John Bandimere, Jr.
John C. Bandimere, Jr. held the position of president and general manager of Bandimere Speedway since 1970 when the facility’s original founder, John Sr., handed the management reins to his eldest son. In 1998, the tradition continued to the third generation when the general manager duties were passed to John C. Bandimere III, providing John Jr. with an opportunity to focus his attention on vital community issues and further promotion of the facility.
The Bandimere family has always been in the automotive industry whether it is in manufacturing, auto parts sales, machine work, racing or other automotive-related business. In 1988, the decision was made to undergo a much needed $4.5 million renovation at the Speedway and within 12 months the facility had an entirely new look and subsequently has witnessed substantial growth from hosting both automotive and non-automotive events virtually seven days a week. Over the past 39 years, John Jr. has been the driving force behind the successful Bandimere Speedway team as they have promoted exciting events, secured major sponsorships, developed interesting and popular programs, and provided an affordable way for adults and kids to spend their entertainment dollar while making the responsible decision to take their “need for speed” to an appropriate environment.
A Colorado native, Rob Johnson has spent much of his 25+ year professional career in sports management positions up and down the Front Range of the Rockies.
After graduating from the University of Colorado with a journalism degree in 1990, he ventured to Kansas City to work for a leading advertising and public relations firm, Barkley & Evergreen Advertising, on motorsports and finance accounts. There, he managed public relations and advertising projects on behalf of Purolator Filters, Western Auto and AE Clevite Engine Parts. Upon returning to his hometown in 1994, he helped with the start-up of several marketing firms, ultimately becoming the manager of the public relations division of the Denver-based strategic marketing firm of Greenberg Baron Simon & Miller. There he worked for such clients as Pepsi Center, Colorado Avalanche, MLB’s ’98 All-Star Game at Coors Field, and Turner Sports’ Atlanta Arena, and as one of the initial strategic marketing and public relations consultants on Pikes Peak International Raceway, a 1,200-acre, 42,000-seat complex built in 1996 in Fountain, Colorado.
In November 1998, Rob was named president of Pikes Peak International Raceway where for eight years he oversaw a major motorsports calendar, including NASCAR, IndyCar, AMA and USAC and more than 100 days of additional track rental activities. In 2006, he became general manager of the Grand Prix of Denver, a Champ Car street race held on the streets of Denver. He was also named vice president of Sutton International Motorsports, where he managed sales, marketing and public relations initiatives for the organization’s NASCAR, Baja and Champ Car projects. In addition, Rob has served as the race director for the Shell Eco-Marathon for the past eight years. In this role, he oversees a fuel mileage competition of more than 150 high school and college teams from around the world. The event is currently held on the streets of Detroit. He has also managed the event in California and Texas.
Outside of racing, Rob is currently the chief executive officer of the Billiard Congress of America, a non-profit trade organization dedicated to promoting the game of billiards though educational, marketing and promotional efforts, annual industry trade shows, tournaments and other programs designed to encourage play. He is also the managing director of a non-profit association and conference management firm. Rob has also been actively involved in the community, having served on the board of directors for 10 years, including six as chairman of the board, of the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame. He has also served on the board of directors for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, University of Colorado Alumni Association, Fort Carson Educational Museum and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chancellor’s Leadership Class.
Rob, his wife, Kari, and their three boys live in Superior, Colo.
Frank’s involvement in midget auto racing started in 1947. At the age of 12 Frank started helping his uncle, Pete Mahr, on their midget race car. Between taking off body panels, side plates and cam covers, he was allowed to polish the body and clean up the car. But when not removing panels, or polishing the car, Frank was watching the intense car and engine work that was part of building and racing the Offenhausen midget. HE WAS BITTEN BY THE RACING BUG! These lessons laid the groundwork for a lifetime fascination with the entire racing experience, but especially engine building.
At 15 he acquired his own track roadster. He couldn’t drive it but he could own it at 15. His roadster had a Model T type body, a V8 engine and a sprint car type frame. When Frank was 17 he convinced officials at Englewood Speedway that he was 18 so that he could race it on the dirt track. He was involved in a crash and with the URGING of his mother, decided that he would not be driving anymore! His mother did offer an alternative plan and help that included a loan to purchase another car, his first midget, #50, a Ford V8-60. He’s not sure he ever got around to paying her back. Frank prepared his car with great care and the first night he raced it at Lakeside Speedway the engine blew! Never one to be discouraged for long, it was “back to the drawing board.” Between 1952 and 1973 Frank owned four different V8-60 race cars and raced mainly on Colorado tracks. Frank became a quality engine builder while working on these different cars.
In 1973, Bob Morrison hired Frank, along with race car driver Jim Beckley, to race the #97 Edmunds Sesco on the USAC circuit. The entry finished 11th in USAC for the 1973 season. Frank later purchased this car and it is one of five of his Vintage Cars.
In the early 1970’s he started building motors for others, while still building his own. He hooked up with racecar driver Sammy Sauer in 1974. They made a deal that if Sammy would drive, Frank would be the mechanic and in 1975 they wrecked several of Harry Conklin’s cars. Next they went to work for Bob Olds Motors, which seemed to go better since Bob was a body man and could repair the equipment that Sauer and Peterson bent. Frank built the motors and did the chassis work; Sauer drove the cars and Olds repaired the body damage. That year, 1977, the team produced 11 main event win and won the championship.
Frank Peterson’s career has spanned over 62 years in Colorado racing history. In the early 1980’s Roger Mauro and Frank owned the USAC Silver Crown car that Mike Gregg and Dave Strickland, Jr. drove. He has built Ford V8-60’s, Offenhausens, Volkswagens, Cosworths, Sescos, Chevy II’s and Esslinger engines as well as installing and tuning many engines for others. Frank currently owns the following midget race cars: the Wards #36, the #22 Elto, the #1 Edmunds Volkswagen, the #97 Edmunds Sesco, the #27 Ellis Cosworth, as well as the #12 Spike Mopar that won 5 main events this year. The car was driven by Keith Rauch who won the 2009 RMMRA Championship.
These cars not only define a legacy in racing for many individuals, but also represent the PASSION for racing that has spanned Frank’s lifetime.
Board of Directors
Thanks to his father, Walt Avants, Roger Avants got the racing bug more than 40 years ago. Roger started out racing in the Figure Eight Division at Englewood Speedway along with his brother, Larry, who raced in the Sportsman Division. It was here that Roger mastered car control. After racing five years in figure eights, Roger moved up to the Late Model Division, much to his mother’s dismay. She wanted him to win a championship in figure eights before moving up to late models.
After Englewood Speedway closed in 1979, Roger ran late models regionally. He won the championship at Colorado Springs International Speedway in 1981 and was also very successful outside Colorado, winning many races in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1986 the NASCAR Southwest Touring Series began. Roger won the inaugural Southwest Tour Race at Saugus Speedway in California.
After a couple of years on the road, Roger came home to race when Colorado National Speedway was paved in 1989. He won his first championship at CNS in 1990 followed by track championships in 1992, 1993, and 1995. During those years, Roger also ran ASA and Midwest Series. In 2002, not only did Roger win the championship at CNS, but he also won the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Northwest Region Championship. This is one of the biggest accomplishments of his career and one in which he is most proud.
In 2011, Roger won his most recent championship in the Pro Trucks Division at Colorado National Speedway where he is still competing weekly in both the Late Model Division and Pro Truck Division.
Roger has driven for many car owners all across the country throughout his racing career, and they are as follows: Walt Avants, Ed Brunner, Mark Tunstead, Jerry Malloy, Alan Beebee, Darrel Smith, Dick Hoffman, Don Wilson, Mike Leary, Don Smith, Mark Vidger, Gary Young, Dave Napier and Alex Ortiz. One of the awards Roger is very proud of is the fan voted “Most Popular Driver Award” which he won five years in a row at Colorado National Speedway. He has been awarded “Overall Sportsman of the Year” a couple of times as well.
For Roger, racing is not only about the competition, but it is also about the people and it is a way for him to give back to the community. He was a part of the Missing Children’s Task force and has the honor of having the most “found kids” of all of the drivers who posted pictures of missing children on their cars. He also had the privilege of meeting some of the kids after they were found! He participated in the Englewood Speed Pledge Program promoting safe driving on the city streets.
Not only is Roger a fierce competitor, he is also a mentor to many of the drivers.
Scott Backman’s involvement in motorsports began in 1973, when he served as a mechanic on the #33 CARC modified his brother, Jack, drove at Lakeside Speedway. He served in this role until 1985, when he began driving a super modified with the Englewood Racing Association. During his first year, he earned Rookie of the Year honors for finishing fifth in the championship standings.
From 1986-1996, Backman teamed up with Shannon Muir to form Muir Motorsports and race in the Western States Super Modified Series. During that time, he competed at tracks from coast to coast, including Colorado National Speedway, where he won the season championship in 1989. That season, Backman won 11 of 15 main events, and had a clean sweep in 10 of those nights (quick time, trophy dash, heat race and main event). In 1991, Backman also competed in the Denver Grand Prix on the streets of Denver in a Coors-sponsored Indy Lights car, finishing 8th on his first road course race.
In 1996, he ran a limited schedule at CNS in a grand american modified, finishing 10th in points, and was named Rookie of the Year. 1997 and 1998, he ran a Pro Truck at CNS finishing, second in points both years and, again, won “Rookie of the Year honors. From 1999-2007, he ran late models at CNS, along with several NASCAR Touring Series races. In 2006, Backman was the track champion at CNS in the late model division, winning 7 of 18 races, including the Challenge Cup. He also finished 5th in the Western Region of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series.
Backman was the track operator of Colorado National Speedway, from 2008-2011, one of the most successful “short tracks” in the United States. In 2009, he was appointed to the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
John "Sporty" Bandimere III
As general manager of the drag strip that was established by his grandparents in 1958 and bears his family’s name, John Bandimere III, “Sporty”, is not only continuing the family name, but also the mission of the speedway located in the beautiful Colorado foothills west of Denver – “To operate a state-of-the-art motorsports facility promoting quality entertainment for the entire family by continuing the vision of the late John Bandimere Sr. in keeping an appropriate balance of religion, family, community, profitability and fun”.
John III has been involved in the family business since he was only nine years old when he began working part-time summer jobs at the facility and graduated to starting line official on the weekends during race events. After attending two years of college in pursuit of a marketing degree, that same position opened up at the speedway and offered John a hands-on approach to the subject. In addition to overseeing the marketing department at the speedway, John manages nearly 18 full-time staff members and produces nearly 130 events each year, including the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, and the Pepsi All-American High School Drag Racing Series – a program that found its roots with his grandfather’s early vision to provide a place for young people and their automobiles. Most recently, John has piloted an exhibition jet car at a variety of events across the country and has traveled the quarter-mile at 307 mph.
Costa Dunias has been a 20-year nationally licensed Sports Car Club of America racer, in addition to being an eight-time national championship competitor. He also served for more than 12 years as an SCCA staff member, where he was vice president of amateur activities. In addition to serving on the board of directors for the Colorado Motor Sports Hall of Fame, Dunias is also vice president of the board of directors for the Hospice of Saint John. He is married to Wilma and also owns a Mountain Man Nut and Fruit Company distributorship.
Gary Huibregtse is a charter member and current president of Colorado Vintage Oval Racers, a club that is dedicated to the historical preservation of oval track racing in the Rocky Mountain region and currently has over 90 members who own nearly 140 vintage oval track cars. Gary Huibregtse is also a professional photographer and has been a professor of Art at Colorado State University since 1985.
Wayde Samuel began drag racing in 2001 in the High School class at Bandimere Speedway in his dad’s 1964 Nova. Preferring baseball to racing, Wayde resisted until the 2001 Labor Day race where one pass down the track hooked him for good!
Since then, he’s been involved with Division 5 in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as participating in the 2011 Mopar Mile High Nationals in Super Gas, Bandimere’s Super Street and Super Pro events during 2013, ‘14 and ’15, and JEGS All Stars in 2015. He won his first Wally at Earlville LODRS Division Race in 2014, and again in 2015, as well as a Wally in LODRS Division Races in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
When he is not on the track competing, Wayde also shoots and edits videos for the NHRA D5 banquets and all Bandimere Speedway banquets.
Not satisfied with Second Place in the races he’s done since 2011, he hopes to get a Division Championship in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in 2016. He also continues to race at Bandimere Speedway hoping to achieve a Super Pro and Super Street Track Championship.
Wayde loves what drag racing has done for his life. He says “I’ve met the greatest people through racing and love the family and camaraderie at the track.”
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Dave’s interest in racing started at a young age when the racing bug bit at Lakeside Speedway where he spent time with his aunt who was then dating midget driver, Bud Shey. Dave since became increasingly involved with racing in Colorado when he became a pit crew member in the late 60s and later a driver in 1971. He got behind the wheel of a modified in 1971 and wheeled a top ten ERA car in 1979. His pit crew experience includes but is not limited to helping with figure 8s, being a part of a champion crew in the E Stock Eliminator series, and helping Mike Smyth on his GTX. Additionally, he has been instrumental in the success of his oldest son, Dan’s racing career since 1993 through which he has thoroughly enjoyed their mutual love for the sport. Dave’s favorite cars are those powered by Ford, a love that is also shared throughout the Savage family. Throughout the years, his racing involvement has taken him to a number of tracks, including but not limited to:
- Lakeside Speedway, Denver, CO
- Englewood Speedway, Denver, CO
- Benkelman, Nebraska
- Cheyenne, Wyoming
- Beacon Hill, Pueblo, CO
- Century 21 Raceway, Aurora, CO
- Pikes Peak International Raceway, Fountain, CO
- Colorado National Speedway, Erie, CO
Dave has been married to his wife, Lorrie, for over 43 years. Together they have three children, Dan, Jeremy and Jessica. Additionally, they have two granddaughters, Kendall and Shelby Savage. Dan drove his way to a Colorado State and Track Championship at Colorado National Speedway in 2011. Jessica too shares the love for motorsports and started driving in the Rocky Mountain Legend Racing series in 2012.
In his professional life Dave serves as the Vice President of King Soopers where he has been an employee for over 30 years.
Dave continues to be passionate about motorsports and is honored to be a board member for the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Jessica may have taken a while to find the driver’s seat of a racecar, but she is no stranger to the racing world. Growing up around racing, she was bitten by the bug early in life, listening to stories of her dad’s love for racing. Her brother, Dan Savage, started racing a late model when she was about twelve years old. That year started the weekend racing routine for Jessica. Every Saturday night, she sat up in turn two at the Colorado National Speedway, anxiously awaiting each one of Dan’s races She watched every lap, could give a play by play of the race every week.
As the year’s progressed, the urge to drive grew stronger and stronger. Jessica enjoyed go-karting through the years, but couldn’t help but wonder what driving around Colorado National Speedway was really like. Finally, she decided it was better late than never. Thanks to the help and support of family and friends, 2012 marked Jessica’s first racing season when she joined the Rocky Mountain Legend Racing Association. While the learning curve has been understandably steep, Jessica has enjoyed every challenge that has come with the endeavor. One of her favorite things about racing has been the way it’s pulled her family together.
Professionally, Jessica works in the technology consulting industry. While it will always be a dream to hold a professional position in the business of racing, she manages to stay connected to the racing world through the involvement of local radio and TV shows, as well as being on the CMHOF Board.
Joe Starr was born in San Diego, California and attended his first race at one week old. He got his racing bug from his family who attended midget races in the 1940s and 50s in California and Colorado. His uncle, Jimmy, competed in many of the first midget races he witnessed. Upon his dad’s retirement from the Navy, the family moved to Colorado in 1957. From the summer of 1967 every Saturday night it was either Englewood Speedway or Colorado National Speedway and then on Sunday it was Englewood Speedway or Lakeside Speedway.
In the fall of 1974 Joe bought his first camera with no thought of ever taking photos of race cars. He took the camera with him on a trip to Kansas City for a race at I-70 Speedway. Not knowing any better, he walked thru the back gate into the infield and shot some photos and then went back into the grandstand. He had no idea that he needed a pit pass to be in the infield.
Veteran race driver Don Woodard saw some of the photos he had taken and asked him to shoot some things for his business, Woodard Racing Graphics. He was taking many photos but was hesitant to actually speak to the people that he had photographed. He was helping Don Daly and Larry Keir at Englewood Speedway on Saturday nights. They literally forced him to speak with some of the drivers and show them the photos he had taken.
One of those drivers was Paul Garrison who was promoting the Erie Innovational once a year at Colorado National Speedway. Much to his surprise in 1980 Paul asked Joe to photograph the race because the regular photographer at CNS was not available for his race.
The photographer job at CNS became available for the 1981 season and George Butland called Don Woodard and asked if he knew anyone that could take on the job. Don sent Joe over to speak with George and he stared as the photographer at CNS in 1981.
As a result of his successful career, many of Joe’s images have been published in numerous racing related publications across the country, and as a result of that, he has been able to attend many national events including NASCAR, World of Outlaws, Indy Racing, USAC and many others to numerous to count.
In 1986 Gary Garrison asked Joe to help him with a radio show he was putting together to try and help secure some sponsorship for his race car. That has lead to doing radio off and on ever since with a multitude of people that continues to this day.
After getting many requests to view the images that he had taken on line Joe got together with Eric Guttormson and started Big West Racing in 2002. Their philosophy has always been to present a positive face to racing. Joe retired from the US Postal Service as an Operations Support Specialist in May, 2008 with 35+ years of service. At the 2010 Colorado National Speedway Banquet, the Speedway Officials inducted Joe into the Colorado National Speedway Hall of Fame.
Joe continues to gather images at Colorado National Speedway and many other racing venues and to provide local racing information to a variety of local and national media sources.
Born in 1943 in Denver, Colorado, Bill grew up in Central City, Colorado reading about the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Bonneville and Daytona and dreaming of winning those races. He purchased his first motorcycle at the age of 12, beginning a life-long love of motorcycles.
Bill began working as a machinist at Coors Porcelain in the mid-1960’s and building custom motorcycles for other enthusiasts. The experience at Coors Porcelain led to a position with Stuska Engineering, where he acquired additional fine machining skills and a working knowledge of dynameters. Always interested in motor racing as a spectator, Bill began drag racing in 1966 by building a turbine powered motorcycle. He spent a year in drag racing competition, becoming acquainted with John Bandimere, Jr. when John allowed him to do practice runs with the turbine motorcycle on the drag strip John’s family was building just east of Morrison.
In late 1966, Bill began working for Kurland Motors as a motorcycle mechanic. Bill and Shari later purchased the parts and service departments from Mr. Kurland combining business and a love of racing. Bill began racing both dirt and pavement locally and in 1969 began road racing a Yamaha TD2 250cc road racer. A passion for road racing led Bill and his family on numerous trips to Daytona Beach, FL, Road Atlanta, GA, Pocono Raceway, PA, Laguna Seca, CA, Sears Point, CA and Ontario, CA. Bill became the 250cc W.E.R.A. Midwest Roadracing champion in 1976.
Beginning in 1970, trips to the Bonneville Salt Flats for land speed record attempts became the family vacation for Bill, Shari and their boys. Bill rode both 250cc and 750cc motorcycles, setting a 750cc land speed record in 1975 of 191.203 mph, a record which still stands today.
Between road racing and trips to Bonneville, Bill enjoyed motorcycle dirt track racing at Colorado National Speedway, Rains Raceway and short track racing at Adams County Fairgrounds. Dirt track racing took Bill and his family to numerous events throughout Colorado and Kansas. Dirt racing was so popular in the 1970’s a rider could race on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night if the distance between races wasn’t too great. Bill finished his 1971 dirt racing year as the S.R.A.C. Scrambles Pro State Champion. In 1971 the Pikes Peak Hill Climb began inviting motorcycles to compete. Once again, Bill was there for the summer races in July and the winter races on New Year’s Day. Bill won the 125cc Pro Class in July 1971 and was the overall ‘first to the top’ winner in the New Year’s Day race in 1974.
An opportunity to buy out an existing motorcycle dealer in 1972 led Bill and Shari to open their own motorcycle dealership in southeast Denver that has grown to be one of the largest Yamaha dealerships in the country. Along with the new business opportunity came an interest in racing motocross and enduros so both Bill’s sons could compete as well. Bill raced motocross in the 125cc and open classes and won the Block and Tackle National Enduro in the Senior Class in 1990.
Mike started racing at in the sportsman division at Englewood Speedway in Denver, Colorado in 1978, quickly moving into Late Models. When Englewood Speedway closed, he raced at Colorado Springs International Speedway in Colorado Springs, until it closed in 1982.
He then decided that he would like to try dirt racing at Colorado National Speedway and I-76 in Fort Morgan. He was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award at CNS in 1984, and then received the “Hard Luck Award” in 1985. In 1986 members of GART –Grand American Racing Tour – approached him to race with them in an open show in Cheyenne. He took his dirt car chassis, changing things around to race asphalt, and ran with them for the last show of 1986, and then full time in 1987 and 1988 traveling to Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wyoming, finishing 3rd and 2nd in the points respectively.
In 1989, Colorado National Speedway was purchased by Jim Opperman, paved and Mike returned to CNS to run on a weekly basis. Having a dirt chassis, running pavement, at times was tricky, and he had to learn to “manufacture” his own parts to fit his needs. That, and a shallow pocketbook, made him learn all about driving and building racecars. With the help of local engine builders, he was also building his own motors. He finished 5th in the points in both 1989 and 1990. From 1996-1998 he raced the Southwest Tour and Re Max Challenge series at Pikes Peak International Speedway, Las Vegas Speedway, and Gateway International Speedway in St Louis Missouri.
Mike and Nancy opened Leary Racing Products in 1999 as a circle track parts store, thinking he would have time to race more and much to his surprise, it became busy very quickly, and he hasn’t raced since! Word of mouth spread rapidly, and we were discovered by those who race on dirt, on the drag strip, up mountains, and on road courses. Then the Hot Rod enthusiasts found them.
His “competitive juices” have now transferred to building custom shocks for all kinds of racing all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and even Europe, and has clients with over 900 championships running his set-ups, including a NASCAR Late Model Regional and an IMCA Modified National Champion. They have even seen downhill ski competitors, rock crawlers and ice racers!
Chris Blumke | Induction Ceremony Event Manager
Chris Blumke has been involved in planning meetings, producing décor for special events, and coordinating logistics for conferences within Denver and Colorado since 1972.
After working as a meeting planner in the financial services, oil and gas, and travel/tourism industry, she founded her own destination management company working with convention groups visiting Colorado, and then for the next 22 years, owned an event decorating company which became one of Colorado’s most notable design companies.
Chris was an original founder of the International Special Event Society; past president of Rocky Mountain Chapter of Professional Convention Management Association; and was a 10-year Board Member and Conference Chair for Colorado Festivals and Events Association.
She is recipient of the first Industry Leadership Award presented by the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado, and was inducted into the meeting industry Hall of Fame with the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Colorado Meetings and Events Magazine.
Chris has handled planning logistics for the CMHOF Induction Ceremony since 2014.