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Denver Native Deric Kramer Hoping For First Pro Stock Win At Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals

Some of Deric Kramer’s first memories as a child are from Bandimere Speedway and the Pro Stock standout, and the Denver-area native has enjoyed countless enjoyable moments over the years at his home track.

He’ll get a chance to make one more on Thunder Mountain at this weekend’s 43rd annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals. With the Bandimere family celebrating its 65th anniversary at the facility in 2023 and the final race at Bandimere Speedway set to take place this weekend, Kramer gets his last opportunity to take his Get Biofuel Chevrolet Camaro to the winner’s circle.

He’s qualified No. 1 in Denver in Pro Stock, doing so in 2018, but a professional win at his home track is the one thing that has evaded him. Being able to do so at the final race at Bandimere Speedway would make for an incredible moment, but Kramer knows he must keep his emotions in check this weekend to have a chance to do so.

“It’s a lot of pressure, frankly,” said Kramer, who is currently third in Pro Stock points. “We’re going to try to go out on top. This is the track where I grew up. From playing in the dirt on the side of the hill to qualifying No. 1, some of my first memories are from Bandimere. I was in one of the first Jr. Dragster cars there at a national event, I got my Pro Stock license there (2012) and it’s where I learned how to drive a Pro Stock car. It’s just a special place.”

Leah Pruett (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won the 2022 event, and this year’s race be broadcast on both the FOX broadcast network and Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including eliminations coverage starting at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 16 on FOX.

If there’s one thing on Kramer’s side, it’s his stellar performance this year, giving him perhaps the best chance he’s ever had to win on Thunder Mountain. He won in Charlotte earlier this year in the middle of a stretch where Kramer advanced to four straight final rounds. That streak was snapped two weeks ago in Norwalk, but Kramer and his team have been impressive for the bulk of the season.

He also tested in Denver leading into this weekend’s event, adding to the confidence level for the team. But getting the last Wally at Bandimere Speedway won’t be easy, especially as Kramer goes against the likes of points leader Dallas Glenn, defending event winner Hartford, who won in Norwalk, reigning world champ Erica Enders and Aaron Stanfield.

Kramer, though, is pleased with how his team has progressed, dating all the way back to last year in Indy.

“The easiest way to describe it is we finally have all the pieces together,” said Kramer, who has five career Pro Stock wins. “Things started jiving last year around Indy and we were way more consistent in the Countdown (to the Championship) than we ever had been. We started taking advantage of that last year and it’s carried over. With our crew, our car and our equipment, we have the capability to win every weekend.”

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In Pro Stock Motorcycle, the weekend in Denver marks the start of the first time the category will compete in the entire Western Swing. It’s a huge new challenge for the standouts in the two-wheeled category, but the riders are eager to start on a strong note at Bandimere Speedway.

That includes Hector Arana Jr., who won the most recent race in Norwalk, and is heading to Thunder Mountain with plenty of confidence. But nothing about the Western Swing is easy, especially competing against the likes of defending winner Matt Smith, who has dominated on the mountain in recent years, points leader Gaige Herrera, Angie Smith, Steve Johnson and Eddie Krawiec.

“We’re looking forward to it because we love the Western Swing, but it’s going to be challenging,” Arana Jr. said. “It can be exhausting. I’m looking forward to racing all three races, but it’s going to be a marathon, that’s for sure. We definitely have momentum. We’ve got a fast bike and been qualifying well, and we’re working through all those little details. Our team does know how to win and it fuels us to keep pushing harder.”

In Top Fuel, Pruett will look for back-to-back Denver wins and her second straight win in 2023 against standouts like points leader Justin Ashley, defending world champ Brittany Force, Antron Brown and Austin Prock.

Funny Car’s Hight picked up his fifth career win in Denver a year ago and will look for another while going against points leader Matt Hagan, back-to-back world champ Ron Capps, John Force, Alexis DeJoria, Chad Green and Bob Tasca III.

The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as the Dodge Charger/Challenger Shootout, which features an eight-car field. The fan-favorite Mountain Motor Pro Stock category will also race in Denver. After nitro qualifying on Friday and Saturday, fans can enjoy a jet car racing exhibition featuring the Team “Muy Caliente” Jet Cars followed by a special fireworks display.

The race also features the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League Shootout, as well as autograph sessions at the Dodge and Mission Foods Midway Displays, along with performances from the Mountain Vista High School marching band and “The Skyline Drumline.”

Race fans at Bandimere Speedway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the final Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals event winners.

Fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into Nitro Alley. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. Fans can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food, and fun.

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NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 3:30 and 7:00 p.m. MT on Friday, July 14 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 15 at 2:30 and 6 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. MT on Sunday, July 16. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations on FOX at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

To purchase tickets to the 43rd and final Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals on July 14-16 at Bandimere Speedway, fans can visit For more information on the NHRA, please visit


This story was originally published on July 14, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.