YPSILANTI, Mich. (July 11, 2023) – Past NHRA Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon knows a thing or two about running well at Bandimere Speedway near Denver where the elevation is 5,800 feet above sea level. One year ago, he went to the final round, but this race track holds a more significant part of the California native’s history, too. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series resumes this weekend with the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colo., July 14-16, 2023.
Way back in 1997, Langdon won the 1997 NHRA Junior Dragster championship at Bandimere Speedway where he first met J.R. Todd who was competing in the same event. It was his first NHRA national championship, and he would go on to add national titles in Super Comp in 2007 and ‘08 and Top Fuel in 2013. Last year, the team reached the Denver final round, and this year, with SealMaster on the side of the Team Kalitta Toyota entry, Langdon hopes the team can break out of its slump and turn on Bandimere’s final Top Fuel win light.
“You always hate to lose a race track, and Bandimere Speedway is one of my favorite tracks on tour,” Langdon said. “I really enjoy going there. It’s just a really cool atmosphere, and the Bandimere family does a great job promoting our races. More than losing a track, we’re losing a family atmosphere at the race track and great promotors. I think the Bandimere and Bader families probably do a better job promoting the teams and the drivers than anyone else. Losing them is unfortunate, but hopefully it’s only temporary, and they start a new race track in the future.
“Kalitta Motorsports and SealMaster have had a great relationship through the years,” Langdon added. “We’re very happy to have them on the car as a full-season associate, but it’s nice for them to have top billing this week. Duke and Rhonda (SealMaster president Duke Thorson and his wife Rhonda) have been big supporters of Team Kalitta for a long time. We have a great relationship with them and everyone else at SealMaster. It’s nice when a team partner is so enthusiastic about NHRA Drag Racing. We’d definitely love to put them in the winner’s circle this weekend.
“We had a great race in Denver last year and made it to the final round, but we had an oil leak so we’d like to turn on one more win light this year. We’re definitely in a rut we’d like to get out of, and we know something has to click at some point. Our team shows flashes of its potential, but we just haven’t been able to put it all together. Our time will come.”
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2022 NHRA Mile-High Nationals Recap: Qualified 12th; defeated Greg Carillo, Mike Salinas and Josh Hart before losing to Leah Pruett in the final round.
Shawn Langdon Career Stats: 318 events, 337 round wins, 17 wins, 38 final rounds, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Results To Date:
Gainesville: Qualified 11th and lost to Antron Brown by two 10 thousandths of a second.
Phoenix: Qualified No. 8; defeated Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta and Leah Pruett; lost to Justin Ashley
Pomona: Qualified No. 7; defeated Tony Schumacher, lost to Brittany Force.
Las Vegas: Qualified No. 6; defeated Krista Baldwin and Clay Millican before losing to Steve Torrence and
Josh Hart in the semifinals.
Charlotte: Qualified 11th, lost to Leah Pritchett and Pat Dakin in the first round.
Chicago: Qualified No. 6; lost to Clay Millican in the first round.
Epping: Qualified No. 2; lost to Tony Schumacher in the first round.
Bristol: Qualified 14th; lost to Steve Torrence.
Norwalk: Qualified 14th; Lost to Brittany Force.
Point Standings: Langdon enters Denver in 10th place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails his teammate, ninth-place Doug Kalitta, by 44 points and leads 11th-place Tony Schumacher by nine points.
J.R. TODD ENTERS FINAL DENVER RACE FOLLOWING TWO SEMIFINALS IN LAST THREE RACES
YPSILANTI, Mich. (July 11, 2023) – It has been an “interesting” season for DHL Toyota Funny Car driver J.R. Todd. Plenty of highs and lows, but with semifinal appearances in two of the last three races, it appears Todd and team are moving in the right direction and perhaps headed to a winner’s circle in the near future. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series resumes this weekend with the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colo., July 14-16, 2023.
Why not Denver? It’s where Todd earned his first professional win in 2006, and he won again there in 2014 although both in Top Fuel. Todd reached the semifinals at the delayed New Hampshire eliminations and then again at the last race in Norwalk, Ohio where the Indiana native knocked off John Force and Ron Capps before losing a tight race to Matt Hagan in the semifinals.
“I’m hoping we can carry that momentum from the semifinals at New Hampshire and Norwalk to a win soon, and it would be nice to get one on the Western Swing at Bandimere Speedway since it’s the last race there,” Todd said. “It’s definitely a track where I’ve always enjoyed going – it’s the most scenic place we race on the tour, and the Bandimere family does such a great job with our races. I really hate to see it go, but with it being the last time there, it would be a really good one to win especially since it’s also the site of my first professional win.”
But momentum can be fickle, and racing at 5,800 feet above sea level is not only tricky but also difficult to understand unless you’ve walked the hill up the staging lanes or climbed the steps up to the pit area.
“To put it in perspective for someone who’s never been there, when you’re there at the track walking around, you can very easily get out of breath so that gives you an idea how hard it is to run one of these race cars up there,” Todd added. “Typically, we race close to sea level or somewhere where there’s a lot of oxygen. Up there, you’re robbed of that free horse power so you have to stand all over the tune-up to make it go down the track. It seems like it’s more like surviving the weekend, getting out of there without any damage and hopefully some round wins.
“I’m sure there will be some emotions there this weekend with the last race. It’s a special place to me because I got my first professional win there. I raced Junior Dragsters there; Shawn (Langdon) and I competed in the same race there in 1996 so I’ve been going to that race track for a long time. That’s one of the tracks that kind of has the ‘family feel’ like Norwalk. You always hate to see race tracks go, but hopefully, the Bandimere family will come back with a new race track in the future that’s bigger and better than what they have now.”
2022 NHRA Mile-High Nationals Recap: Qualified 10th; defeated Tim Wilkerson before losing to John Force in the second round.
J.R. Todd Career Stats: 286 events, 308 round wins, 19 wins, 42 final rounds, 14 No. 1 qualifiers
2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Results To Date:
Gainesville: Qualified sixth; defeated Blake Alexander, Robert Hight, Chad Green; lost to Matt Hagan in final.
Phoenix: Qualified 15th and lost to Alexis DeJoria in the first round.
Pomona: Qualified fifth and lost to Alex Laughlin in the first round.
Las Vegas: Did not qualify.
Charlotte: Qualified No. 6 but lost to Robert Hight and Mike McIntire in the first round.
Chicago: Qualified No. 3; lost to Bob Tasca in the first round.
Epping: Qualified No. 8; defeated Cruz Pedregon and Matt Hagan before losing to John Force in the semifinals.
Bristol: Qualified No. 7; lost to John Force.
Norwalk: Qualified No. 7; defeated John Force and Ron Capps before losing to Matt Hagan in the semifinals.
Current Point Standings: Todd enters Denver ninth place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. He trails eighth-place John Force by 75 points and leads 10th-place Cruz Pedregon by four points.
DOUG KALITTA SET FOR FINAL RACE AT “KALITTA-FRIENDLY” BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY
YPSILANTI, Mich. (July 11, 2023) – Bandimere Speedway has been good to the Kalitta family over the years, and while he joins most in being sad about this weekend’s race being its last, Doug Kalitta would love nothing more than to take the last Top Fuel win light and get that elusive 50th race win this weekend. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series resumes this weekend with the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colo., July 14-16, 2023.
Kalitta has one win in six final rounds at Bandimere Speedway, but that’s only part of Team Kalitta’s rich history at the suburban Denver race track perched some 5,800 feet above sea level. Team owner Connie Kalitta won there, and the late Scott Kalitta won three times. Throw in countless additional runner-up finishes, and the picture of decades-long Kalitta success at Bandimere comes into focus.
“We’ve had incredible luck there over the years,” Kalitta said. “Connie and Scott both won there multiple times. It was always a place that felt like Topeka where my cousin (Scott) always ran so well so we’ve always looked forward to racing at Bandimere Speedway. Obviously, it’s a beautiful area. It’s shame to see it get shut down. They must have gotten an offer that was too good to refuse, and I can appreciate that in business when opportunities present themselves. I imagine they want to keep the family operation going so maybe they’ll be able to find a new location for the next generation to take over.
“Whatever the deal was, I’m sure we’ll all miss going there. It’s such a key part of the western swing we do each summer so we’ll see what happens with replacing it. The Bandimeres are a great family obviously, and we appreciate all they’ve done for this sport over the years. We’re definitely hoping to go there and win the last one.”
As the first of NHRA’s three-race Western swing, the race at Bandimere Speedway can prove pivotal as is the entire three-race jaunt given its proximity to the end of the regular season. After the swing is swung, just two races remain before the U.S. Nationals, the final race of the regular season.
“Depending on where you are with the points, it’s a time when it’s real important to go rounds. It’s a time get yourself in a position so you aren’t sweating going into Indy. That’s the thing about being successful out here. You just have to go rounds and keep putting yourself in a position to win these things. We have the best group of guys tuning my Mac Tools car, and we’re real fortunate to be heading into the western swing with what we have going on. We have a lot of momentum with the way this Mac Tools Toyota team is running right now.”
2022 NHRA Mile-High Nationals Recap: Qualified No. 8 and lost to Josh Hart in the first round.
Career Stats: 575 events, 744 round wins, 49 wins, 107 final rounds, 52 No. 1 qualifiers
2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Results To Date:
Gatornationals: Qualified third; defeated Spencer Massey, Antron Brown; lost to Steve Torrence
Phoenix: Qualified No. 1; defeated Rob Passey, lost to Shawn Langdon.
Pomona: Qualified 11th and lost to Antron Brown in the first round.
Las Vegas: Qualified 10th; lost to Steve Torrence and Josh Hart in the first round.
Charlotte: Qualified sixth, lost to Leah Pritchett and Pat Dakin in the first round.
Chicago: Qualified No. 3; defeated Kyle Wurtzel, lost to Clay Millican.
Epping: Qualified 12th; lost to Leah Pruett.
Bristol: Qualified No. 6; defeated Clay Millican and Steve Torrence before losing to Antron Brown.
Norwalk: Qualified No. 4; lost to Dan Mercier in the first round.
Current Point Standings: Kalitta enters Denver in ninth place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails 8th-place Josh Hart by 45 points and leads his teammate, Shawn Langdon, by nine points.