Western Swing kicks off with changes throughout the sport

The Western Swing is often crucial to title hopes in the NHRA. Add shorter races for Top Fuel and Funny Car as well as tight battles in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle and there's more drama than ever, writes Bill Stephens.

Updated: July 10, 2008, 9:22 PM ET
By Bill Stephens | Special to ESPN.com

Change has come to the NHRA POWERade series in a big way, and the first national event to showcase the most evident example of that change will be this weekend at Bandimere Speedway outside Denver when the 29th Mopar Mile-High Nationals arrive for their annual visit to "Thunder Mountain."

For the first time in NHRA national event history, the length of the racetrack will be 1,000 feet from start to finish in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, a safety initiative dictated ...

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