MORRISON, Colo. – When the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Bandimere Speedway for the Mopar Mile-High Nationals July 19-21, three time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Andrew Hines returns to a track that holds a special place in history during his racing career.
Bandimere Speedway is located 195 miles north of the former Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team headquarters which was based in Trinidad, Colo. until 2004. Hines graduated from Trinidad High School, made his first career NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series start at the track and will have a large contingent of fans rooting for him and his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team during the event.
“I have a lot of friends up there since I went to high school in southern Colorado and they will come out and hang out,” Hines said. “I have an aunt that lives in southern Colorado and I’m sure they will come out and have a great time. It's a great environment and the atmosphere around the track is amazing. The fans up there are awesome and when we're there we see some of the best sights on the tour for a racetrack.”
Racers in all four categories in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will take to Bandimere Speedway to compete at one of the most scenic and challenging venues they will face during the season. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all took home wins in 2012 at the high altitude track. ESPN2 HD will televise the racing action during the weekend.
Hines is currently in an unfamiliar position of being outside of the top 10 in the Countdown to the Championship, in 12th position, with three races remaining until the playoffs begin at the NHRA Carolina Nationals. The team has been working and testing tirelessly with the results beginning to show on the track.
“If we can knock off a round win here or there, I’m going to need at least three or four round wins from here to fight for a top 10 spot,” he continued. “It is so tough out here this here, everybody has stepped up their game. We are obviously in a different position this year than we were last year with trying to figure out the tuning at each track. We are starting to get a handle on it and at Norwalk we were running better than we have at the previous four races. It is coming together slowly and we are going to have to make a run for it.”
The Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team has enjoyed success at Bandimere Speedway through the years with Andrew, brother Matt who serves as crew chief for the team and his teammate Krawiec claiming eight wins between the three of them. Matt is the winningest Pro Stock Motorcycle racer at the track with four wins (2002, 1998-1996), Krawiec is the defending winner and won at the track in 2009 and Andrew also has two victories at the track (2010, 2006).
“We do have a lot of knowledge there because our shop was based there for eight years so we did a lot of development work there at high altitude,” Hines said. “We knew at the time what it would like. Now with us being based in Indianapolis we have kind of lost our edge up there on the mountain, but we still have a good base line for what it takes up there at that track.”
“Racing at Bandimere puts a premium on rider skill,” Krawiec said. “Because we are down on power the effect of every mistake is magnified. We need to be very smooth off the line, can’t short shift or the engine will fall on its face. In many ways rider or driver skill is substituting for the loss of power.”
Other riders to watch in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category include series leader Hector Arana Jr., a three-time winner this season, red-hot Michael Ray, who has won two races recently, Norwalk winner Matt Smith, Epping champ John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck, who is a win waiting to happen.
The high altitude will challenge racers and crew chiefs from every team as they attempt to make horsepower at a track that sits 5,860 feet above sea level. Shawn Langdon in Top Fuel will take his one point lead in the standings into the event striving to secure his fourth win of the season and his first NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship. Tony Schumacher, second in points, along with a surging Doug Kalitta, defending event winner Brown and most recent category winner Khalid alBalooshi will all vie for wins at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
Matt Hagan is the Funny Car points leader and the 2011 Funny Car world champion is looking to retain his points lead in a tough category. Johnny Gray leads the category with four wins and a hard-charging John Force, Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon will all look for wins at the event.
Two-time Denver Pro Stock winner Mike Edwards became the first racer of the year to clinch a berth into the Countdown to the Championship with his four season wins and will be looking to continue his dominance on the field. Defending world champ Allen Johnson, a four-time Denver winner, and his teammate Jeg Coughlin, Jason Line, Greg Anderson and Vincent Nobile are all looking for wins in Colorado.
In addition to three days of intense racing, there will be loads of family-fun activities in celebration of Bandimere Speedway’s 55th anniversary. On Thursday, July 18, fans are invited to attend the tradition-rich Mopar Block Party in Downtown Golden from 6-10 p.m., featuring a live band, car displays, and a driver autograph session.
There are also spectacular jet car runs on Friday night and a special “Go Red for Women Track Walk” on Saturday morning prior to racing at 8:30 a.m. to bring awareness to heart disease. The Track Walk gives fans the chance to walk the same track where NHRA drivers race at speeds of more than 300 mph and are joined by some of NHRA’s favorite drivers. The experience is free for all Saturday ticket holders.
As always, every ticket purchased for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals is a pit pass, which offers an extraordinary look behind the scenes in the world of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics “twirl the iron” between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time with their favorite NHRA drivers.
Mello Yello Series qualifying begins on Friday, July 19 with the first session at 5:15 p.m., followed by another session under the lights at 7:15 p.m. When 8,000-horsepower nitro machines blast off from the starting line with their header pipes full of flames during night qualifying, the scene provides one of the most sensory-filled experiences for any race motorsports fan.
The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, July 20 at 1:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 21.
To purchase tickets for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, please call Bandimere Speedway Box Office at (800) 664-8946 or visit www.bandimere.com. For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.
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MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 34th 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 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
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.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, July 19-21.
FRIDAY, July 19 - LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 5:15 and 7:15 p.m.
SATURDAY, July 20 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:45 and 4:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, July 21 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Saturday, July 20, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 8 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, July 21, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise three hours of coverage starting at 6 p.m. (ET).
SATELLITE (Digital HD feed):
Friday, July 19, 11:30 p.m. - Midnight (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 24C
Saturday, July 20, 10 - 10:30 p.m. (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 24C
Sunday, July 21, 9 - 9:30 p.m. (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 24C
(4180 MHz, vertical; Data Rate: 40.46147055 Mbp; Symbol Rate: 29.27 Ms; FEC: ¾; Bandwidth: 36 Mhz)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.
2012 EVENT WINNERS: Antron Brown, Top Fuel; Jack Beckman, Funny Car; Allen Johnson, Pro Stock; Eddie Krawiec, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
MOST VICTORIES: Bob Glidden, 7, PS; Joe Amato, 6, TF; John Force, 6, FC; Warren Johnson, 5, PS; Allen Johnson, 4, PS
Top Fuel - 3.862 seconds by Antron Brown, July ’09; 318.39 mph by Brown, July ’09.
Funny Car - 4.095 seconds by Cruz Pedregon, July ’11; 307.51 mph by Pedregon, July ’11.
Pro Stock - 6.916 seconds by Allen Johnson, July ’12; 198.70 mph by Johnson, July ’12.
PS Motorcycle - 7.237 seconds by Hector Arana Jr., July ’12; 186.54 mph by Ryan Schnitz, July ’05.
Top Fuel - 3.701 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car - 3.986 sec. by Jack Beckman, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 320.58 mph by Beckman, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.
Pro Stock - 6.471 sec. by Mike Edwards, April ’13, Charlotte, N.C.; 214.35 mph by Jason Line, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.
PS Motorcycle - 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March ’11, Gainesville, Fla.
TICKETS: Order tickets by phone at (800) 664-UWIN (8946). Tickets also are available online at www.bandimere.com
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NHRA MELLO YELLO SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
GLENDORA, Calif. – World championship point standings (top 10) following the 13th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel: 1. Shawn Langdon, 1,013; 2. Tony Schumacher, 1,012; 3. Spencer Massey, 922; 4. Doug Kalitta, 807; 5. Antron Brown, 799; 6. Khalid alBalooshi, 771; 7. Clay Millican, 700; 8. Morgan Lucas, 639; 9. (tie) Steve Torrence, 605; Bob Vandergriff, 605.
Funny Car: 1. Matt Hagan, 959; 2. Johnny Gray, 858; 3. Cruz Pedregon, 833; 4. Ron Capps, 832; 5. John Force, 823; 6. Jack Beckman, 792; 7. Courtney Force, 784; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 713; 9. Del Worsham, 696; 10. Bob Tasca III, 651.
Pro Stock: 1. Mike Edwards, 1,218; 2. Allen Johnson, 1,065; 3. Jeg Coughlin, 1,020; 4. Jason Line, 817; 5.Shane Gray, 801; 6. Vincent Nobile, 750; 7. Erica Enders-Stevens, 743; 8. Greg Anderson, 712; 9. Rodger Brogdon, 596; 10. V. Gaines, 589.
Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Hector Arana Jr, 569; 2. Michael Ray, 521; 3. Matt Smith, 487; 4. John Hall, 471; 5. Scotty Pollacheck, 459; 6. Hector Arana, 441; 7. Adam Arana, 361; 8. Eddie Krawiec, 360; 9. Steve Johnson, 341; 10. LE Tonglet, 310.