The longest-running active event or race sponsorship in all of motorsports is coming to an end, and Dodge — America’s performance brand — is planning to bring the thunder to the Rocky Mountains one last time at the final Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals, scheduled for July 14-16, 2023, at famed Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado.
A Stellantis brand has sponsored the Mile-High Nationals since 1989, with the 2023 edition marking 35 years of partnership with the NHRA and the Bandimere family, owners of Bandimere Speedway for 65 years. This year will mark the final NHRA national event at Bandimere Speedway, as the track will close at the conclusion of the 2023 racing season.
The Dodge and Mopar brands have created memories and milestones at the drag strip also known as “Thunder Mountain,” with passionate support from Denver-area racing fans who have turned out to fill the grandstands without fail each year. Dodge will help make the final event a memorable one by displaying the brand’s new 1,025-horsepower 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170, the quickest, most powerful muscle car in the world.
Defending Top Fuel Denver event champion and recent NHRA Norwalk winner, Leah Pruett will look to repeat in her Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Dodge Direct Connection dragster while TSR teammate and current Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan will search for his second win at Bandimere Speedway in his Dodge Direct Connection Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car.
“For decades the Dodge brand has made magic at Thunder Mountain, racking up race wins and revealing new Dodge muscle cars, and while it’s bittersweet to see it end, we’re going to send out the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals with as much horsepower as is humanly possible,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. “With the 1,025-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 on display, the seventh and final Dodge ‘Last Call’ special-edition model, and with Leah and Matt battling to bring home the final event trophies, we’re hoping to make a few more memories at Bandimere Speedway as we celebrate the end of an era.”
The Bandimere family, track innovators that have implemented new features such as an all-concrete track surface with a cooling system that lowers the surface temperature up to 20 degrees for improved racing action at Bandimere Speedway, will also help mark the end of an era.
“Bandimere and the Dodge and Mopar brands have become synonymous with each other over the past 35 years,” said John Bandimere Jr. “Logos have changed, but the partnership and relationship is as strong today as it was in 1989 when the relationship started. The commitment Dodge has made not only to us as a facility, but to the sport of drag racing is unparalleled and shows the deep-rooted commitment to performance that has spanned decades. Dodge and the people that work for the brand are more than sponsors, they are family. Family goes through the good times and tough times together and builds strength along the way. If there is one word that describes Dodge it’s loyalty and as a family, we have been blessed beyond measure.”
“We’re thankful for the Bandimere family for the longtime commitment they’ve shown to drag racing for 65 years,” said NHRA President Glen Cromwell. “There have been so many memorable moments at this event and to have Dodge as the race sponsor of the NHRA Mile-High Nationals for 35 years also shows their great dedication to NHRA drag racing. We’re looking forward to celebrating this historic facility and event together as we close out this chapter of racing at Bandimere Speedway, and we also remain optimistic about future opportunities to work with the Bandimere family and continue NHRA Drag Racing in the Denver area.”
Action for the 2023 Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway begins on Friday, July 14, with two nitro qualifying rounds set for 6:30 p.m. EDT and 10 p.m. EDT. Saturday’s nitro qualification rounds are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. EDT and 9 p.m. EDT. Final eliminations on Sunday, July 16, will get underway at 1 p.m. EDT, with FOX network coverage scheduled to air from 4:00-7:00 p.m. EDT.
Magic on Thunder Mountain: Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals Milestones
· 2022: Leah Pruett drives Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel dragster to victory for TSR team’s first Top Fuel NHRA national win
· 2021: After a quest of more than a decade, Matt Hagan finally hoists Wally trophy in Denver, steering his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Funny Car to victory
· 2021: Factory Stock Showdown class makes its first appearance at the Mile-High Nationals
· 2019: Tommy Johnson earns his first-ever Denver win in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
· 2018: Leah Pruett helps Dodge unveil new Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320, races Top Fuel dragster with “Angry Bee” 1320-themed livery to her first Top Fuel win at Denver
· 2018: Mile-High Nationals marks 30th year with a Stellantis brand as title race sponsor, Dodge brand assumes race title sponsorship
· 2016: Leah Pruett makes her debut as a Dodge/Mopar Top Fuel driver at Denver
· 2016: Allen Johnson wheels NHRA Pro Stock Dodge Dart to seventh career win at Bandimere Speedway in his 10th consecutive final round at “Thunder Mountain”
· 2016: Mopar Mile-High Nationals is first NHRA event telecast live to a national audience on FOX
· 2015: Dodge/Mopar driver Jack Beckman captures third career Funny Car win at Denver in Dodge Charger R/T
· 2015: Next Generation Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak makes first exhibition runs, with Bandimere Speedway General Manager/drag racer “Sporty” Bandimere piloting one of the Drag Pak race cars
· 2014: Dodge/Mopar Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson rules Thunder Mountain, seizes third-straight win and sixth in eight Years at Bandimere
· 2009: Ron Capps scores his first Mile-High Nationals win in Dodge Funny Car
· 2008: “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Judy “Miss Mighty Mopar” Lilly help reveal the new Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak with side-by-side runs down Bandimere Speedway
· 2007: Allen Johnson takes Dodge Stratus Pro Stock car to first victory at Bandimere Speedway, Jack Beckman scores Funny Car win in all-Dodge Charger final round
· 2006: Gary Scelzi drives his Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to his first Denver event win
· 1994: Darrell Alderman takes Mopar Dodge Daytona Pro Stock to win
· 1991: Mike Dunn drives Dodge Daytona Funny Car to Mile-High Nationals victory
· 1991: Lori Johns breaks five-second barrier with a 4.991 run at Bandimere
· 1989: Mopar and Dodge brands begin primary sponsorship of Mopar Mile-High Nationals
· 1983: Frank Hawley wins Mile-High Nationals in Dodge Charger
· 1979: Randy Humphrey wins Mile-High Nationals in Pro Stock with Plymouth Volare
· 1979: Bob Glidden drives his Plymouth Arrow at the Mile-High Nationals for the first time
· 1978: First Mile-High Nationals, then the Sportsnationals held at Bandimere Speedway
· 1958: Bandimere Speedway opens