Local Speedway Will Rev Your Engine
Published on February 01, 2021
By Baker Geist, Weld County Communications Specialist, Photos taken by Joe Starr and used courtesy of Colorado National Speedway.
In sports and in life, it’s not often possible to enjoy the best of both worlds. To excel at one thing, something else has to be sacrificed. Every once in a while, there is an example that bucks conventional wisdom.
The Colorado National Speedway — a 3/8 short-mile NASCAR sanctioned track in Dacono — is one of those examples. Quality racing, track enhancements and an experience that appeals to both the diehard and casual racing fan alike have kept the speedway a staple of entertainment in Weld County since 1965.
“It’s incredibly rare that a speedway or racing facility anywhere in the country will open and stay open in the same spot and running the same program that long,” said Brian Laurence, Colorado National Speedway Manager. “When the speedway opened it was the only thing out here.”
Evolving from a dirt track in ’65 which featured a one-mile oval surrounding a half-mile oval, to a paved surface in 1989, the speedway has continually met the demands of both fans and drivers to provide the highest quality racing possible. For example, just recently the track’s surface was completely repaved, resulting in better handling for the drivers and better races for the fans.
In addition to the enhancements made to the track over the years, the Colorado National Speedway has continually offered different styles of racing, designed to please followers of NASCAR while welcoming those who simply want to be entertained and see something they wouldn’t normally see.
“What we’re learning is that our crowd is split into two district groups: traditional race fans and people who are here just to be entertained,” Laurence explained. “They enjoy (traditional racing), but they want to see something more unique, and our goal is to provide a variety of entertainment.”
On a typical Saturday night, visitors will see three to five different kinds of vehicles race — traditional Super Late Model cars, Pro Trucks, Figure-Eight cars, tiny 5/8 scale replicas in the Legends Division, Demo-Cross races, small go karts with roll cages known as Bandoleros driven by kids aged eight to 15 and more. The speedway also hosts stand-alone events featuring monster truck events and North American Big Rig Races. Races are routinely between 25 to 30 laps, long enough to be exciting but not repetitive. Fans will see male and female drivers from Colorado, Wyoming and the western United States compete each week.
Colorado National Speedway Owner and Promoter Jim Nordhougen added: “In addition to hosting Northern Colorado’s best monster truck show, we also host SuperMoto, Drift competitions, car shows, and motorcycle events throughout the summer.”
For the diehard racing fan, Colorado National Speedway is a stop on the national K&N Pro Series and Whelen All-American Series tours — each of which showcase drivers attempting to advance to NASCAR’s three major national series. It’s not uncommon to see future stars as over the years several notable drivers have raced at the speedway including legends Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott and current stars such as Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth to name a few.
The fan experience is also heightened thanks to the intimate atmosphere of the speedway. Its small size means the whole track is visible from any seat. After the night’s final race is over, fans get another unique opportunity.
“After the evening’s final race concludes, we invite everyone to the pits free of charge, and the drivers are over there signing autographs and taking selfies. If you get the right driver at the right moment, he may let you sit in the car,” Laurence said. “This is one of the last few places in sports where heroes are still accessible.”
For those looking to do something different, Laurence recommends giving Colorado National Speedway an opportunity to provide an evening of affordable family entertainment that has created many memorable moments for more than 50 years.
“You get the feelings, the buzz that tingle on the back of your neck,” Laurence said. “There’s a reason that racing has been around forever. It is a competition spectacle that you feel. The noise, sights and sound; everything kind of hits you in the senses.”
For ticket information and to see a full schedule of events, visit http://www.coloradospeedway.com/.