Although the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has caused the NHRA to revise and adjust its 2020 Mello Yello Series schedule, Top Fuel driver Greg Carillo is still on target to make his season debut as planned at the Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colo.
In an unofficial revision of the NHRA Mello Yello Series national event schedule – the Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, are second in line after Seattle – with Aug. 8-9 dates.
“We are ready to go for Denver,” Carrillo said. “We got our combination ready and then I almost had a heart attack when I thought Denver wasn’t going to be on the schedule. Now, I know it’s on the schedule and we are ready to go there and put it (the dragster) on kill.”
Carrillo planned on his first race being at Bandimere Speedway and he doesn’t have a definite schedule after that event.
“We are just kind of basing it (the rest of the season) on what we are seeing happen with COVID and the work schedule,” Carrillo said. “We are looking and seeing what we see.”
At the Mile-High Nationals, Carrillo said his dragster once again will be sponsored by Santiago’s Mexican Restaurants, which has more than two dozen restaurants in the Denver Metro area.
Last year, Carrillo competed in one national event and it was the Mile-High Nationals, July 19-21.
Carrillo qualified No. 11 with a 4.125-second run and lost in round one to Antron Brown of Don Schumacher Racing. Brown clocked a 3.867-second time at 321.27 mph to edge Carrillo’s 3.920-second lap at 275.62 mph.
“Last year we were running good and we just had belt issues and a little bit of a tune-up issue,” Carrillo said. “We had a brand-new MLR car we introduced at Denver last year and this will be only its second race out. We are ready. We want to get after these guys a little bit.”
Glenn Mikres and Aaron Brooks will be heading up Carrillo’s crew.
“We are coming back with everybody in the same spot, everything is the same,” Carrillo said. “I grew up in Brighton, Colo., near Denver and we used to go to Bandimere Speedway as kids. Plus, the Bandimere family is such good people. It’s a challenge to run Denver, and it might even the field for us a little bit. Those guys don’t run every weekend in Denver. They run every weekend at low altitude. Look at last year, we outqualified Alan Johnson (who was tuning Mike Salinas’ dragster). Remember, we qualified No. 11, and we were just about to take Antron out. We were just driving away from him and the belt came off. We have all that fixed and that wasn’t a bad event for one race on a brand-new car.”
Carrillo lives in Phoenix and his race shop is based in Fort Morgan, Colo., which 90 minutes from Bandimere Speedway. Carrillo’s primary job is doing event marketing for ExxonMobil.
“We’re just hoping everything starts to open up so we can get after it,” he said. “We’re also excited to go racing.”