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View Full Version : Reminiscing... Colorado Springs International Speedway


GECCO
08-23-2009, 10:49 PM
First, thanks for the great site...I've really been missing ColoradoRacingMemories.com and can't understand why it went away, but maybe we can pick up where it left off.

I "grew up" at CSIS, just east of Colorado Springs. We moved to the Springs in late 76 and Dad took us out there in the summer of 77. He met Mike Bonicelli and soon became Mike's crew chief, we're all still good friends to this day.

CSIS was built a just off Hwy 94, a few miles east of Peterson Air Force Base as the replacement for Pikes Peak Speedway, which was right near Powers and Platte (Hwy 24). I believe it opened in 76 (maybe 75?) and closed at the end of the 1985 season when the land was sold to a land developer...Frank Aries(?)

Besides Mike, here's some names that come to mind and may bring back some memories for you...
Paul Garrison (59)
John Metcalf (26)
Larry Carnes (96)
Richard Nelson (34)
Glen Bowers (42)
Rick Carelli (6)
Dave Young (98)
Bob Howard (4)
Gay Smith (20)
Harry Smith (15)
Tom Greiner (7)
Walt Smith (36)
Curtis...Young? (had only one leg)
The Eckhoff (sp?) brothers...can't remember their first names
Art Walsh - flagman
Beck Bechtlheimer (sp?) announcer

We won a lot of late model races there, in 84 we won every main event we entered, Mike had the championship locked up with 2 or 3 weekends left and took the rest of the season off. Lots of good memories...you were supposed to be 16 to get into the pits, but by the time I was 11 or 12 I proved valuable enough that I was smuggled in almost every weekend. Of course, my main value was that I was the only one on the crew young/small/limber/dumb enough to climb through the roll cage and clean the inside of the rear window so Mike could see LoL

Some not so good memories - Mike's throttle stuck one night on the back straight and he went flying out of turn 3 into the parking lot, landing in the back window of a Mustang hatchback that was parked in the firelane. Mike broke some ribs and maybe a wrist(?). The race car was heavily damaged and the Mustang was a total loss.

Some bad memories - during an open comp race, I think in 82, Doyle Stogner also had a throttle stick and went out of turn one, hit two wreckers and also hit and killed a visiting crew member from Cheyenne.

I have lots of unscanned photos at my folks house in the Springs (I live in Byers - managing High Plains Raceway now) and will try to get some in digi format soon.

The track still exists. I don't know how old the satellite photos are on google, but I saw it with my own eyes a couple years ago when we flew out of the Colorado Springs Airport. I can't post pics until I have 10 posts (?) but here are some satellite photos (maybe the mods can edit this post to have them link?).

Close up. You can see the wall along the front straight, the two concession stands, and the cement pad between them was the restrooms. If I heard correctly all the grandstands went to Beacon Hill (now I-25 Speedway) just north of Pueblo.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v324/TheGECCO/CSISClose.jpg

A bit further away, you can see the pit area north of the track, the 1/8 mile dragstrip to the east, and the rarely used off-road course to the south.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v324/TheGECCO/CSISMedium.jpg

Here's another, just showing the location relative to Platte Ave and Hwy 94
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v324/TheGECCO/CSISFar.jpg

I always tell myself that one of these days I'm gonna sneak out there, take some pics and reminisce a little...it's hard to believe its been gone for 25 years...as someone who was involved in HPR from the ground up and now nursing it through its infancy, it seems surreal to think that someday our grandkids may be writing the same thing about it...

GECCO
08-24-2009, 10:55 AM
Thanks, Olen. Looks like they got me all certified so I added the code for the pics to my original post...now I REALLY wanna get down there! LoL

Olen McGuire
08-24-2009, 12:48 PM
That's great GECCO,I'll just delete mine out.Glad you can get them in.~Olen

Lynn
01-09-2010, 10:10 AM
The CSIS stands are at the dragstrip at Pueblo Motorsports Park.

I was in the stands the night Mike dive bombed the Mustang. I didn't know he was hurt that bad.

klarmie
09-05-2010, 06:40 PM
I too was there the night the race car went off turn three into the parking lot. I was one of the drivers in the Wasson High School Ford and then the Chevelle that competed in the roadrunner division.

davidj3594
09-18-2010, 08:53 PM
ive been to the springs a few times and never saw that is it far from the road

Mike511
11-16-2010, 04:35 PM
ive been to the springs a few times and never saw that is it far from the road

Here's a few pics from the mid 70's, it was a nice fast track with excellent racing!!

ctrservice
12-01-2010, 07:23 PM
I'm looking for someone to help me with info about this track, things such as current owner or past owners, and some racer history, circle track, drag strip, road course etc. I would like to put out a nice article about it and the history when in operation. Would appreciate the help and info given about this once great facility.
J.T.

Mike511
12-03-2010, 12:59 PM
I can give you some information, but the person to contact is Mike Bonicelli at Nevada Auto Sales in CO Spr. CO. He and his dad Joe built & owned the track from beginning to end. As I recall the Pikes Peak Stockcar Racing assoc. that ran the show at Pikes Peak Speedway 1/5 mile approached them to build a track because they wanted to run newer, faster cars on a larger track, then PPS would allow and they agreed. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hind sight maybe not! I would guess it opened in 74 or 75 and ran until mid 80's. Had some great open competition races, with the likes of Tom Refener, Jim Thurkettle, Roger Avantis, Don & Fritz Wilson, Wayne Stallworth, Odie Robertson, Ronny McDowell and many others (sorry for the misspelling of the names)!

I raced there one year in the #88 Nova http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3229&thumb=1 ('http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3229') and we won a championship with Mike Bonicelli's #8 Yeo Electric Camero car barely edging out Ronny McDowell #25 Mustang (2nd) & Dick Heikes #711 Camero (3rd), can't remember exact year maybe 75 or 76. It was, I believe, a 1/4 mile paved oval, they also had an 1/8 mile drag strip. I know Ray Daniels had at least one championship in the #80 Coors Light Mustang!

Great track to run at!!!

Mike511
01-10-2011, 07:15 PM
Here's some more CSIS pics I found...

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3419&thumb=1 ('http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3419') http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3416&thumb=1 ('http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3416') http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3414&thumb=1 ('http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3414') http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3410&thumb=1 ('http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3410') http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3409&thumb=1 ('http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=341&pictureid=3409')

kamikazeracin53W
07-14-2011, 11:00 AM
Just wanted to say thanks for everyone information and pictures of CSIS. When I grew I live just outside the old Pikes Peak Speedway. As a kid growing up my neighbor and his buddy ran 2 cars at CSIS, but it was so long ago I cant remember his name, the car, or the class. The thing I do remember is helping them wrench on the car, or cleaning up the car for the races. For all my hard work(cant belive it was much only being about 5-8 years old) they put my name on the car as crew memeber. I know it is a long shot, but just looking at all the old CSIS pictures for my name!! That was a memory I forgot about! Thanks again to everyone in helping get this information out here for us to find!!!

Jason Weber

webby
07-14-2011, 03:41 PM
Just wanted to say thanks for everyone information and pictures of CSIS. When I grew I live just outside the old Pikes Peak Speedway. As a kid growing up my neighbor and his buddy ran 2 cars at CSIS, but it was so long ago I cant remember his name, the car, or the class. The thing I do remember is helping them wrench on the car, or cleaning up the car for the races. For all my hard work(cant belive it was much only being about 5-8 years old) they put my name on the car as crew memeber. I know it is a long shot, but just looking at all the old CSIS pictures for my name!! That was a memory I forgot about! Thanks again to everyone in helping get this information out here for us to find!!!

Jason WeberJason welcome to Auto Racing Memories! I have certified your membership so now you have full privileges and you can post pictures if you want to. For tips on how to post images check out these instructional videos (http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25).

Looking forward to hearing more of your auto racing memories!

Tom D.
07-07-2012, 06:06 PM
I remember CSIS , I used to work for Mike bonicelli at nevada auto sale's and also used to turn wrench's on Geoff Day's #26 with Phil Messina as wheel man. I and Phil started over at PPS with a 56 ford #5x. Phil won rookie of the year but I don't remember what year that was. When Geoff sold his car and got out of racing and CSIS went NASCAR I became an official and Phil became a flagman. Those year's at PPS and CSIS were some of the best year's of my life. Wish I could go back in time to relive them again.

bigdavesr
08-04-2012, 03:30 PM
I ran street stocks for a couple of years. I too was there when mike bonnicelli went flying into the mustang.There were so many street stocks that showed up that we never got to time in.They lined them up by points. Made for some fine racing. Seems like there was as many as 40-45 stocks show up.When I was there Glen Bowers was winning most of the time.I owned my on car #2 and was sponsered by Earl Bailey auto salvage,where I also worked.We worked on our cars on saturday during working hours and Earl woul go down and get gas cans filled for my car and two of his cars. Then he would make three trips to the track to deliver the cars to the track with his wrecker, then he stayed and used his wrecker on the track. I remember the late afternoon thunder storms that woul leave a nice lake in the infield.I got spun out on turm 2 one night and earl came to get me with his wrecker, He made me get out of my car and wade through the mud and water to get the hook . some of the best time of mine and my familys life.

83x
08-05-2012, 12:53 AM
Found some Pic's

bmeigs
08-05-2012, 11:22 AM
Great pix 83x!
Especially the one with Heikes, Wilson, & Tom Reffner in the SuperAmerica AMC. Reffner ran off & hid from everyone that day if memory serves me.

83x
08-05-2012, 05:02 PM
Heikes got close there was a couple of times he might have passed Ruffner but by the end of the race his neck was killing him he could hardley hold his head up so he lost his concentration. In this picture thats him looking in the trunk of Ruffner car.

bmeigs
08-05-2012, 08:02 PM
Fascinating background info! Used to really enjoy those invitationals. Remember the year Larry Detjens came out and snatched the race away from Mike Opperman when Mike suddenly got caught behind a slow car in traffic? I think the slow car was #95, Gary something or other. I remember that right or wrong, Mike sure made no pretention about dumping him into the infield next lap.

83x
08-05-2012, 11:48 PM
Yea those were fun, just missed the first one finished 16th in one of the qualifers cut off was 15th. Remember hot lapping on the friday night just out there messing around Reffner blew by me had to check the car to see if it was still running if you know what i mean. Remenber that summer after Detjents won was when he was killed.

bmeigs
08-06-2012, 09:04 PM
I do remember hearing that in the wreck some part of a railing or barrier punched through the car & got him. Sure was sad news, whatever the cause. I seem to remember there was 2 years in a row when Bobby Allison came out. Bonicelli & Daniels outran him one year, and one year his motor blew. Wish I could remember the name of that young guy who furnished cars for both himself and Bobby.

83x
08-07-2012, 09:12 AM
Allison was the smoothest driver I ever saw.

Mike511
08-07-2012, 05:01 PM
Great pictures Bill, I remember those open comps very well, they were all part of a series that Bonicelli put together CSIS, Craig Road (Las Vegas), Saugus (CA), and Bakersfield (Ca), we ran Mike's #8 pink Circus Circus car and did fairly well.

83x
08-08-2012, 12:38 AM
When you were helping Mike did you know my brother in law Roger Otto
he use to haul Mike's car all over when he ran the southwest tour and
Winston West.

Mike Croley
02-16-2013, 01:25 PM
Some CSI race results.

Mike Croley
02-16-2013, 01:26 PM
The beginnings of CSI.

Mike Croley
02-16-2013, 01:34 PM
Race results from CSI.

Mike Croley
02-18-2013, 10:21 AM
Here's an article about the return of Dick Heikes after a long layoff.

JLD1948
03-02-2013, 11:10 PM
Found some Pic's

The 40 of Jim Davidson and Bob Howard's 89. At that time, mine was the only Mopar racing in Colorado Springs or Pueblo, although there were a few running at Englewood.

Mike Croley
03-03-2013, 07:06 AM
There weren't many MOPARS running in the area at that time, but the few that did were pretty quick. Hopefully you can share some photos of that car you raced at CSI Jim.

mooneytunes8
10-08-2014, 11:12 PM
Hi there! Saw your blog about CSIS! I was bored one day and decided to get on Maps and came across this track! Yesterday me and some friends went out there to check it out! We loved it! So many thoughts were going through our heads with this, but I have pictures of it for you! I'll post them as soon as I can!

beamer
10-12-2014, 10:56 AM
just registered I would like to hear from members that have memories of cdr I raced there in 1962 and 1963