Championship Sunday crowns winners at the Dodge // SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil
By Ronnie Kohrt
The fans of Bandimere Speedway were treated to an unbelievable Championship Sunday show as the NHRA Camping World tour concluded at Bandimere Speedway to kick-off the Western Swing Sunday.
Bandimere's packed stands on Sunday were treated to chapel, the Sealmaster Track Walk and a pre-race ceremony before final eliminations crowned champions at Bandimere. Photos courtesy of official track photographer of Bandimere Speedway SRA Photography.
Upsets were the theme in the early rounds as Clay Millican out of the No. 7 spot took out Brittany Force - who earlier in the weekend reset the Bandimere track record - in the second round.
With the team to beat all-weekend out of the way, the CAPCO dragster of Steve Torrence had the path cleared for a run to the finals beating Mike Salinas on the way to face-off against the No. 10th qualifier Joey Haas reaching the final in his debut at Denver, who stunned Clay Millican in the semi-finals.
Haas had a strong run in the finals but it was too much of Torrence that took the win. Torrence and the CAPCO team flew down the 1000' with not only the better reaction time, but also a 3.860 for the win.
At his sponsors race, Matt Hagan put on a strong showing in his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car. Hagan was not only operating out of the No. 1 qualifying position, but charged down the Bandimere 1000' for the win.
Earlier in the week, Hagan put pressure on himself to perform during the Dodge titled event and he did just that. Out of the gate with the better reaction time in the final, Hagan's 4.105 at 305mph sealed the victory over Alexis DeJoria and put the hellcat on top of Thunder Mountain.
After Matt and Angie Smith sat 1-2 on the qualifying sheet, the Pro Bike power-couple sliced through the competition to reach the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals, it was Matt Smith pulling away from Andrew Hines to reach the final while Eddie Krawiec took out Angie Smith as Smith went red off the starting line. Smith got revenge for his honey as he took home the win over Krawiec with a better reaction-time and better E.T. at the top-end.
In the debut of Pro Modified, Bandimere Speedway was treated to a show of wheel stands and horsepower as the Pro Modified category presented by J&A Service went to work.
Steve "Fast" Jackson bolted down John Bandimere Sr. Blvd and reached the finals after taking down Khalid AlBalooshi and Jim Whiteley in earlier rounds. But in the debut of Pro Mod there was no beating Jose Gonzalez. Jackson had the jump on the starting-line but Gonzalez hammered home a blistering 5.972 at 236mph pass to win the Wally.
Factory Stock Showdown
In the debut of Factory Stock Showdown, Leah Pruett put a strong showing on the board reaching the final after beating No. 1 qualifier Aaron Stanfield who went up on the wheel-bar in the semi-final, drifted left and finally came down needing to get out of the throttle to control the car. Pruett took advantage and sped away for the win.
Stephen Bell out of Shreveport, LA took out Arthur Kohn in the semi-finals out of Texas to reach the finals against Pruett.
Bell prevailed in the battle of Dodge and Chevrolet in the final round as he rode his slightly better reaction-time and slightly better E.T. to the win while also pulling the wheels in the debut of Factory Stock Showdown in Denver.
Local sportsman racers, many from Colorado, tackled the index racing at Bandimere Speedway and were awarded wally's in several categories like Super Street, Super Gas, Stock/Super Stock Combo, Super Comp, Competition Eliminator, Top Sportsman and Top Dragster.
Super Comp came down to the final three cars all from Colorado. Mitch Mustard beat Wayde Samuel in the semi-final to meet Shannon Nicoletti in the final. Nicoletti in the final not only had the better reaction-time, but also was closer to the index to win his first Wally.
In Super Street, Three of the final four cars came from Colorado with Dave Thompson out of Queen Creek, Arizona the traveler. The Arizona power player Thompson took out the Breckenridge Distillery runner Joey Horan in the semi-final to meet Tim Schell out of Fineline Signs and Graphics in the final.
Schell beat Alec Bianco (another Colorado runner) in the semi-final of Super Street to reach the final against Thompson and the Duster out of Fineline took home the wally.
In Super Stock, Scott Burton and Kayla Mozeris out of Phoenix, Arizona met up in the final. Mozeris was dead-on with-a-two in the final to beat the local racer Burton in her Dodge for the win.
In Competition Eliminator, the local Sterling, Colorado Get Biofuel team driver Dave Kramer went to work in the semi-finals but ultimately red-lit against Joe Mozeris. Mozeris would head to the final against Jim Greenheck in a doorslammer vs. dragster final and seal the win for a double-Wally weekend.
Between the Mozeris team, Dad and Daughter took home Wally's on Thunder Mountain.
The finals of Stock saw two Dodge powered machines in the final, both veterans to running at Bandimere Speedway.
In an all-Challenger final, Craig Maddox driving the new muscle Dodge Challenger out of Maddox Motors took on Dwayne Scheitlin in his old muscle 1970 Challenger. Scheitlin in his '70 Challenger won the race at the top-end with help from his reaction-time to take home the trophy.
Top Sportsman saw Jimmy Lewis out of Forney, Texas reach the finals against local Colorado Bandimere runner Duane Doffing in his 1957 Bel Air. Lewis in his Bickel built GXP took home the Wally at the top-end and secured the win.
Super Gas was won by Darin Dolezal out of Chandler, Arizona who reached the final against Jeremy Siffring out of Arlington, Nebraska where the dueling roadsters went at it. Unfortunately it was over on the starting line as Siffring red-lit in the final giving Dolezal the win.
In Top Dragster, it was the Colorado cars putting a big hurt on the visiting teams.
The ladies of Colorado dominated the category as local Bandimere racers Betsy Peek of Peek Fabrication, Kari Stark of On-Track Performance and Victoria Johnson of Fineline Signs and Graphics made it to the semi-finals along with Ross Gregory of Security and Safe of Colorado.
With nearly dead-on packages all eliminations long, Stark met Peek in the finals of Top Dragster and took home the Wally as Peek turned on the red-light by only -.003.
The Dodge // SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil finished as a huge success and Bandimere Speedway thanks all fans for spending the weekend at Thunder Mountain.
Be on the lookout for next year's date of the Mile High Nationals and ticket renewals have already begun by contacting the Bandimere Speedway ticketing office at 303-697-6001.