Mike Starnes’ racing career began in 1970 at Detroit Dragway. He won a trophy for being the
only car in his class, and he still has the trophy. He also states that after seeing a Joey Chitwood
Thrill Show in San Antonio Texas, something clicked and he was hooked on driving fast!
Mike competed in Sports Car Club of America Road Racing events with a GT-1 Camaro from
1977 to 81. After moving to Colorado in 1982, he discovered the racing program at Lakeside
Speedway. He had two young daughters, and race days became a family affair as they roamed
the Lakeside amusement park until race time, then took to the stands to watch dad race
What unfolded in the coming years was most impressive, as Mike won five track championships
in ten years of competition. The Lakeside years led to 1987 and 88 Championships in the Pure
Stock Division. When Lakeside closed, Mike moved his racing program to Colorado National
Speedway and drove his way to the 1990 Super Stock title. He stepped up to the Grand
American Modified division next, and continued racing success with hard-won championships
in 1995 and 96. Mike then closed his racing career with a season in the Pro Truck Division at
Mike says of wife Marianne, who has been his biggest supporter: “without her, no racing”.
Mike is also quick to credit some great sponsors, as well as crew chiefs Lyle Ellsworth and Bill
Organ for their dedication and hard work over the years. He notes that Bill was a NASCAR Gold
Wrench Award Winner and cites him as the main reason for the success he had in Super Stock
and Grand American modified competition.
With his racing days now in the rear-view mirror, Mike’s favorite racing memories are the days (
of close competition with his racing buddy, Hall of Fame member Henry Rogers. Their on-track
racing exploits were heralded in a 1995 Stock Car Magazine article that described theirs as one
of America’s great racing rivalries. He says: “I would like to be remembered as a clean door to
door, wheel to wheel competitor that other racers could trust not to crash them, but was
always a threat to win”!
For his outstanding career accomplishments and remarkable competitive drive, Mike Starnes
will now also be remembered as a member of the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame, class of