Monday, May 27, 2024

NHRA Mile High Nationals Sportsman Preview

Lucas Oil Sportsman preview for the Dodge Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

DENVER – The NHRA traveling road show rolls into Bandimere Speedway this week to kick off the famous Western Swing. Over the next few weeks the circuit will move west before gearing up for the Big Go on Labor Day at INDY.

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During the western swing, racers will visit some of the most picturesque racetracks on the NHRA tour. Denver, Sonoma, and Seattle are very different facilities that require significantly different tune ups.

The Dodge Mile High Nationals will showcase 180 Lucas Oil sportsman racers competing in six different classes. The schedule includes Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Sportsman, and Top Dragster.

nhra 2019 mile high nationals logo

Whitfield Racing Takes Over DragChamp Social Media

Local racer Kris Whitfield will be taking over the DragChamp social media pages this week to share a behind-the-scenes view for our fans. Follow us on Facebook to keep up with Kris throughout the event.

Kris Whitfield double up at Bandimere Lucas Oil series
Kris Whitfield

With Bandimere being a destination track, I’m surprised to see such low participation from the Lucas Oil competitors this week. While Super Stock traditionally has a low car count in Denver, Super Comp is the only class with a full field.

None of the other sportsman classes came close to meeting their pre-determined class quotas. The low car count is strange considering other races around the country, such as big money bracket races and the INDY divisional, have seen record car counts over the last month.

Before we move into our predictions, let’s recap last year’s winners.

2018 NHRA Mile High Nationals Champions

Competition Eliminator – Don Thomas

Super Stock – Chris Chaney

Stock Eliminator – Drew Skillman

Super Comp – David Hutchens

Super Gas – Michael Miller

Super Street – Brian Percival

Top Sportsman – Greg Lair

Top Dragster – Rick Milinazzo

2019 NHRA Mile High Nationals Predictions

With each NHRA national event DragChamp’s sportsman preview includes an overview of each class. In addition, we select the DragChamp Picks to win the race. Here are this week’s picks.

Super Stock – 19 Car Field

2018 Mile High Super Stock Final round
2018 Final Round

Chris Chaney is chasing his second win of the season along with trying to defend his 2018 title. Although he got a late start to the season, Chris has come out swinging.

Matt Dadas, who’s Ranger pickup recently won $525,000, will chase Super Stock glory on the mountain.

DragChamp pick to win:

Brenda Grubbs – Talented class racer that seems to do well on the mountain.

Stock Eliminator – 29 Car Field

While the field is a little light on entries this week, there’s plenty of talent on the grounds. Dan Fletcher, Randi Lyn Shipp, Austin Williams, and more are entered.

Last year’s runner up Lane Weber is back looking for redemption after just missing in 2018. By the way, Weber drives a 16-second ’78 Skyhawk.

DragChamp picks to win:

Dan Fletcher – He’s never won when I picked him but it’s like playing a slot machine, sooner or later it’s going to payoff….right?

Austin Williams – Multi-time world champ is a bad dude. He can flat out drive the wheels off of a racecar.

Super Comp – 55 Car Field

2018 Super Comp final
David Hutchens 2018 Champ

As usual, Super Comp is the largest and most talent-rich field at the event. Of the 55 cars on the grounds, I’m thinking 40+ are former world champions, former national event winners, or divisional winners. It’s a tough crowd.

Chase Huffman, part of the DragChamp Blog Team, is coming off a big win at Noble, OK last weekend. He’ll look to make it two in a round at Denver.

Chris Vang, runner up at the Spring Nationals earlier this year, will look to improve on that finish this week.

DragChamp picks to win:

Kris Whitfield – Kris has enjoyed an amazing season so far. A national win in front of the hometown crowd would be icing on the cake.

Gary Stinnett – Four-time world champ gets my vote.

Bradley Johnson – I’m sticking with another local racer to grab the Wally this week. Like Kris, Bradley is pretty good at Bandimere.

Super Gas – 35 Car Field

2018 Mile High super gas final
2018 Super Gas Final

A fairly light field greets the 9.90 racers but don’t let the small car count fool you, the field is super talented. It includes 2018 finalists Michael Miller and Kevin Moore, Whitfield, Tim Nicholson, Johnson, Butch Kleewein, and many more.

2018 Super Street winner Brian Percival and Route 66 Super Street champ Rodger Sauder are racing up a class this week.

DragChamp picks to win:

Kevin Moore – Although he doesn’t race a ton, when he shows up, he shows out.

Kevin Moore Super Gas runner up 2018 mile high

Craig Maddox – This guy makes final rounds like crazy. A great pick to be in the mix on Sunday.

Top Sportsman – 16 Car Field

Greg Lair 2018 Mile High Top Sportsman champ
Greg Lair 2018 Champ

With only 16 Top Sportsman cars on hand, the class will have a short four round race. For a class that seemed to be growing, the light car count could be a sign that the cost of competition may be driving some racers to other classes. Not sure but this is not the first small field for the class in 2019.

DragChamp pick to win:

Allen Firestone – Super tough Division 4 runner has great equipment and can get it done. Look for Allen to make some noise on the mountain.

Top Dragster – 26 Car Field

2018 Mile High top dragster final round
2018 Top Dragster Final

Dan Fletcher will try once again to get that elusive Top Dragster Wally. With a light field, he will not have to worry about qualifying. Dan is a win waiting to happen in the class.

In the few occasions he’s entered the class, he’s laid down great laps only to come up short by a few thousandths each time. That will change soon and he will run over the field.

DragChamp picks to win:

Steve Johnson – Like Super Comp, I’m sticking with a local. Johnson knows Bandimere and should be a tough out this weekend.

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

Follow DragChamp for daily updates from Denver

DragChamp is your source for NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman drag racing news and drag race results. Follow DragChamp for daily updates throughout the weekend.

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