberty Racing team he owns and also features teammate Angelle Sampey, a three-time world champion. But overcoming the bumps in the road for a new team is something Reed expected and he believes the team is starting to turn the corner. Both Reed and Sampey have put together strong test sessions lately, and Reed believes it’s just a matter of time before that turns into favorable results on raceday.
“We don’t know yet, really, what these things want yet,” Reed said. ““We’re both learning from each other, which is awesome. We’re both here with one goal and that’s to win the race, and have both bikes run really well each weekend. We’re both here to win a championship, too.”
Reed has enlisted the helped of Larry Morgan, a former Pro Stock standout, and Jim Yates this season and that is already starting to pay big dividends. Both have a history of doing well in Denver and Reed has plenty of experience at the track as well, and the rising star hopes that all plays into his favor. The talent in the class continues to be impressive and Reed will have his hands full against the likes of 2017 event winner and reigning world champ Krawiec, who has four Denver wins, Andrew Hines, another four-time winner at Bandimere, Matt Smith, Hector Arana Jr. and Scotty Pollacheck. But Reed also believes the atmosphere in Denver brings out the best in him.
“Honestly, these guys have been there so many times, they know what to do there on a motorcycle,” Reed said of Morgan and Yates. “I’ve been there so many times, I know the facility well. The track is always nice and the fans are some of the best of the year. The stands are packed all day long, and that’s always a good thing, too. People are enjoying what you’re doing and that feels good. You know there’s going to be a lot of people there and that gets you psyched to race.”
Three-time Top Fuel world champ Antron Brown has three Denver wins, but is seeking his first in 2018 against the likes of points leader Steve Torrence and defending world champ Brittany Force.
Reigning Funny Car world champ Robert Hight will try to defend his Denver event win against the likes of points leader Courtney Force, Matt Hagan, who has back-to-back wins, and Ron Capps.
Drew Skillman will try to become the ninth different winner in Pro Stock in 2018. Points leader Tanner Gray, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and world champ Bo Butner will be among the top challengers.
The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Majestic jet car from El Arabe Racing, the Lucas Oil Muy Caliente jet and the Lucas Oil Terminal Velocity jet. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
Those in attendance will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with a few of the most renowned names in drag racing during the NHRA Legends Tour. This will feature meet-and-greets, autograph sessions, and a variety of other activities. Legends scheduled to attend the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals include Kenny Bernstein, Judy Lilley, John Bandimere Jr. and more.
For the 17th consecutive year, the Mopar Big Block Party Presented by Pennzoil, scheduled for Thursday, July 19, from 6 to 10 p.m. MT, will serve as the “official starter” of the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar race weekend. The popular free-admission event, held on the streets of downtown Golden, Colorado, provides race fans the opportunity to meet their favorite Mopar Dodge Pennzoil NHRA drag racing stars in an hour-long autograph session. Attendees can experience virtual “rides” down the drag strip in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon race simulators and take virtual spins in simulators located in the Pennzoil display, hear live music from the Steve Thomas Band and visit a variety of food, drink and merchandise tents. For complete information on the Mopar Big Block Party Presented by Pennzoil, visit www.milehighblockparty.com.
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 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.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5:15 and 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 20, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 21, at 5:15 and 7:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 22.
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.
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 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. 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 four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; 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