INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 11, 2006) -- 2003 NHRA World Champion Tony Pedregon and his Q Power Nitro Funny Car Team head to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. (near Denver) for the Mile-High NHRA Nationals for the 13th of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 11, 2006) -- 2003 NHRA World Champion Tony Pedregon and his Q Power Nitro Funny Car Team head to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. (near Denver) for the Mile-High NHRA Nationals for the 13th of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events in 2006. Pedregon moved into fourth place after winning the last NHRA round in St. Louis.
The second half of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season kicks off with the first of three consecutive weekends of racing and one of its greatest challenges. NHRA's POWERade Pros must travel high and deep into the Rocky Mountains, to more than 5,800 feet and picturesque Bandimere Speedway, where the mile-high altitude plays havoc with everything from engine tune-ups to aerodynamics. Teams must make wholesale changes to established power-making combinations and battle the lack of downforce in the thin air to tackle the unfamiliar environs. The event is testament to the skill and adaptability of the crew chiefs and teams.
"We're pretty fired up for these next few races, coming off of a race win in St. Louis, then having had two weekends off to prepare for our upcoming western swing," Pedregon explained. "We spent one weekend at Norwalk (OH) Raceway Park in a match race getting runs under our belt and trying to prepare for the next few races. It's important to us to start the second half of the season strong, as it kicks off with three races in a row. Denver is pretty challenging because of the altitude. Going into this race I think we're ready, and I know Dickie (Venables, crew chief) has worked on his high-altitude setup, so we are looking for good results in Denver."
The NHRA racers had a few weeks off before their western swing, but Pedregon and his Q Power Racing Team did not take a vacation during that time. They elected to participate in the world's largest single-day drag race, "Night Under Fire," held at Norwalk (OH) Raceway Park on July 1st. The event brought in eight of the top NHRA Funny Car drivers -- including Pedregon's brother and teammate Cruz - for a match race in front of a huge amount of fans, with the race being a prelude to a $100,000 fireworks spectacular. Other drivers who participated included John Force, Scott Kalitta, Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson, Eric Medlen and Gary Densham.
The weekend in Norwalk paid off big for Pedregon, as he took away the "win" in the match race along with a new track record (4.76): "It was a great event -- we set a new track record. We made two runs, and our Q Power team was the quickest of both sessions. We accomplished what we set out to do -- to entertain close to 40,000 people who saw that show. I think when you run that well, you can't help but to leave the fans with a good impression and a great experience."
How to Get to Bandimere Speedway: 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.
After conquering the quarter-mile Bandimere Speedway this weekend, the NHRA warriors head to Kent, Wash. (near Seattle), and the Pacific Raceways on July 21-23. Check your local ESPN2 listings for broadcast times and event coverage.