The familiar rumble of HEMI® power will once again reverberate through the Rocky Mountains July 16th (today) to the 18th as Dodge//SRT and Mopar brands return for a 32nd season as title sponsors of the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series event held at Thunder Mountain, otherwise known as Bandimere Speedway, near Denver, Colorado.
“Dodge//SRT is ready to get back to racing,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge CEO. “Bandimere Speedway has been a part of our Brotherhood of Muscle for more than 32 years. In fact, it’s the longest-standing event sponsorship in motorsports history. Our Rocky Mountain racing fans are going to get a great show. The Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil is always one of the premier racing events in the West.”
While this will be the 41st edition of the NHRA event at the picturesque drag strip set 5,800 feet above sea level, the brands’ partnership with Bandimere Speedway began in 1989 after a major track renovation and, following an extension announcement earlier this year, continues to be the longest active event title sponsorship in all of motorsports. This 2021 installment is the second of five national events with Mopar and Dodge//SRT headline support for the NHRA’s 70th anniversary season.
A 4,800-square-foot exhibit at Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals in the NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway will be open to NHRA fans with a number of interactive displays, including a pair of Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators for those with a competitive spirit wanting to test their skills in a virtual race. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see and feel the experience of drag racing from the driver’s seat aboard an actual Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Funny Car simulator. The display will also feature a number of Dodge//SRT high-performance vehicles and an instructor from the Radford Racing School (formerly The Bondurant School) on-site to provide driving tips and information about the SRT experience. Customers who buy a new SRT model receive one full-day session at Radford Racing School as part of the Dodge//SRT Package and have the opportunity to learn how to get the optimum performance from their new vehicles in a controlled environment.
On-track action begins Friday at Bandimere Speedway with Dodge//SRT and Mopar backed entries working to take home Wally trophies and “home-event” bragging rights in Funny Car and Top Fuel categories, as well as Sportsman class Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS).
Reigning Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan will be working to secure not only his first victory of the 2021 season aboard the signature red, silver, and black DSR Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye but also an elusive first win at the long-time Denver event.
“Some of my best memories of coming to Denver for the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals always involve the amazing crowd of people that are really passionate about the Dodge and Mopar brands coming together to celebrate pure muscle and horsepower,” said Hagan. It’s been a Dodge- and Mopar-sponsored race for a really long time and it’s always great to see fans coming out and support it and us.
“I’ve obviously raced here a lot and haven’t won one yet, but I feel like I’ve been chasing down that win,” added the three-time Funny Car World Champion. “Bandimere Speedway is always tricky, but it’s time to win one for our sponsor and celebrate big. I think that we got a pretty good handle on the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat right now. I’m excited about getting there, getting qualified well, going rounds and running like a Hellcat, and turning the win lights on in Denver.”
DSR teammate Ron Capps has qualified in the top-five at every event so far this year but is looking to string together four solid elimination round runs aboard his HEMI-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat on the all-concrete Bandimere dragstrip in order to take home another Wally to go with the one earned there in 2009.
Fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon has two trips to the winner’s circle at Denver (1993 and 2013) and is coming off the high of a win at the previous NHRA event in Norwalk, Ohio, and looking to repeat quickly after seeing his Snap-on Tools Pedregon Racing team make consistent gains through the first seven national events of the season.
DSR Top Fuel pilot Leah Pruett seeks to power her sleek red, silver, and black DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT Redeye Top Fuel dragster to a repeat performance of her 2018 successful run from No. 1 qualifier to winner, or perhaps even improve on her 2017 track-record elapsed time pass of 3.733 seconds.
“Hollywood is known for making movie magic, and this team has been known for making some of the greatest horsepower out of the thinnest Bandimere air, aka magic,” said Pruett. “We’ve had a challenging start to the season gaining the proper momentum but believe our undeniable capabilities paired with our nose to the grindstone in the shop and training work ethic will produce not only the results we expect but our Mopar fans do as well.
“The Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals has always been my most enjoyable event to compete at for a variety of reasons,” added Pruett. “Starting with being surrounded by dedicated like-minded Dodge//SRT and Mopar enthusiasts really brings the ultimate vibe. I am personally looking forward to our season taking a major turn for the competitive best, and believe the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals is the perfect place to do it.”
Pruett will also take the wheel of her 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak in FSS this weekend along with DSR teammate Mark Pawuk aboard the Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger for the fourth contest of the eight-race Sportsman class specialty series. After setting the quickest and fastest speed record (7.806-second pass at 177.44 mph) aboard the most powerful Drag Pak ever built in the FSS season opener at the Gatornationals, the duo’s goal at this event and through the remainder of the season is to get the most out of each run and battle in the top 10 against a large competitive field.
While on-track action at Bandimere Speedway will be Livestreamed via NHRA.TV throughout the weekend, FS1 will provide television highlights of qualifying on Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET and Sunday, July 18th from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET. Coverage of Sunday’s Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil elimination rounds will air on FS1 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. The Denver-area stop kicks off the NHRA’s three-race western swing, which includes Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California, and Pacific Raceways in Seattle, Washington, over consecutive weeks.