For the last time, Steve Torrence and his rivals for the Top Fuel World Championship will play “King of the Mountain” this week when the Camping World tour says goodbye to Bandimere Speedway with the 43rd running of the Dodge Power Brokers Mile-High Nationals.
The Bandimere family racetrack, cut into the side of a mountain more than a mile above sea level, is the latest victim of encroaching civilization.
While some may not mourn the passing of a track that, because of its rarefied air, has required major adjustments and specialized parts and pieces not applicable at any other venue, for Torrence and his CAPCO Contractors team, it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend.
“We’ve had a lot of success here,” acknowledged the four-time World Champion, “but even if we hadn’t, it’s just a neat track. There’s not any other place like it.” Not only has Torrence won two of the last three races on Mt. Bandimere, not only is he the only driver to have broken the 330-mile-per-hour barrier 5,800 feet above sea level, but the Mile-High Nationals is the only race on the circuit he has won with two different crew chiefs.
Before hoisting the trophy in 2019 and 2021 thanks to the tune-up decisions of Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana Jr., the talented Texan won the 2015 Mile-High Nationals with Lee Beard as his crew chief.
“It’d be pretty cool to be the last winner,” Torrence said, “but we’ll have our work cut out for us. We’re not the only ones who can run hard up there and you know everyone’s gonna have the same idea. Everyone wants to be able to tell their grandkids that they won the last race at Denver.”
Such a victory would be especially meaningful for Torrence considering the fact that he is winless this season, a drought that extends to October 2022, when he and his “CAPCO Boys” prevailed in the NHRA Midwest Nationals at St. Louis. He’ll begin
his latest quest in qualifying sessions at 5:30 and 9 p.m., Texas time, on Friday. Two Saturday sessions, one at 4:30 p.m., Texas time, and the other at 8, will set the field for Sunday eliminations beginning at 12 noon, Texas time.