The powerful growl and pop-pop of the engines filled the air July 20 as Lakewood resident Shannon Nicoletti waited his turn at the starting line during time trials at the Mile High National Drag …
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The powerful growl and pop-pop of the engines filled the air July 20 as Lakewood resident Shannon Nicoletti waited his turn at the starting line during time trials at the Mile High National Drag Races at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison.
“Drag racing is a family tradition,” he said. “I grew up here at Bandimere as a crew member for dad. I have been driving since 2011. He is still running but isn’t out there this weekend but my sister Kami is here and we race in the same division.”
He said drag racing is a lot of fun. He said, of course, there is always fierce sibling rivalry between he and sister that goes back to when were younger and racing go-karts at the track near Bandimere Speedway.
“We compete hard and we both really enjoy drag racing,” the Lakewood High School graduate said. “Of course, we are very competitive. We bet on everything.
“There is money riding on which of us has the best reaction time, who has the best timing run, how close we get to the dial-in cap that is the quickest we can run a lap and just about everything else associated with drag racing.”
Race entries are divided into classifications and each classification has specific rules and requirements.
Both Shannon and Kami drive the low-slung, rear engine dragsters as they compete in the Super Comp classification.
Cars in the Super Comp classification are powered by engines that produce 600 to 800 horsepower. From a standing start the cars can reach speeds of 165 to 175 miles an hours at the end of the quarter-mile run. The rules also say a car in this classification can’t complete a run faster than 8.90 seconds.
Each car makes timing runs and the quickest time under the 8.90-second cap is called the dial-in. The dial-in is used to make competition as fair as possible as the car with the slowest dial-in gets to leave the starting line first.
However if a driver goes faster than the dial-in time it is called a break-out and the other driver wins.
“Like I said we grew up drag racing and it is a family tradition,” Shannon said. “It is not an inexpensive sport so we try to do most of the work on our cars ourselves. When we come to the races we each haul a trailer that contains the car, tools and parts. We set up in the pits, pull the cars out of the trailers and begin to get ready to go racing. At the races the pit area is filled with teams set up the same way.”
He added that, at the Mile High Nationals, there are a lot more entries and, of course, the professional drag racers have full teams and top of the line equipment.
At the Mile High Nationals the professional teams occupied the central area of the pits. A ticket gives fans access to the pit areas so they can visit the set-up of their favorite drivers and watch the teams work on the cars. One fan said it is like being able to visit the locker room of a professional sports team.
Shannon said the pit area is set up the same way during weekend races at Bandimere except there are a lot fewer entries in the races.
“When the day’s racing is over we spend time socializing with all the friends we have made in the sport. It is sort of like one big happy family. That is just another reason why I expect our family will continue competing and enjoying all that is the sport of drag racing.”
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