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Colorado Springs "Drag Strip" (1952)
Centennial Drag Strip (Littleton) (1953)
Lowry Air Force Base (1955)
Pueblo "Drag Strip" (1956)
Denver "Drag Strip" (1957)
Bandimere Speedway (Morrison) (1958)
Julesburg Drag Strip (1958)
Continental Divide Raceway (Castle Rock) (1959)
Colorado Springs Drag Strip (1960)
Midway Drag Strip/Western Colorado Dragway (Grand Junction) (1960)
Mountain View Dragway (Erie) (1966)
Trinidad Jaycee Dragway (1966)
Rocky Mountain Dragway (Commerce City) (1967)
Thunder Road Dragway/Denver International Raceway (1968)
Century 21 Raceway (Aurora) (1971)
Pueblo Motorsports Park (1975)

 
Sign at Continental Divide Raceway. Photo given by Tommy Ivo to  Pete Garramone, photographer

Bandimere Speedway (Morrison)

  • Years of Operation:  1958-present
 
Excerpts from history on Bandimere's official website: "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 . . .  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 Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. The most significant change to the facility was in 1988 when the Bandimere family made the decision to undergo a much-needed $4 million improvement project which included a year sabbatical on the national event circuit. The many facility improvements allowed for diversity of events, more spectator seating, better pit areas for race vehicles, improved spectator parking and access to all areas of the facility, and an unsurpassed venue for sponsor involvement with improved sign visibility. The ability to host larger spectator events added a tremendous amount of exposure opportunities for the facility and its sponsors. Seating capacity of the grandstands was increased from approximately 8,000 to over 23,500." In 1968 the track was sanctioned by NHRA. Prior to that it was an unsanctioned independent track. NHRA's Mile-High Nationals was first held in 1978. In 2008, the track surface was repaved with all concrete and a track cooling system installed under the launch pad.
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June 7, 1975
CLICK HERE to see ESPN Speed World coverage of IDRC Rocky Mountain Nationals, Bandimere Speedway, 2002, 23:45 minutes

Centennial Drag Strip (Littleton)

 
The Colorado Timing Association conducted drag races on a drag strip owned by the Centennial Turf Club in what is today Littleton, Colorado. The Turf Club began operating a dog and horse racing track in 1950. The drag races were held on a private road on the Turf Club property. For various reasons, the horse and dog racing was not successful and the property was sold to a developer in 1981. Today the area is highly developed and is known as Centennial Downs, in the vicinity of Bellevue Avenue and South Federal Boulevard. There is no remnant of a place where dog and horse racing, much less drag racing, took place. What little information has been gleaned is found in Hot Rod Magazine, (May 1954) and the 1955 Hot Rod Annual (p. 13).
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1955 aerial view of Centennial Turf Club

Century 21 Raceway (Aurora)

 
The Century 21 Corporation, headed by Peter Conway, financed, built, and operated this short-lived multi-purpose racing complex which included a quarter-mile drag strip and a paved oval with a figure-8 track. It was located ten miles east of Denver, or four miles east of Denver's Stapleton International Airport on the north side of Interstate 70. Specifically it was just northwest of the intersection of Gun Club Road and I-70, northeast of Aurora. Although all of the asphalt has been removed, the old complex is easily seen in aerial photos today. The drag strip was 4,300 feet long, with 10,000 bucket seats on cement stands for spectator viewing south of the strip and oval. Jim Tibbets was the track manager. The opening race was an NHRA regional points race held on August 28-29, 1971. Six thousand spectators at the finals on Sunday were disappointed when rain halted racing during the eliminations. The best top fuel time was a 7.09 ET  set by Rob Williams and Howard Ditzel ran a best of 206.61 MPH. The finish of the race was scheduled to be run September 26. Century 21 opted to switch to AHRA sanction in 1972. They hosted the AHRA Spring Nationals on June 2-4, 1972. Rain plagued the qualifications on Friday and Saturday, although Don Garlits was able to get in a blistering Colorado-state record 6.77 ET run on his first pass on Saturday night to put him in the spot as the number one qualifier. John Wiebe from Kansas turned a 6.98 about an hour before Garlits made his run. But heavy rains and lightning during the afternoon damaged the Christmas tree so that starter Steve Langley had to use a flag to start the racers. The racing attracted 14,000 fans. Jim Nichol took top fuel, as Garlits red-lighted in the semi-final. The track hosted the AHRA Spring Nationals again in 1973. Don Garlits won top fuel, but only after registering a protest against Dan Richins's "Iron Horse" top fueler whose car was so low that it slid under the light beam. Officials deemed that this gave Richins an unfair advantage at the start and awarded the win to Garlits. [Note: Read Rex Pearmain's recollection of this race, which differs from newspaper reports. Pearmain was co-owner of the "Iron Horse" with Richins.]  Garlits set low ET of the meet with a time of 6.331 seconds and Gary Beck had top speed with a run of 226.13 MPH. Dale Pulde won funny car and Dick Landy took pro stock. There were larger crowds than the previous year, but there were many rain delays, which caused thousands to leave before the race ended. AHRA was disappointed in the bottom line at its Spring Nationals races at Century 21. It began looking to hold the race elsewhere. This may have factored into 1973 being the final season of drag racing at this track. They also certainly experienced a great measure of bad luck weather-wise.
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CLICK HERE to see a very entertaining exploration of the remnants of Century 21 Raceway in 2014, video by Daniel McAdams, 8:46 minutes
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1993 aerial view of Century 21 Raceway

Colorado Springs "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1952-53
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
In late 1951, the Cam Winders car club of Colorado Springs obtained some flat ranch land from the Pring brothers on which to build a drag strip. Located four miles northeast of Colorado Springs, they first graded the ground and then dumped used motor oil on the surface. They let the surface winter and harden before holding their first drag race on the oiled dirt strip in about late 1952. That first race drew about 3,500 spectators. Willie Young drove Bill Kenz's 1932 Ford roadster to the top time of the meet of 94.33 MPH. See Hot Rod Magazine (Feb. 1953): 34-35, 52.
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Colorado Springs Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1960-61
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
A $70,000 building permit was issued to the Pikes Peak Exchange Club to build a 4,000-foot long by 250 foot wide asphalt paved drag strip in January 1960. Directions to reach the strip was to take Highway 24 three miles east from Colorado Springs, then to go a mile south. Other published directions gave the strip's location as being about a mile northeast of the junction of Farmers Highway Junction and U. S. Highway 24 (a mile east of the Peterson Field entrance). The property was situated in a northeast to southwest direction, between the old Colorado and Southern Railway and Sand Creek. Although the initial plans were more expansive, the strip ended up being paved on 60-foot wide by three-fourths of a mile long. A formal groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 1, 1960, and it was anticipated that construction would be complete within a month. The races were conducted by the Toreadores Hot Rod Club. They held a race on the site prior to paving and construction work on July 17,  1960. The track was sanctioned by NHRA in 1961 and the Pikes Peak Timing Association ran races a couple of times a month. The track record was slightly over 124 MPH by mid-1961.
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July 17, 1960

Colorado Springs International Speedway

 
On Saturday, May 1, 1976, the 1/4 mile asphalt oval track held its grand opening. It was located 1.5 miles east of Peterson Road on Highway 94 on 97 acres. A 1/8th-mile drag strip was built a few hundred feet east of the oval. Both are visible in aerial photographs. Mike and Joe Bonicelli built and owned the track. The NHRA-sanctioned drag strip held its first race on Sunday, May 16, 1976. Although there were a pair of out-of-state drivers from North Dakota (Bob Struknes) and Missouri (Ray Motes) to face two Colorado drivers, the locals prevailed in match races. Top fuel eliminator was won by Tom Kaiser and Art Ward won funny car.  A sparse crowd watched the second race at the track, featuring a match race between  Peggy Pierce's Corvette BB/FC and Glen Rowe's AA/AD. Pierce won three straight.  In 1977, it started being called Colorado Springs International Dragway. The calendar for 1977 included night races except for a 2-day first annual NHRA Eighth Mile Sportsman National Open race on June 18-19. Some of the big-name racers booked to appear included Shirley Muldowney, Tommy Ivo, Ray Beadle, and the Hemi Under Glass wheelstander. 1979 was an up and down year for the track, what with sparse crowds and bad weather. In June 1979, they held the first annual Mello Yellow Nationals with such racers as Don Garlits and Tom McEwen in the lineup. A late afternoon thunderstorm kept attendance down, but Garlits set an 1/8th mile world record nonetheless. In 1982, promoter Glenn Johnson leased the CSIS racing plant, but devoted his time to only the oval track, suspending races on the drag strip. In 1983, Doyle Stogner, Bruce Betts, and Bob Howard teamed up to lease the racing plant from Joe Bonicelli. They planned to have the local drag racing community organize the drag races. They opened in May, 1983, for bracket racing, after a 2-year hiatus. Drag racing on the drag strip ended in 1983, although mud drag races were held next to the strip in 1984. The racing operation closed when the property was sold to Tucson developer Frank Aries, who decided to discontinue any racing. Remnants of the old racing plant still remain.
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1976
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CLICK HERE to see onsite exploration of the site of the old defunct Colorado Springs International Speedway and Drag Strip, Part 1, 8:10 minutes
1999 aerial view of site of Colorado Springs International Speedway
CLICK HERE to see onsite exploration of the site of the old defunct Colorado Springs International Speedway and Drag Strip, Part 2, 8:14 minutes

Continental Divide Raceway (Castle Rock)

 
The informal opening of this track occurred on July 19, 1959. Ken Lawrence drove Swede Ehrlich's A dragster to the track's first top eliminator honors with a speed of 127.42 MPH. The drag strip had an adjoining road race course. It was located one mile south of Castle Rock. The track was sanctioned by NHRA at least by 1960, holding monthly races that year. In the late 1960s, top fuelers were running in the mid 7-second range at CDR. They included such racers as Mark Williams, Alan Bockla, and Mike Dallins. The track's speed mark had been established by Bockla in 1967 at 7.30 seconds. In 1963 Don Garlits set the track top speed mark of 191 MPH.  At the 1967 opener on April 23rd, there was a match race between two Jeep funny cars: Ed Lenarth's "Secret Weapon" and Gene Conway's "Destroyer Jeep." The track had set an attendance record of 14,000 the previous year, so had added a 1,500-seat grandstand on the starting line in addition to the 6,000 seat concrete stadium seats on the hillside. They had also built a new two-lane automobile tunnel leading to the pits, advertised as the largest drag racing pits in the nation. On September 13, 1968, at an NHRA divisional points race, two electric-powered cars were slated to run. It was purportedly the first time such cars had ever competed in an official sanctioned drag race. The cars were Renaults, each powered by twenty 6-volt, 30-kilowatt-hour batteries located in the trunk and under the hood. They were rated at 15 horsepower and were capable of reaching a top speed of 60 MPH and accelerating from 0 to 40 MPH in 10 seconds. The total weight of the batteries in each car was 1,700 pounds. The drivers of the cars were Dick Fugler and John Cooke, employees of the Public Service Company of Colorado, who owned the two vehicles. On June 14, 1970, eight of the country's eleven NHRA-licensed wheelstanders were brought in for a wheel-standing championships. They included Bob Riggle's "Hemi Under Glass," Bob Perry's "Fugitive" Corvette, and Dick Harding's "Back Up Pick Up." Perry won this event and the one the following year (1971). On September 12, 1971, At a spring funny car race in 1971, Don Prudhomme set a new track mark with a 7.470 run. On September 12, 1971, Prudhomme, in his wedge dragster, was matched with Don Garlits in a top fuel match race. The wheelstanding event, called the U. S. Wheelstanding Championships, continued for a third year in 1972. Only OCIR in California and CDR held such competitions. On July 30, 1972, Evel Knievel put on a wheelstanding run the full length of of the quarter-mile. Research has uncovered no further drag racing at CDR after that date, but the racing on the road course continued until the early 1980s. The racing complex was sold in about 1983 for real estate development, which has never materialized. The asphalt was plowed up, but the outline of the drag and road course can still be seen in aerial photos.
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July 2-3, 1960

Denver "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1957
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
Newspapers reported that the county commission was constructing a public-funded drag strip near Denver in March 1957. It is not known if this strip ever opened. More information is needed.
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Julesburg Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1958-present
 
The Platte Valley Custom Club conducted drag races on the runway of the Julesburg Municipal Airport in 1959 on April 12, May 24, July 4-5 and August 22-23. In 1961, NHRA-sanctioned drag races were held on May 28 and June 25, the latter being an NHRA regional race (see Hot Rod Magazine, Jan. 1962, p. 87) .In 1963-77, it was being called Platte Valley Dragways. 
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CLICK HERE to see interview with NHRA's Darrell Zimmerman about early years of Julesburg Drag Strip, 2:53 minutes

Lowry Air Force Base

 
Located just south of Denver, the Lowry Base permitted and sponsored a few drag racing events during 1955. The biggest event was a two-day NHRA regional championship drag race on July 3-4, 1955. That race drew over 185 entries. Jack Moss, of Amarillo, Texas, was the top eliminator winner in his Ramblin' Ram dragster. Kenz-Leslie's dragster clocked the top speed of the meet at 122.98 MPH.
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1987 aerial view of Lowry Air Force Base

Midway Drag Strip/Western Colorado Dragway (Grand Junction)

  • Years of Operation: 1959-present
 
The Grand Junction Hot Rod Council, comprised of the the Dragins and Runabouts car clubs, conducted drag races every other Sunday in 1960 and early 1961. Proceeds from a benefit drag race in late November 1959 went to the St. Mary's Hospital Fund. Races were held on the city airport runway and were sanctioned by NHRA. At least by 1961, it started being called Midway Drag Strip. In 1963, they held races monthly. Racing dates in 1963 were April 14, May 12, June 2, June 30, July 28, August 11, September 8, and October 6. In 1964, racing moved from the airport to its present location about seven miles south of Grand Junction east of Highway 50 in the Whitewater area on a barren tract of land. The track continues to operate under NHRA sanction today (2016), focusing on bracket racing.
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CLICK HERE to see 1st city airport location on a map
CLICK HERE to see 2nd & present location on a map
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CLICK HERE to see TV ESPN feature promo about Western Colorado Dragway, 2011, 1:42 minutes
April 27, 1975

Mountain View Dragway (Erie)

 
Research has uncovered very little about this drag strip except what can be found online. It was located about ten miles north of Denver, just west of I-25. At one time, it purportedly was sanctioned simultaneously by both AHRA and NHRA. The strip was perpendicular to a state road. It was a tight situation at the starting line, making it difficult for push-started dragsters to turn around and line up to race. Interestingly there were a few covered pits with powered outlets. Another unusual feature of this track was the sharp uphill shutdown area.  Albert Broncucie was the owner and operator of this strip. More research is needed to help define the years of operation of this strip and details of its history.
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2003 aerial view of Mountain View Dragway

Pueblo "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1956-59
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
There was reportedly a drag strip in or near Pueblo, Colorado, in 1956, but more research is needed. In 1959, the Road Runners car club held races on April 19, May 31, June 28, July 19, and August 16.
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Pueblo Motorsports Park

 
Groundbreaking ceremonies were conducted on January 17, 1975, on an 800-acre site west of Pueblo. It was within the site of the former State Honor Farm. Ben M. Crossno was the president of the non-profit Pueblo Motorsports, Inc., which negotiated a 20-year lease with the City of Pueblo. The grand opening of this drag strip, located at Highway 50 West at Pueblo Boulevard, was an NHRA division 5 points meet on September 13-14, 1975. Tommy Kaiser beat his younger brother, Juniro Kaiser, to win top fuel eliminator, despite Junior clocking the top time of the meet with a run of 227.14 MPH at 6.461 seconds. Gary Burgin won funny car and Kelly Chadwick took pro stock. Judy Lilly won stuper stock. At a NHRA Division 5 points race on May 22-23, 1976, some of the top racers entered included Don Prudhomme, Warren Johnson, and Bob Struksnes. At the May 3, 1981 NHRA points meet, Jim Archer beat Tommy Kaiser to take top fuel despite the latter taking the meet's top marks with a run of 6.369 at 222.31 MPH. In 2015, the City of Pueblo decided to terminate its long term lease with Faasst Motorsports to operate the racing plant. It is not known if racing will take place in 2016.
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1975
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Pueblo Motorsports Park, 2008, 9:08 minutes
1999 aerial view of Pueblo Motorsports Park

Rocky Mountain Dragway (Commerce City)

  • Years of Operation: 1967-68?
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
Jim Tibbitts managed the track that opened at least by mid-1967 under NHRA sanction. This track may be one of the drag strips profiled above. We need help on this one.
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Thunder Road Dragway/Denver International Raceway/Dragway Denver (Aurora)

 
This track opened northeast of Denver, southeast of the intersection of Buckley Road and 96th Avenue. It went through a number of name changes. It first was called Rocky Mountain Raceway or Mile High Dragway, then Thunder Road. Then in 1971, it was called Denver International Raceway or Dragway. On Sunday, May 24, 1970, Roy Pearman from Kansas, suffered a broken leg and some burns when he blew an engine in his AA/FD, went out of control, off the strip, and flipped over. The AHRA Spring Nationals were held at Thunder Road on June 25-27, 1971. A $50,000 purse attracted over 300 racers. New grandstands were built and most of the pit area was paved, in addition to laying down 2,200 feet of new asphalt on the track. Don Garlits won top fuel, Gene Snow took funny car, and Bob Lambeck took pro stock honors. In 1972, the strip switched to NHRA sanction when it lost the AHRA Spring Nationals meet to the newly-built Century 21 strip located ten miles east of Denver. That strip had started out in NHRA, but switched to AHRA in its second season. On May 6, 1972, DIR hosted an NHRA points race. In 1975, it's name was changed to Dragway Denver. On May 3-4, 1975, Dragway Denver hosted an NHRA divisional race. Bruce Hagestad beat Jack Harris to take top fuel with a 6.679 at 215.83 MPH clocking. Art Ward took the funny car honors. Tom Kaiser had the meet's top speed with a 217.98 MPH run. On April 24-25, 1976, the first divisional meet in NHRA's Division 5 was held at Dragway Denver. The big winners were John Wiebe in top fuel and Art Ward-Roger Guzman in funny car. Warren Johnson won pro stock. No information could be found after 1976. One old timer recalled the good times at Thunder Road:   "I remember Thunder Road . . .  could sneak over the fence real easy. A pal I hung with had a cousin that raced a '66 Chevelle. He called it 'Sunday's Child.' I wanted a car like that real bad. I remember a time when a front engine dragster's chute did not open. It went and drove through the farmer's yard at the end of the track. I think it even took out some chickens. Real good times."
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July 12-13, 1969
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Listing in National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
1993 aerial view of Dragway Denver

Trinidad Jaycee Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1966-68
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
NHRA-sanctioned drag races were held in Trinidad. More research is needed.
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1999 aerial view of possible location of Trinidad Jaycee Dragway, between Corundum Road and Garrett Drive, on the northeastern outskirts of Trinidad