One of NHRA’s most fabled and most successful events went down at fabulous Bandimere Speedway last weekend…..Robert Hight powered to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the 38th version Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway – near Denver, CO.  Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious in their respective categories at the 14th of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Driving his AAA Auto Club Camaro – Robert Hight broke through with his first win of the 2017 season in Funny Car

Hight earned the victory with a 3.995-second pass at 317.57 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro against Tommy Johnson Jr. who ran a 4.099 pass at 297.16 in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T during the final round. He earned his first victory of the season and the 38th of his career. Hight’s win also marked the 13th consecutive season in which he has earned at least one victory.

Matt Hagan raced this great looking Mopar 80th Anniversary Dodge Charger at the Denver race.

“We definitely struggled through the first few rounds and we were lucky to get those round wins, but I have a great team who figured things out and helped get me to the winner’s circle,” Hight said. “It’s definitely a long-time coming and we hadn’t had much luck, but today we had some luck and we hope this continues throughout the Western Swing.”
Hight qualified third and defeated Todd Simpson, Jack Beckman and Cruz Pedregon before reaching his third final round of 2017. Johnson Jr. qualified 12th and took down points leader Ron Capps, Jonnie Lindberg and Jim Campbell en route to his third final round of the year and second in a row.

Hight jumped up to third in the standings with the victory, while Ron Capps and Matt Hagan retain their position in the top two.

Courtney Force reset both ends of Bandimere’s track records during qualifying at 3.889 secs and 328.30 mph.

Brown knocked off teammate and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett in the final round with a pass of 3.792 at 319.82. After having lost his three previous final round appearances, Brown now has three victories on the season and 64 in his career.

Antron Brown (far lane) defeated his teammate Leah Pritchett in the TF final round.

“This race definitely put us through a marathon this weekend, but seeing those win lights makes it all worthwhile,” Brown said. “Next year when we come out we know the bar will be raised even more at this track with all of this information all of these drivers learned this weekend, but we feel like we have a good idea how to get things done here in Denver.”

Brown surpassed Leah Pritchett to take the second spot in the Top Fuel standings, while Steve Torrence remains in first after a quarterfinal appearance this weekend.

During qualifying Leah Pritchett set low ET of the event – at a track record 3.733 secs.

In Pro Stock, Skillman drove to victory with a 6.916 run at 198.15 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro to defeat points leader Bo Butner in the final. He has won back-to-back events and now has five career victories.

Skillman was the No. 1 qualifier and maintained that success with round wins over Richie Stevens and Jason Line on the way to his second consecutive victory this season. Butner qualified in the ninth spot and took down Allen Johnson, Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders before reaching his sixth final round of the season, tied for the most in the category.

Drew Skillman continued his hot hand in Pro Stock — winning again in his Chevy Camaro

“Our car kept running the same numbers, which is the sign of a good car and a great team,” Skillman said. “We have finally figured out a way to put it all together, and as long as we stay aggressive as a team we know we can win.”

Skillman sits in seventh in the standings as he became the first Pro Stock driver to win back-to-back races in 2017, while Bo Butner stays in first following his runner-up showing. Greg Anderson and Tanner Gray round out the top three in the points standings.

Krawiec finished atop the Pro Stock Motorcycle field with a 7.145 pass at 188.28 in his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to defeat Matt Smith in the final round. After notching his 35th career No. 1 qualifier on Saturday, he earned his second victory of the season and 38th of his career.

Eddie Krawiec won from the pole position in Pro Stock Motorcycle

After qualifying in the top spot, Krawiec defeated David Hope, Joey Gladstone and Scotty Pollacheck as he locked down his third final round appearance this season. Smith had qualified third and beat Angie Smith, Andrew Hines and Jerry Savoie as he secured his second final round appearance in 2017.

“We’ve gotten off to a slow start since we had to switch bikes, so we were behind in terms of figuring out the strengths of this new bike and how it works,” Krawiec said. “We really like where we are at currently, and we’re going to try and keep this momentum going on the West Coast.

Krawiec remains in second following his second victory in seven events, while LE Tonglet is still atop the standings despite a quarterfinal exit.

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway July 28-30.

Lucas Oil Lowdown 

David Rampy, Dan Fletcher and Kevin Helms all added to their win counts while Bradley Johnson, Brad Basgall and Randy Cruickshank each captured their first NHRA National event win at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

Rampy bagged his 96th national event win as he ran down Jessie Oman who got the jump in the Comp Eliminator final round. Oman took the early lead by .025 seconds but Rampy’s ‘32 roadster had the power at the top end to take the win in 7.720 seconds at 166.46 mph.

Fletcher, who hit the 100 wins milestone early this month, grabbed number 101 and his eighth at Bandimere Speedway as he knocked out Justin Jenkins in Super Stock. Fletcher pulled out a great .002 second reaction time then held on to win in 11.122 seconds as Jenkins ran too quick as he tried to chase down Fletcher.

In Stock it was Helms collecting his 26th national event win and 3rd up on the mountain. Helms went 11.296 in his Challenger to take out Scott Wells and his Camaro running 12.624. Helms doubled up at Bandimere back in 2005 when he won in both Stock and Super Stock.

Johnson used a nice .009 second reaction time to help secure his first win as Basgall and Cruickshank had similar reaction times (.010 Basgall, .011 Cruickshank) in their first national event victories. Johnson defeated Morgan Minor in a double breakout running 10.464 seconds at 152.18 to Minor’s 10.432, 145.97 for the Super Gas title. Basgall won easily over Jason Covington who had problems off the start in Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs and Cruickshank took the Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs when Bud Preuss left early with a red light foul start.

Kris Whitfield and Troy Grant rounded out the winner’s circle as Whitfield defended his Mile-High win from a year ago in beating Gary Wamboldt in Super Comp and Grant put John Bianco on the trailer in Super Street. Whitfield took the early lead and the win in 9.544 seconds and Grant was .005 on the tree in forcing Bianco to break out by just .001 second.

Kevin Helms (who won the 2015 NHRA World Championship) scored in Stock eliminator racing his Mopar.

The following are the final results from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway:

David Rampy, Roadster, 7.720, 166.46 def. Jessie Oman, Dragster, 7.328, 183.42.

Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 11.122, 116.46 def. Justin Jenkins, Chevy Cobalt, 10.298, 131.88.

Kevin Helms, Dodge Challenger, 11.296, 106.82 def. Scott Wells, Chevy Camaro, 12.624, 105.54.

Kris Whitfield, Roadster, 9.544, 149.70 def. Gary Wamboldt, Dragster, 9.515, 154.03.

Bradley Johnson, Chevy Camaro, 10.464, 152.18 def. Morgan Minor, Roadster, 10.432, 145.97.

Troy Grant, Chevy II, 11.553, 124.60 def. John Bianco, Chevy, 11.499, 140.07.

Brad Basgall, Dragster, 6.901, 191.08 def. Jason Covington, Dragster, 6.679, 206.13.

Randy Cruickshank, Chevy Corvette, 8.209, 134.63 def. Bud Preuss, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications, Eric Lotz & Bruce Biegler

Photos courtesy of NHRA, Auto Imagery and Gary Nastase