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THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN - Bandimere Speedway - Morrison, CO - June 17 - 18, 2022

NOTE: Click on the thumbnails to display the full-size images


The annual trek up the mountain for Western Region Top Alcohol racers took place under very sunny and very warm conditions at Bandimere Speedway on the weekend of June 17 - 18. Besides being a regional event for Top Alcohol, it was also a Division Five Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series race for all the sportsman competitors. Thursday was a test day for everyone, follwed by qualifying on Friday, and eliminations on Saturday. Our Denver correspondent, Dale B. Fackler provided us with a batch of great photos from Thursday and Friday, but unfortunately, due to prior committments, was unable to attend Saturday's final eliminations. However, we have some very nice shots in our coverage.

Todd Patterson - FSS/D --- Dean Dubbin - T/AD

It was a mixed bag of cars checking out the track during the test session, with Todd Patterson (left) in his Factory Super Stock/D Camaro entry, while on the right it's Dean Dubbin trying to work out the bugs in his torque conveter equipped Top Alcohol Dragster.

James Stevens - T/AD --- James Stevens - T/AD

Driving one of the hardest running Top Alcohol cars in the country, Nebraska's James Stevens tested his high altitude tuneup before qualifying started.

Jennifer Wiens - TD --- Landon Kaiser - TD

Coming from a family that's been involved in the sport for decades, Jennifer Wiens (left) brought out her procharger boosted Top Dragster. On the right, it's Landon Kaiser driving his Top Dragster. Yes, he's from the Kaiser family that's been a mainstay of Colorado drag racing for nearly fifty years.

Doug Schneider TA/FC --- Kris Hool - TA/FC

Cranking up the volume were a pair of Top Alcohol Funny Cars, with Colorado's Doug Schneider on the left, and Wyoming's Kris Hool on the right.

Shane Westerfield - TA/FC --- Christine Foster - TA/FC

Another pair of floppers came out next, as the Rick Jackson Motorsports entry from the West Coast, with Shane Westerfield driving launched hard in the left photo. On the right it was ex-dragster pilot Christine (Chambless) Foster making her second appearance in a blown alcohol Funny Car. With husband, and fellow funny car driver Chris Foster tuning, the "Family Fued" name on the car seemed appropriate.

James Stevens - T/AD --- James Stevens - T/AD

Two more shots of James Stevens, burning out on the left and launching on the right. There are no reliable results posted from Thursday's testing so we can't report on times and speeds.

Shawn Cowie - T/AD --- Kyle Smith - TA/FC

(LEFT) After starting his season with the back-to-back national and regional events in Las Vegas in April, Canadian Shawn Cowie made the trek up the mountain to attempt to defend his 2021 victory at this race. (RIGHT) Starting to light up the tires on the launch, Chris Foster had just a little too much wheelspeed happening when he dropped the clutch.

Bill Bernard - TA/FC --- Bill Bernard - TA/FC

Local racer Bill Bernard laid down a hard burnout, then followed up with a hard launch. His first test run ended early with a 10-second timeslip, but a later pass clocked in at 5.957 - 243.94 to show some mile-high power.

Christine Foster - TA/FC --- Shane Westerfield - TA/FC

(LEFT) Coming out for her second attempt, Christine Foster didn't have much better luck, as she was off the throttle just past the 330' mark and coasted to a 7-second elapsed time. (RIGHT) Leaving a little early on his second shot at the clocks, Shane Westerfield didn't see any improvement in the results.

Suburbia encroaching on Thunder Mountain

We close our Thursday report with a view of encroaching suburbia, as a collection of homes under construction inched closer to the track. That type of development always spells trouble for a motorsport facility, even when the track was built many years before in a rural area. However, the Bandimere family has always shown that they don't back down from a difficult situation and this might be another of the challenges they've succesfully faced.


The action heated up with the first day of qualifying, starting with the sportsman ranks, then moving into the first two qualifying sessions for the Top Alcohol cars. With a dozen Comp Eliminator entries, six Top Alcohol dragsters and six Funny Cars, plus 39 Top Dragsters and 21 Top Sportsman cars on hand, it promised to be a great show for the spectators. Weather conditions were warm, but not too hot to hamper the traction or make the air too thin.

Lucky Snyder - '62 Alpine - E/A --- Tim Nicholson - '66 Chevy II - GT/M

(LEFT) Long-time competitor, Lucky Snyder, wheeling a unique '62 Sunbeam Alpine E/Altered entry laid down a slightly off-pace 8.70 (on an 8.87 index) pass to start his weekend. His second attempt saw him off the throttle earlier, stopping the clocks with a 9.26 e.t.

(RIGHT) The '66 Chevy II of Tim Nicholson, left the line hard, with the wheels up, but was off the gas early, shutting down to an 11-second pass. He came back later in the day to improve to a 10.857 - 121.07, well under the GT/M index of 11.64 seconds.

Timmy Seger - '48 Dorset -

A real old school '48 Austin Dorset competing in Super Gas, "Myth", was fielded by Timmy Seger, and he came very close to the 10.50 index, with a best of 10.512.

Don McIntosh - TD --- Wynette Hudgins - TD

Moving up the loud scale, the Top Dragsters were next out of the lanes. Leading off was Don McIntosh (left) with a solid 7.333 - 183.37 effort from his blown big-block Chevy-powered front-engine car. On the right, Wynette Hudgins in her ProCharger big-block entry, as she powered into the 6's with a solid 6.745 - 205.13 on her first pass. She bettered that in her second attempt with a 6.618 - 209.22 to qualify in the #11 spot.

Jamie Caudill - TD --- Jeff Koron - TD

Two more blown Top Dragsters here, with Jamie Caudill (left) laying down a very strong 6.202 - 215.86 pass, while Jeff Koron (right) was a few hundredths behind her with a 6.241 - 223.91 pass.

Steve Schneider - TD --- Emilie Novak - TD

Coming all the way from San Diego, Steve Schneider (left) put down a strong 6.358 - 216.45 to move into the top quarter of the 32-car Top Dragster field. On the right, Emilie Novak outdid him with a slightly better 6.328 - 215.86 timeslip to sit in the #5 spot at the end of the day.

Betsy Peek - TD --- Betsy Peek - TD

Carrying on the fine tradition of the Peek family name in Colorado drag racing, Betsy Peek got up on the tires early and pounded out a low qualifying 6.132 - 231.56 in her blown Chrysler Hemi Peek Brothers Racing entry.

Brett Schneider - TD

Finishing off the Top Dragster qualifying, Brett Schneider managed to squeeze into the field with a #32 qualifying pass of 7.581 - 177.32 on his second attempt, following a slightly slower 7.628 - 175.59 on his first try.

Tom Snyder - '23 T - A/A --- Scott Linder - '04 Grand-Am - A/A

Moving back to Comp Eliminator, it's the hard running A/A of Colorado's Tom Snyder, (left) cranking out a 7.131 - 179.52, to take the provisional #7 spot in the field, nearly more than four tenths under his 7.57 index. Another A/A is on the right, as Scott Linder, in his '04 Grand-AM ran more than six tenths of a second under the index, clocking a 6.937 - 198.99 to take the #3 spot on the ladder.

Joe Mozeris - B/ED --- Wade Kiefer - '63 Corvette - T/S

Our last Comp competitor is Joe Mozeris (left) in his B/Econo Dragster. His first pass of 7.359 - 181.08 placed him third in the field, and he backed it up with an almost as good 7.365 on this run. Finishing our sportsman coverage is the blown Top Sportsman entry of Wade Kiefer (right), as his bright yellow blown '63 Corvette slotted into the middle of the pack, qualifying #9 in the 21-car field with a decent 7.319 - 190.65 effort.

After some more track prep, the Top Alcohol cars took center stage, with the Dragsters leading off. Despite small - six cars each - fields, the quality was top notch with mult-time national champion Joey Severance and arch-rival Shawn Cowie leading the long skinny car contingent. Nipping at their heels was the hard-running midwest car of James Stevens, AND a second car in his stable, driven this weekend by Coloradan Steve Griboski. Rounding out the field were the Wyoming car of Greg Hunter and veteran Minnesotia racer Dean Dubbin with his torque converter equipped entry. Interestingly, all six cars were using blown alcohol combinations.

Greg Hunter - T/AD --- Greg Hunter - T/AD

Leading off the session was Greg Hunter in his sharp looking blown alcohol dragster. After laying down a hard burnout, he moved into the stage beams with the assistance of his wife, Staci Ann Guckert-Hunter. After a conserative launch, the car got up on the tires and rang up a solid 5.670 - 253.75 to set the bar for the rest of the cars to aim for.

Steve Griboski - T/AD --- Shawn Cowie - T/AD

(LEFT) Running in the lane opposite Hunter was Steve Griboski in the new, unpainted, second car of James Stevens. The car left solidly, and ran with Hunter almost all the way to the finish line before falling back slightly with a good 5.710 - 250.00 effort.

(RIGHT) The second pair out of the lanes featured Canada's Shawn Cowie, shown here executing his usual massive burnout. He didn't leave anything on the table with an excellent 5.399 e.t., and a massive speed of 268.38 mph. Both numbers were near track record territory.

Joey Severance - T/AD --- James Stevens (left) vs Joey Severance (right) - T/AD

(LEFT) The final pair of the first session saw national points leader (and four-time national champion) Joey Severance dropping the clutch as he left with another very hard launch, recording a .921 60' ft. time.

(RIGHT As the cars neared the finish line, with James Stevens in the left lane, and Severanace in the right, they were nearly side-by-side. Stevens left first, by a margin of nearly four hundredths, but crossed the stripe second, with a very good 5.526 - 260.05 versus Severance's slightly quicker 5.471 - 258.02 effort. They slotted into the #2 and #3 spots after the first of three qualifying sessions.

Next up were the Funny Cars, with Top Ten runners Shane Westerfield, Kris Hool, and Kyle Smith. Two local racers, Bill Bernard and Doug Schneider were joined with Funny Car newcomer (after a long stint in the dragster class), Christine Chambless Foster, with husband Chris Foster tuning the new car.

Bill Bernard - TA/FC --- Doug Schneider (left) vs Bill Bernard (right) - TA/FC

(LEFT) The first car off the line was local racer Bill Bernard in his good looking Mile High Crankshafts Mustang-bodied entry. (RIGHT) In the other lane was Doug Schneider in his unlettered "Milliken Monster", and they ran together all the way to the finish line. Bernard's run netted a 5.942 - 244.07 timeslip, while Schneider was slower with a 6.076 - 238.47, but was only a car length or so back at the 1320' mark.

Shane Westerfield - TA/FC --- Kris Hool - TA/FC

(LEFT) Next up was national points leader Shane Westerfield in the Rick Jackson Motorsports Camaro. In four races to this point, the team notched two wins (one national, one regional) and two runnersup (again, a national and a regional), and were looking for another final round berth at Bandimere. On his first pass, Westerfield cranked out an excellent 5.834 - 251.30 to show everyone that they had a serious high altitude tuneup.

(RIGHT) Running in the next pairing was Kris Hool in the C-TECH Camaro, and he wasn't much slower than Westerfield's effort, clocking 5.872 - 245.45 times. In the other lane, Kyle Smith (not shown) was on a scorching run - nearly a tenth quicker than Westerfield to half track - before clicking it early to a 5.835 at only 218.79 mph, for the #2 spot after the first session.

After a fairly quick turnaround, the alky cars came out for their second session, with the dragsters leading the way once more.

Staci Guckert Hunter - BUG --- Staci Guckert Hunter - BUG

Easily winning the best appearing "BUG" award was Greg Hunter's wife Staci Ann.

Greg Hunter - T/AD --- Greg Hunter - T/AD

After another hard burnout (left), Hunter launched hard and improved on his first session 5.670 with a 5.620 - 254.76 that left him in the #4 spot on the ladder going into Saturday's final qualifier. Not running alongside him was Joey Severance, who stayed in the pits working on his car.

James Stevens - T/AD --- Bill Bernard - TA/FC

(b>LEFT) The session closed with James Stevens running into trouble almost immediately (1.088 sixty ft. time) and shutting off early to a 8.243 - 126.09 time. Not shown was his opponent, Shawn Cowie, who pounded out another excellent, and slightly better 5.378 - 268.81 to put a tight grip on the top qualifying spot. Again, both numbers were very near track record numbers.

(RIGHT Making a solid improvement over his first session 5.942, Bill Bernard nearly dropped into the 5.70's with a great 5.810 - 247.20 to take - at least temporarily - the top rung on the qualifying ladder.

Kyle Smith - TA/FC --- Shane Westerfield - TA/FC

(LEFT) Looking to take the top spot, Kyle Smith left hard, but fell off the pace by the 330' mark, eventually clicking it off before the 1000' mark to a slowing 6.162 - 182.70 pass on his bye run. Not appearing for this session were Kris Hool and Doug Schneider.

(RIGHT) Closing out Friday's qualifying was Shane Westerfield, and he didn't disappoint anyone (other than his competitors) with a 5.798 - 252.33 to re-take the #1 qualifying position.


Unfortunately, our photographer, Dale Fackler was unable to attend the race and bring us more of his great photographs. However, we can fill in the details for the Top Alcohol racers to round out our story.


All six cars showed for the final qualifier, but Joey Severance had more problems and was unable to make it to the starting line for his pass. Low qualifier, Shawn Cowie, held on to the #1 spot despite running into trouble early in his run and shutting off to an 11-second clocking. Also having trouble, even before the 60' clocks was Steve Griboski. On the brighter side, Greg Hunter picked up a little more to a 5.593 - 255.77, that still left him in the #4 spot. That paired him with James Stevens in the first round of eliminations, while Cowie was matched up against Dean Dubbin, and Joey Severance was lined up against Steve Griboski.

ROUND ONE The first pair saw a very, very close race between Severance and Griboski. Leaving second, surprisingly, was Severance and it took all of his 5.664 - 261.88 to overcome Griboski's slight (.050 to .072) holeshot, coupled with a solid 5.693 - 251.06 effort. The margin at the stripe was just .0074. Next out were Stevens and Hunter, and in an upset, Greg Hunter took the winlight easily after Stevens shook the tires hard right off the starting line, and pedalled to a losing 5.970 - 256.65 time. Hunter slowed a little from his 5.593 qualifier, but still stopped the clocks at 5.647 - 253.14 for the win. Closing out the round was a relatively close race between Shawn Cowie and Dean Dubbin. They left almost together, but Cowie fell behind in the first few hundred feet with tire shake, then successfully pedalled to a winning 5.634 - 264.86 to take the victory over Dubbin's best of the weekend 5.710 - 249.58 pass.

ROUND TWO The only pairing of the round saw Greg Hunter put up a strong fight against Joey Severance, but Hunter's consistent 5.658 - 251.77 fell quite a bit short of Severance's much better 5.478 - 267.59 pass. The speed indicated that the Severance car was able to run strong all the way to the finish line for the first time all weekend. Being the low qualifier in the six car field, Shawn Cowie took the semi-final bye run and made another awesome pass, a 5.386 - 267.69 to hold lane choice for the final round.

FINAL With all the performance indicators running in Cowie's favour, it was expected that he would win. What wasn't expected was Severance shutting off after the burnout. His crew spotted something wrong and gave him the kill sign before staging. With no opponent to worry about, Shawn Cowie let it all hang out to the tune of both ends of the track record for T/AD, with a fantastic 5.366 - 269.08 time ringing up on the scoreboards.


In the final qualifying session, which saw all six cars run, the results ranged from decent to dreadful. The first pair saw both racers, Foster and Smith lose traction right off the line and coast to 11-second (Smith) and 13-second (Foster) clockings. Bill Bernard struggled down the track in the next match, eventually stopping the clocks at 18-seconds, while Doug Schneider made a slight improvement on his first session 5.942, with a 5.934 to remain in the #5 spot. The last pair down, Westerfield and Hool ran side-by-side with Westerfield's 5.816 - 251.25, and an .019 reaction time keeping him well in front of Hool's best run so far, a 5.865 - 230.10, that left him in the #4 spot.

The pairings for the first round pitted Shane Westerfield against Christine Chambless-Foster in what almost looked to be a walkover for the Rick Jackson team. From there on, the matches were shaping up to be much closer, with locals Bill Bernard facing Doug Schneider, and the closest pair, separated by just three hundredths in qualifying, Kyle Smith and Kris Hool. If all went to plan, Westerfield would benefit with a bye in the semi-final and an (almost) free pass to the final round against the survivor of the first two rounds of eliminations.

ROUND ONE The opening race of the round turned out much closer than anyone expected, with Chambless-Foster making a vast improvement over her 8.34 best in qualifying. She knocked over two seconds off that previous best, clocking a 6.215 - 200.17, but it wasn't nearly enough to hold off Westerfield's much better 5.808 - 252.85 clocking. The next race produced a rather shocking result, as Kyle Smith redlighted away a sure win, running low e.t. of the meet at 5.738, despite shutting off a little early to a 239.95 mph speed. However, opponent Kris Hool got out of shape and crossed the centerline at half track to give the gift win back to Smith. Hool clicked it off to a 6.281 - 171.75. The round concluded with the two Colorado racers facing off. Taking the win with a consistent 5.840 - 241.63 was Bill Bernard, but keeping him honest was Doug Schneider who put up a fight with a decent 5.981 - 240.51, and a quicker reaction time (.044 to .077), but still trailing by two car lengths at the finish line.

ROUND TWO Needing only to fire and stage the car for the win, Shane Westerfield didn't take the easy route and pounded out his best run of the weekend at 5.748 - 253.75 (top speed of the meet) to advance to the final. Joining him in that round was second chance winner Kyle Smith with an identical e.t. at 5.748, but a slower speed at 244.07 to give lane choice to Westerfield. Falling to Smith's onslaught was Bill Bernard who trailed Smith despite a good, but not good enough, 5.833 - 248.16. Bernard ran consistently well all weekend but just wasn't up to the pace of the national contenders.

FINAL The two quickest, and fastest cars met in what promised to be a great final round. Westerfield got away first with an .032 reaction, against Smith's five hundredths slower .082 reaction. But Smith slowly closed the gap until the 660' mark, being only a quarter car length behind at that point. From there to the finish, Westerfield had the better incrementals and when the winlight came on in Shane's lane, the scoreboards read 5.765 - 253.66 for Westerfield, and 5.770 - 247.07 for Smith. The margin at the finish was barely a car length in a great finish to the event.