"Rocky Mountain high, in Colorado…" sings John Denver. We definitely got our taste of what he was talking about. We stayed in Fort Collins for almost three weeks traveling north into Wyoming for a few dirt races and to the two tracks, one spoken of in last month's story and one featured in this issue. In between those weekends, we were able to explore.
I-25 Speedway lies along the I-25 corridor (duh huh) shown in the background lined with bi
I tell most people who ask, "How does it feel being gone from home for four months like we were this year and will be next year?" I say it feels like we're always on vacation and always working. The responsibility and the detachment from everything that is familiar, is always there.
Nonetheless, we do get out on our mid-week days off, having worked the entire weekend most weeks, and hit the back roads. I have a Jeep Wrangler we tow behind the motorhome and it comes in handy for back road, mountain trail driving. When we visited the Vail area, we found a third unpaved pass, across the great divide, that runs from the small town of Red Cliff over to I-70.
We ran the loop past Vail and Beaver Creek through the Glenwood Canyon on I-70, then down Route 82 past Aspen and through 12,000-foot Independence Pass. Then on to Leadville, the highest town in the U.S. and back to our stopping point in Frisco where we took a few days off while the bus was being serviced.
I can see why many people desire to move out here. The summers are very mild and the winters are very white. But we have work to do, so let's get going to the races. Just down interstate 25 about 120 miles lies I-25 Speedway, aptly named. Beyond that we travel farther down I-25 to Albuquerque and the NAPA Speedway, at what was previously known locally as Sandia Motorsports Park.
I-25 is located just north of Pueblo, Colorado, and is fairly remote. In fact, if you look around, you don't see much of any civilization. Nonetheless, racers do come here and love the place.
We were welcomed with this signage attached to one of the race cars. Everyone was excited
Note the used tires now being put into service as canopy weights. Half the tread is worn o
At many of the tracks we visited, we found some very nice examples of 1980s vintage cars.
On exiting the interstate, we turned left and carefully drove through a short, tunnel pass under the highway. The only way I knew the rig would fit was to watch big rig race trailers go through. Just on the other side was the speedway.
Perry White is the promoter here and is helped by his brother, Randall. They purchased the track 11 years ago as a project and have been putting their sweat equity into it ever since. It was extremely clean and the concession areas were all paved and had everything the fans would need.
My next door neighbor, Aaron Paulsen examines a new NecksGen head-and-neck restraint. He r
It's a track that is slightly larger than a quarter-mile with high banks. There was a good car count on this September Saturday night and I had quite a few talks with the racers. Our motorhome was allowed to park in one of the racers spots, so we were right there among our readers.
I saw wide use of head-and-neck restraints here. I was showing off a new version of the NecksGen device to a few of the drivers. One girl who was driving in a four-cylinder class really liked it. It seemed to fit very well for her and she showed it to her crew chief/father.
I had offered to loan it to them to use that night, but he deemed it too time consuming to fit to her helmet. I was disappointed. Heck, it takes maybe 10 or 20 minutes to fit one of these, but a lifetime to get over losing a child. Let's see, what choice should I make? Fortunately, she did not crash and therefore did not need protection, but the point is, it could have happened.
A few racers were well prepared for our visit having read all about our Tour and seeing that I-25 was on the schedule. So, Mike Bible scanned our CT logo and put in on one of the Sportsman cars.
The classes that run here during the season are the Super Late Models, Grand American Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Hornets, Charger Figure 8s, Legends, and CARC Vintage Modifieds. There were 79 entries on this night and a surprisingly large number of spectators.
The racers who frequent I-25 are really attached to the place. Not that that is a rarity, but some places seem to feel more like that than others. Maybe it is the small community attitude or the remoteness of the track, but something good was going on here and I could feel it in the air.
We really felt welcomed here and enjoyed all of the racing. The next morning we awoke ready to make the long awaited trip down to New Mexico and NAPA Speedway.
NAPA Auto Parts has become the title sponsor for the facility that used to be called the S
Although we came to see the stock cars run at NAPA Speedway, located just west of downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, there was so much more. Part of our effort and the goals of this tour involve studying racetrack promotion and management. We like to observe how tracks are run, if they are successful or not and why, and what that has to say to other tracks for educational purposes.
NAPA has a lot to say. Actually, this is a motorsports park and the NAPA paved oval is just one part of that. On this day, no less than four motorsports events were taking place. Overall, there are 10 different motorsports events possible at the Motorsports Park. Let's count them. They have stock car racing, with separate dirt and asphalt tracks, drifting on the asphalt track, motocross racing, road racing for vintage cars, motorcycles and karts, sand drags, a flat track, a quarter-midget asphalt track, a mud boggin' course, and an RC track all in one facility.