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.
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.”