GREG CARRILLO TO MAKE TOP FUEL SEASON DEBUT AT MILE-HIGH NATIONALS
Greg Carrillo, who has raced part-time in the Top Fuel ranks in NHRA’s Mello Yello Series the last couple of years, is making his 2019 season debut at the Mile-High Nationals July 19-21, and he is plenty excited.
“We have a brand-new MLR car and we have our same crew in place, we still have Glenn Mikres and we just added Aaron Brooks,” Carrillo said. “Aaron Brooks in the designer of this car. The effort was to reduce weight of the car. There was nothing wrong with the old car it was just a little heavy. Basically, I added two bars in the cockpit area on my own and I got them approved by the NHRA in case you get upside down on the guardrail it slides up the guardrail instead of tearing your head. What it is, is a bar that moves from the cockpit, from the roll cage forward on both sides at an angle, so if you get upside down it just slides up that rail in the top of the roll cage instead of tearing your head off.”
In 2018 and 2019, Brooks has helped and continues to work with a handful teams. He spent the 2017 season as the crew chief for nitro Funny Car world championship driver Cruz Pedregon but was released by Pedregon’s team the first week of August that season.
Prior to joining Pedregon in 2017, Brooks served as a crew chief at Morgan Lucas Racing from 2013-16 but was left looking for work when MLR was disbanded.
While at Morgan Lucas Racing, Brooks was the crew chief for Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton. He guided Crampton to seven national event wins and five No. 1 qualifying positions.
Carrillo said the first passes in his new dragster will be at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., the site of the Mile-High Nationals, and the dragster will not be the only thing new for Carrillo.
“We are going to a 6-disc clutch instead of a 5-disc and we are going to a CNCPE clutch from Chris Nachtmann,” Carrillo said. “Then, we went to the new Weld wheel and Steve Schiewer (of Aerodine Composites) provided this carbon fiber body we will be running as well as our injector and wings.
We didn’t want to race the whole year because we wanted to debut this new car at Bandimere. There’s nothing more exciting than night qualifying on the mountain. We are going at it a whole different way and with Glenn Mikres and Aaron Brooks, hopefully we can produce quicker 60-foot times. We were the slowest to 60-foot and you have to 60-foot or you can not compete. I figured by buying a new car, reducing the weight and having Aaron with us who knows the car well, I can put my best foot forward.”
Carrillo’s team is based out of Fort Morgan, Colo., 90 minutes from Bandimere Speedway.
“I’ve won a lot of races at Bandimere (in Sportsman classes, Super Comp and Super Gas), including the Mile-High Nationals and Division (5) races and the “Night of Fire & Thunder,” said Carrillo. “I’ve won all their big races. We want to go out and compete (in Top Fuel) and you’re not going to be able to go out and compete without the right people and right parts. I had to make a hard decision to park the car and I didn’t even run it at my hometown in Phoenix (Ariz.). I tested in Phoenix (in the preseason) and I made the decision to say, ‘hey we are no good here.’ When I pull out of the garage, I want a chance to win.”
In 2018, Carrillo competed in three NHRA Mello Yello Series events, highlighted by his semifinal performance at the Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler.
“Bandimere Speedway (because of its altitude) levels the field for us a little bit and I really like the way the NHRA has been prepping the tracks, it gives the small guy a chance to win,” Carrillo said. “(Steve) Torrence is the best. That’s why he wins on any track given to him. They are giving us a chance to win and if we can’t get it done, we can’t get it done. Another thing I’ve been hearing out there is about the good old days and these are the good old days. We are living the good old days.”
Carrillo said the primary sponsor for his dragster at the Mile-High Nationals will be Santiago’s Mexican Restaurants, which has 26 restaurants in the Denver Metro area as well as Santiago’s green chili in Walmart in the Denver Area.
Carrillo will also have associate sponsorship from Factory Motor Parts (FMP) has over 160 locations in 19 states serving markets in the Midwest, Mountain States, Southwest, Northeast, North Carolina and West Coast including Alaska. As a provider of premium original equipment and name brand automotive parts including, FVP Products and SPLASH Products, FMP serves as a total resource for independent service centers, dealerships, fleets, retailers, and wholesale customers.