The roar of drag-race engines will go silent in Morrison in October when Bandimere Speedway closes for good, in part because drag racing and residential development aren’t always a good mix.
With the burgeoning residential development in the area, the Bandimeres are planning to sell their property along C-470 and find a new location in the metro Denver area, according to John Bandimere Jr., the speedway’s chief spiritual officer, who released a video message on April 21 on the closure plan.
“We are prepared to surrender the location we have called home for six decades,” Bandimere Jr. said.
Morrison Mayor Chris Wolfe said he was excited for the next chapter for the Bandimere family.
"Of course, they will be greatly missed, and they have been a wonderful neighbor to the town.," Wolfe said. "We wish them the best on their 65th anniversary of racing."
According to Bandimere Jr., John Bandimere Sr. and his wife Frances opened the racetrack originally in Arvada in 1956 as an expansion of their automotive machining and auto parts business and to provide “a place for people, especially for young people, to enjoy the speed and performance of the automobile and to get off the streets.”
In 1958, because of neighbors' concerns in Arvada, the Bandimeres moved to what at that time was a remote area west of Denver against the hogback. Fast forward to 2023, and again, the venue is looking for a new home to allow drag-race enthusiasts to continue to enjoy the sport.
“As we close this chapter, our family is taking the time to reflect on the hundreds, maybe thousands, of memories on Thunder Mountain, and they are great memories,” Bandimere Jr. said. “Our relationships with employees, racers, sponsors, sanctioning bodies, guests and service providers will remind us daily of what a privilege it’s been for my family to continue the legacy started by my parents.”
He said knowing how the Rooney Valley has grown, the family has been proactively looking for another location for about a year.
“Much the same as in 1956, the opportunity for a multi-use facility for drag racing is providing an exciting opportunity for our family, though a stressful one,” he said.
In 2021, the Bandimeres began the process with Jefferson County to rezone the 136-acre Speedway property to significantly increase what the property could be used for including commercial and mixed-use residential developments. The proposed ODP would limit residential development on the site to a maximum of 400 units and contain triggers requiring retail development before commercial development could take place.