2017 NHRDA Diesels on the Mountain
Racing at 5,800 feet can be challenging. The air is thinner, turbochargers don’t spool like they do at sea level, and many vehicles fail to live up to their full performance potential. But, if you can run fast up here, you can run fast anywhere in the country. Welcome to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado. Every summer, the NHRDA hosts a quarter-mile drag race here called Diesels on the Mountain — and each year a slew of oil burners make the call to compete. From elapsed time (E.T.) bracket racing to 7-second Pro Stocks, every level of diesel drag racing is on display.
New for 2017, the sled pull portion of the event was held onsite on a freshly-packed track that paralleled the drag strip. Pickup classes ranged from Work Stock to 2.5 and Limited Pro Stock to Pro Stock, with Super Farm and Hot Farm tractor categories also being run. Even semis were allowed in on the dirt slinging action this time around. Throw in a Show N’ Shine competition for both pickups and big-rigs, as well as a burnout contest, and you start to see why Diesels on the Mountain has become such a staple in diesel motorsports.
Nestled at the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains and in existence since 1958, Bandimere Speedway is one of the more unique quarter-mile drag strips in the nation. Its racing surface represents just one of three all-concrete NHRA national event tracks in the country. The track itself sits at just over 5,800 feet above sea level.
Pro Street King
Mike Skinner’s gorgeous ’06 Dodge graced the Diesels on the Mountain event with its presence. Despite spooling issues, Skinner would end up taking the win in Pro Street after a competitive Jon Jacobs suffered mechanical gremlins in his 9-second Dodge.
Hard Luck in Pro Street
Sporting a triple-turbo Cummins under the hood of his ’06 Dodge Ram, Jon Jacobs’ Ram was flying at Bandimere Speedway. A 9.84-second pass at 140 mph during qualifying earned him the No. 1 qualifier position in Pro Street. And while Jon made it to the final round, unfortunate mechanical issues forced him to settle for the Runner Up position.
The Batmobile Takes Pro Stock
Despite Richard Mead’s ’32 Bantam clicking off a 7.85 at 176 mph during qualifying, Jarid Vollmer would pilot the G&J Diesel/MBRP Batmobile (a ’41 Willys) into the winner’s circle in the Pro Stock category. With Mead’s car unable to make the call for the final round, Vollmer cruised to a 9.14 at 148 mph and took the victory.
Another Super Street Win
Current Super Street points leader, Phillip Franklin grabbed another win in Colorado behind the wheel of his trusty, 5.9L-powered ’06 Dodge. In the final round of the class, he beat out his boss Chris Buhidar, running a 9.34 at 144 mph to Buhidar’s 9.75 at 141 mph.
Still in the Hunt
If it seems like Chris Buhidar’s name is becoming a common sight in our NHRDA event coverages, it’s because it is. The veteran drag racer and part-owner of Truck Source Diesel is adamant about attending as many NHRDA events as possible in order to secure another Super Street championship — even if it means traveling all across the country. At Diesels on the Mountain, Buhidar and his triple-turbo’d, Cummins-powered ’00 F-350 would take Second Place, finishing on the heels of the aforementioned Phillip Franklin.
Dishin’ It Out
Jim Disher of Disher Trucking is a regular competitor in the NHRDA Big Rig bracket class, and Bandimere Speedway happens to be his home track. Suffice it to say, he had his chopped ’71 Kenworth dialed in for the hometown show. Disher’s KW would run consecutive mid-15’s in the 92 mph range throughout the day, handily taking the win in the big-rig class.
Cummins-Power in a ’79 Ford
Another local Coloradan winner would be crowned in the Limited Pro Stock pulling class on Saturday night. Rocky Horn’s ’79 Ford F-350 would yank the sled 334.36 feet, putting an incredible 30 feet on Second Place. The old-school Ford is powered by a 12-valve Cummins and wears the name “Southern Cumferdt.”
Utah-based Steve Durrant made the call with his second-gen Cummins, coined “Slightly Wild.” The Limited Pro Stock Dodge would end up pulling just over 300 feet, which was good enough for a Third Place finish.
2.5 Class Dominance
In the 2.5-inch turbo class, Eric Whitmarsh and his regular cab Dodge would walk away from the rest of the field. His 308-foot effort would place his “Strictly Business” Ram some 27 feet in front of Second Place.
It’s hard to put a value on the entertainment folks get watching someone obliterate a set of tires. As always, the NHRDA burnout contest didn’t disappoint, with a handful of trucks partaking in minute-long burners for a chance at winning some cold hard cash. Joseph Lopez would take the win this time, following a thorough shredding of the rear tread under his ’09 Ram 2500 Mega Cab.
People’s Choice Award
Fitted with 24x14 American Force Wheels, 375/40R24 Nitto Trail Grapplers and a 6-inch Fabtech lift, the stunning appearance of Luis Chavez’ ’16 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD earned him the Show N' Shine trophy. When a truck looks this good, it doesn’t matter that a stock LML Duramax resides under the hood.
For full results, visit NHRDA.com.
(Photos courtesy of the National Hot Rod Diesel Association)