In an unofficial revision of the NHRA Mello Yello Series national event schedule – the Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., near Denver, are second in line after Seattle – with Aug. 8-9 dates.
The Bandimere family executive team, which runs the speedway, is ready to make the most of its event, which changed dates because NHRA races were put on hold or canceled due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“Here’s what happening because they are trying to cram a lot into a short period of time, NHRA is trying to make it as easy for teams as they possibly can,” said John “Sporty” Bandimere III. “They are trying to reduce their number of runs, trying to help them financially as well at that kind of stuff. Our event will still be a three-day event, we will still have racing going on Friday (Aug. 7), Saturday and Sunday. Your Saturday and Sunday are not going to look or feel any different than any national event you have attended here at (Bandimere). Qualifying, eliminations, those two days will look pretty normal.”
Sporty said Friday will be action-packed at Bandimere.
“Friday we will not have the nitro cars run, however, the cool part for us is this year we have Pro Mod and Mountain Motor Pro Stock (cars),” he said. “What that means is Pro Mod and Mountain Motor will have qualifying sessions Friday. On top of that, we will have some Jet (cars) here Friday and we are also putting together an 8-car no Prep Shootout and we are also looking at doing an 8-car XDR small tire Shootout.
“We will still have the NHRA classes, Top Dragster, Top Sportsman and all that kind of stuff, which is still cool, but we are trying to build another fun feature where the fans can come on Friday, see the Pro Mods, see Mountain Motor (cars), which have never happened at our national event. The Pro Mods and Mountain Motor cars will have one session on Friday evening and have two sessions on Saturday and race on Sunday. We want to put on a fun, unique show for Friday.”
Sporty said he’s optimistic fans will be able to attend the 2020 Mile-High Nationals.
“I’m praying like crazy and things are changing drastically across the country,” Sporty said. “What I mean by that is that is you have some racetracks that are packing in fans in the stands and rockin and rollin. Then you have the opposite where you have a governor in California who wants everybody to stay at home until the end of July. You have every scenario in between, and again we’re trying to be real responsible and trying to do things in a responsible manner and not get in trouble, but realizing we have to get going to be able to survive and support the industry.”
To try and field a race season, Sporty said Bandimere Speedway has adjusted its schedule.
“We have shifted all of our big major, specialty events that will have lots and lots of spectators that will pack the house, later in the schedule,” Sporty said. “It has changed things and obviously it is a work in process, day-to-day, week-to-week. Here’s the thing, you can choose to be optimistic or you can choose to be pessimistic and we choose to be optimistic as we possibly can. We hope and pray that things will work out.”
Sporty also likes his track’s place in the new NHRA Mello Yello Series schedule.
“I think this is a great spot for us,” he said. “I’m a Colorado native and fans in Colorado are phenomenal. Again, where we lack certain things in our industry, we make up for it in other things. The fans are phenomenal. They are supportive. They are resilient. There is a lot of pent up feeling from people that they want to go to an event and get out and be normal again. They love the sport and want to go to an event. I don’t look at this as being negative at all. I look at it that this a little bit different year and we have to adjust a little bit. Sometimes when you adjust you find out that there are better ways of doing things to.”