More than a thousand homes are planned at a piece of newly purchased property along C-470 near Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo.
Homes will start going into the undeveloped parcel across from the speedway in fall of 2021.
The Bandimere family executive team, which runs the speedway, is aware of the development, but not concerned about the track’s future.
“Any time you see houses, you see development stuff everybody gets nervous, right, and I understand that totally,” said John “Sporty” Bandimere III. “You know what, we run a racetrack, but we spend a considerable amount of our time being involved in the community and that’s important. Today that’s probably more of a full-time job than running the racetrack.”
Sporty said Bandimere Speedway has been a key member of the community which has helped them foster important relationships.
“We are very, very thankful, we’re very fortunate we have a great relationship with the county, the town of Morrison, the city of Lakewood that we have had for a long time and continue to.” Sporty said. “Each day, honestly, that relationship gets stronger and stronger and we are thankful for that. They understand what we bring to the economics to the community around us and that type of thing, which is very cool. It is a neat to see that they understand that. Think of it this way. We have a major freeway right outside our front door. It is kind of a barrier between us and them and really when you think about it, we’re actually a pretty good neighbor.”
Sporty brought up examples of why the speedway is a “good neighbor.”
“We’re seasonal and even when we are in season, we don’t race all the time,” he said. “We don’t run cars early, early, early. We self-impose on ourselves that we don’t run cars before a certain time. Frankly, we also don’t run real late. Wednesday nights we run until 9 p.m. Friday nights are late night, but they are also are Street Car night and we will not go past midnight. We shut off at midnight. Saturdays, typically, unless it is a big event, like a night of Fire and Thunder or the (Mile High Nationals) or something, typically on Saturdays we are done by about 8 o’clock.
Then, Sundays are specialty events and most of those are done by 6 or 7 o’clock at the latest. So really when you think about it, we’re kind of great neighbor because we really don’t create all the issues that most people would think of when they think of a racetrack. We give kids the opportunity to get off the streets. You can go to a dealership and buy a 130 or 140 mph car right off the showroom floor. We give these you guys and gals and opportunity to go and play and fun with them in a safe environment and to get them off the streets.”
In 1958, John Bandimere Sr. purchased a parcel of land on the west side of Denver nestled up against the Hogback leading up to the Rocky Mountains.
He and his family began the process of constructing a small but efficient drag strip that was to be used to augment their auto parts business. It also was the fulfillment of a dream of John Sr.’s to provide a safe environment for young people to learn about cars and race them off the streets.
Now, over 63 years later, the only thing at Bandimere Speedway that has not changed is the facility’s location. Nearly every original building has been replaced including the original spark plug-replica timing tower and the event schedule has grown nearly 10 times its original size to host a variety of specialty events, including the Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
Despite what’s happening with the housing development, Sporty said the track is confident with its place in the community.
“Right now, when we look over there (at the housing development) things are changing, but it really doesn’t give us any nervousness or make us freak out because we have such a great relationship with the county and city and town and that type of thing and we don’t envision that changing.” Sporty said. “Our job is to continue to make sure we are a good neighbor. From a family standpoint, we are not nervous, we are not uptight, we are none of those kinds of things. We are just doing business and at the same time we are trying to be creative like what other things we can do with our facility that are good things for the community.”
And, the speedway has been home to plenty of non-drag racing events.
“We had another holiday light show this year during the holidays and we keep the facility really busy,” Sporty said. “We have training for police departments, fire departments, Flight for Life was just out here a couple of weeks ago doing some training with their helicopter pilots. We do a lot of things like that within the facility. Morrison uses part of our facility for a shooting range and driving stuff. That’s part of being involved in your community and having value beyond the economics of taxes and cash registers ringing and that kind of thing. Whether we are a racetrack or not, those are just important things and things we all need to pay attention to.”
The Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals are scheduled to ran July 17-19 with the Pro categories of Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
In consideration of the COVID-19 global pandemic, NHRA officials have announced revisions to the 2020 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. The series is tentatively planned to resume June 5-7 with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
“If we aren’t getting back to a normal way of life by then (July), there are way more problems than the Mile-High Nationals,” Sporty said. “Our country, our state, our industry can’t survive it they don’t.”