The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series powers back to Bandimere Speedway as the famed Western Swing kicks off at the 39th annual Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 20-22. Sunday’s finals will be shown live on the FOX national broadcast network.
The Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals is the 14th of 24 events during the 2018 NHRA season and is traditional starting point of challenging three-race Western Swing. Only four events follow it before the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship begins, which adds to the importance of the race for the best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The Western Swing includes races at scenic Bandimere Speedway, Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Pacific Raceways in Seattle. The Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals poses a unique challenge racing at an elevation of more than 5,800 feet. That affects everything from engine tune-ups to aerodynamics, as teams are forced to change their setups to power-making combinations and battle the lack of down-force to try and solve the challenge of racing in the Rocky Mountains.
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.
Three-time Top Fuel world champ Antron Brown won for the third time at Bandimere Speedway a year ago, but the standout is still searching for his first victory in 2018. He’s hoping to get his season on track in Denver against the likes of points leader Steve Torrence, who has five wins this season, two-time season winner Clay Millican, eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher, who has three Denver wins, defending world champ Brittany Force, Atlanta winner Leah Pritchett, Terry McMillen, Pomona winner Doug Kalitta, and Scott Palmer.
Robert Hight’s win in Denver a year ago in Funny Car helped start his run to his second career world championship, and the veteran hopes to replicate that feat in 2018. Hight has one win this season, but is chasing John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force, who has won four times and holds the points lead. She’ll look for her first win at the race against the likes of three-time winner Jack Beckman, seven-time event winner John Force, 2016 world champ Ron Capps, Charlotte winner Cruz Pedregon, Epping winner Matt Hagan, Bob Tasca III, and J.R. Todd, who has two wins in 2018.
Drew Skillman posted his first career Pro Stock win at Bandimere in 2017 and will try to become the ninth different winner in the talent-filled class in 2018. Skillman is among a list of standouts that includes points leader and three-time winner Tanner Gray, as well as two-time 2018 winners Vincent Nobile and Jeg Coughlin Jr., as well as Bo Butner, the reigning world champ, Greg Anderson, Matt Hartford, Epping champ Chris McGaha, Erica Enders, and area native Deric Kramer.
Eddie Krawiec’s fourth Pro Stock Motorcycle win in Denver tied him with teammate Andrew Hines and Matt Hines for the most in class history at the track. He rode that momentum to an impressive championship run and has three wins in 2018. Hines is second in points, while other class standouts include Chicago winner Matt Smith, L.E. Tonglet, who won in Richmond, Charlotte winner Jerry Savoie, Hector Arana Jr., Scotty Pollacheck and Cory Reed.
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 spectacular jet cars. 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, John Bandimere Jr. and more.
Along with the exciting on-track action, the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals will honor first responders with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” celebration.
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.