Bandimere Speedway to Close After 65 Years in Operation

The 43rd Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Nationals will be Bandimere Speedway's final pro race
The 43rd Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Nationals will be Bandimere Speedway’s final pro race

The Bandimere family has owned and operated their self-named dragstrip just west of Denver, Colorado for 65 years. This year’s Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals will be the final race at this beautiful locale, one that has been enjoyed by both local and national straight-line racers since the family began its business.

John Bandimere and his family have been searching, over the past few years, for a new location to host drag racing, after agreeing to sell the current property and land. From 1958 through 2023, Bandimere Speedway has been a destination for racers looking to make noise and post speeds on Bandimere’s Thunder Mountain in Morrison, CO.

The family’s efforts to find another possible location in the Denver area where a new facility could be built has been ongoing. They’ve been actively working with investors on a possible new track and facility location, the goal being to make this 2023 finale at the current track just a simple bump in the road.

“Our family has been involved in the automotive business for the past three generations, through parts sales and machining, individual racing competition, industry innovations and the operation of our speedway in the beautiful Colorado foothills,” noted John Bandimere Jr., the second generation owner and operator.

“We have been blessed to occupy one of the most unique places in our state and feel that our commitment to the sport is not done yet. It’s part of the fabric of our family’s life and we’re hopeful that another equally unique location can be found to continue the legacy that was started by my parents over six decades ago.”

This 2023 season marks the 65th anniversary for Bandimere Speedway and the track will host a special celebration during the 43rd and final Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals, which take place July 14-16. The track is always packed on this particular race weekend and will, no doubt, be filled for this year’s final run.

This sign at the exit of the track pretty much sums up the joy of being there – Anne Proffit photo

Known colloquially as “Thunder Mountain”, Bandimere Speedway poses more unique challenges than any on the NHRA tour. Racing at nearly 6,000 feet above sea level affects every part of a car, from engine tune-ups to body aerodynamics. The challenges of getting up this strip, repaved in 2008 as a fully-concrete track with cooling beneath the surface for the first 330 feet, are unequalled on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing tour. These changes greatly improved racing action at Bandimere Speedway and were just part of the many improvements the Bandimere family has made to its self-owned facility.

As one might expect, the King of Thunder Mountain is John Force, the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion who has eight wins in Denver, followed by two Pro Stock standouts: the late Bob Glidden and by Dodge stalwart Allen Johnson, each with seven victories. Just behind them are Joe Amaro’s six Top Fuel wins (the most of any dragster driver) and Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Andrew Hines, who has recorded five victories on the mountain. In 2022, winners were Leah Pruett in Top Fuel, Robert Hight in Funny Car, while Matt Hartford earned the Pro Stock win and Matt Smith rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory.

NHRA has been bleeding racetracks of late, with the closure of Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix and now Denver. Glen Cromwell, NHRA president noted the sanction has been having conversations with current NHRA member tracks to take up the slack of missing these tracks; on a positive note, Route 66 Raceway rejoined the tour for the ’23 season.

“This year’s Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals will be a memorable celebration of more than 40 years of NHRA drag racing at a historic facility,” Cromwell noted. “We know the race weekend in July will be filled with amazing moments and will be an event fans won’t want to miss.”

About Anne Proffit 1140 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

13 Comments on Bandimere Speedway to Close After 65 Years in Operation

  1. As a Coloradian I have gone mosy of the races until a few years ago. I love that place, it’s such a shame that peoples encroachment has forced them out.

    • Amen Pat. Darn shame the lights are shut off on so many iconic facilities. Urban sprawl just like what destroyed the west coast.

    • The usual, California has burned up Colorado with new arrivals so guess what? houses are popping up everywhere and right across from the Track! what used to be cow pasture is now one new home after another, this will be real interesting because as of now Bandimere doesn’t have water or sewer lines and never has (no permanent restrooms ever) so it will be nice too see if water and sewer lines suddenly appear, that was the issue in the ninety’s when the Bandimere family was looking for a new location, hope one is found but it didn’t happen before so who knows, also of course new arrivals came from other States but Ca., has been the worse for this once nice and beautiful State.

  2. Saying they will re-open somewhere else is a way to soften the blow for us all. I find it hard to believe they will find another location or they would have done that before agreeing to a sale. We understand the economics of operating these facilities must be very difficult with only one major event per year ( ticket sale income )
    Everything in this country that true Americans have always loved, is under attack. Cars included. Sad

  3. You buy a house by the drag strip and then complain about the noise. Same people that buy by the airport and then complain about plane noise.

  4. I am a native of Colorado .
    While the race track was being built, 66 years ago and it was still just a dirt track
    My cousin & I used to race our horses there, had lots of fun.
    WOWZA I’m 82 now and no way can I even get on a horse!!
    The Keizer brothers were my friends Jr and Jerry Keizer raced there.

  5. A great loss to the drag racing community.
    This beautiful facility was host to the greats and is now going by the waist side like the great Englishtown did because of people who moved in and THEN complained.
    Unfortunately when lawyers and politicians get involved with business the people loose.
    When people move next to an airport and then complain it is the same as moving next to a race track.
    Unscrupulous realtors placed people on the side of the track during the week when it was quiet and then complained about the noise on the weekends. They started suits and the lawyers eventfully took Englishtown down over many years of legal battles.
    No matter how far away from the general population a great track is built people always move too close and then screw it all up for those of us that enjoy it.
    RIP Bandimere…
    If you agree with me great. If not YOUR THE PROBLEM.
    have a nice day!

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