Some of Deric Kramer’s first memories as a child are from Bandimere Speedway and the Pro Stock standout and Denver-area native has enjoyed countless enjoyable moments over the years at his home track.
He’ll get a chance to make one more on Thunder Mountain at this weekend’s 43rd annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals. With the Bandimere family celebrating its 65th anniversary at the facility in 2023 and the final race at Bandimere Speedway set to take place this weekend, Kramer will have one last opportunity to take his GetBiofuel.com Chevrolet Camaro to the winner’s circle.
He’s qualified No. 1 in Denver in Pro Stock, doing so in 2018, but a professional win at his home track is the one thing that has evaded him. Being able to do so at the final race at Bandimere Speedway would make for an incredible moment, but Kramer knows he must keep his emotions in check this weekend to have a chance to do so.
“It’s a lot of pressure, frankly,” said Kramer, who is currently third in Pro Stock points. “We’re going to try to go out on top. This is the track where I grew up. From playing in the dirt on the side of the hill to qualifying No. 1, some of my first memories are from Bandimere. I was in one of the first Jr. Dragster cars there at a national event, I got my Pro Stock license there (2012) and it’s where I learned how to drive a Pro Stock car. It’s just a special place.”
If there’s one thing on Kramer’s side, it’s his stellar performance this year, giving him perhaps the best chance he’s ever had to win on Thunder Mountain. He won in Charlotte earlier this year in the middle of a stretch where Kramer advanced to four straight final rounds. That streak was snapped two weeks ago in Norwalk, but Kramer and his team have been impressive for the bulk of the season.
He also tested in Denver leading into this weekend’s event, adding to the confidence level for the team. But getting the last Wally at Bandimere Speedway won’t be easy, especially as Kramer goes against the likes of points leader Dallas Glenn, defending event winner Hartford, who won in Norwalk, reigning world champ Erica Enders and Aaron Stanfield.
Kramer, though, is pleased with how his team has progressed, dating all the way back to last year in Indy.
“The easiest way to describe it is we finally have all the pieces together,” said Kramer, who has five career Pro Stock wins. “Things started jiving last year around Indy and we were way more consistent in the Countdown (to the Championship) than we ever had been. We started taking advantage of that last year and it’s carried over. With our crew, our car and our equipment, we have the capability to win every weekend."