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Race Tracks Everyone has their favorite race track(s) growing up as a kid. In this forum you can discuss your favorite old race track. Make sure to title your new thread with the name of the race track.



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Old 02-26-2012, 07:01 PM   #1
Jerry Lee
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Default Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.

I'm starting this thread in hopes of learning more about the history of one of my favorite tracks, Colorado National Speedway. Any photos, memories, corrections, or facts you can add would be great.

As I understand it, C.N.S. started out in 1965 as little more than a smoothed dirt oval carved out of a large cornfield near the town of Erie, CO. In fact, many of the old timers always referred to the track as just "Erie" instead of it's given name. George Butland had a lot to do with C.N.S.'s early dirt years, but I don't know all the details.

Larry Dechant was president of the Rocky Mountain Stock Car Racing Association in 1965 and moved the club from Englewood Speedway to C.N.S. to start racing Late Model stock cars. At the time, C.N.S. was the only track in the area running these type of cars on the oval.

In it's first 23 years as a dirt track, the oval took on many different configurations until 1989 when Jim Opperman bought the facility and reconstructed it into a 3/8 mile paved oval. He also added an "X" through the infield to host Figure 8 racing. Colorado National has since grown into one of the premier racing facilities in the country.

Although C.N.S. originally started running Late Models, over the last 47 years the track has hosted numerous divisions for race fans to enjoy. Just about anything with wheels has made it's way around the C.N.S. oval at one time or another. Unfortunately, a few drivers have lost their lives on the track as well, notably Sam Sauer in 1978 and Tony Balzano in 1983.

No longer just known as "Erie", the track now sits in the town of Dacono. For many years there was nothing for miles around the race track, but recently, it's like you never leave the city when driving out to the facility as urban sprawl has swallowed up the vacant land. You can now see housing within eyeshot of the grandstands, and I hope and pray that Colorado National Speedway doesn't someday soon have the same fate that so many other great Colorado race tracks have met.

Let's take a look back at some great moments in C.N.S. history.....


(Irwin Fogel collection)




(J.L. McGuire collection) 1968 C.N.S. ad from the Tri-State Auto Show program.




(Irwin Fogel collection)




(credit unknown) The legendary Jim Malloy wheels this #19 Edsel around C.N.S.'s dirt
oval in the mid-'60's.




(Beans Alexander collection) Leo Tucker #154 leads Beans Alexander #254 around the turn
in 1967 action.




(J.L. McGuire collection) A July 4, 1987 aerial of Colorado National Speedway.

Last edited by Jerry Lee; 02-26-2012 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.


(Irwin Fogel collection) The fans really got their money's worth with this 1967 pile up.




(Irwin Fogel collection)




(Don Fleming/Bam-Bam collection) Don Fleming #39 in battle during '60's action.





(Paul Andersen collection) Check out that dirt piled infield in this 1967 Paul Andersen win!

Last edited by Jerry Lee; 02-26-2012 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.


(J.L. McGuire collection) Paving begins at C.N.S. in the Spring of 1989.




(J.L. McGuire collection) A freshly paved Colorado National begins a new era in 1989.




(Joe Starr photo) The old officials booth from the early '90's.




(J.L. McGuire collection) A mid-'90's aerial photo of the track.

Last edited by Jerry Lee; 02-26-2012 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.


1968 CNS Program
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.

I believe Gene Heffley was the first owner. Also owned (sponsored??) a car Sam Sauer and Jim Smith drove at Lakeside. The track will always be"ERIE". No offense to Dacono.
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Lee View Post

(Don Fleming/Bam-Bam collection) Don Fleming #39 in battle during '60's action.
The number 87 car was owned by the Montgomery brothers, Ronald and Rick, the driver was their uncle Dwayne Montgomery. It was a pretty quick car and a solid runner. They pitted next Dennis Smith, Dennis had two cars, Dennis drove #88 and Jim (?) drove #188, #88 was a new build and #188 had been Smith's F-8 car at Englewood, this was about 1965-66.



"Stay tuned for the greatest spectacle in racing" ~ Sid Collins

LAKESIDE - Late at night by the old Lakeside Speedway, you can hear the ghosts - The barking, crackling "Flathead Fords", the zinging "Chevy Stove Bolt's", The rumbling of the "KK-Offy's", and the snarling "Ford V8-60's". Listen and faintly hear the announcer say, "Ladies and gentlemen, the line up for the trophy dash," and the place would erupt with the mix echoes of cheers and boo's...Remember...
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.

Quote:
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Let's take a look back at some great moments in C.N.S. history.....


(Irwin Fogel collection)
Bob Couch also raced a 1954 Buick Special #17, Jim Binkley was also with Bob as was I, our friendship went back several years, another close friend of our threesome to make a foursome was Larry Ginardi who owned and drove #3. Bob's Buick was very innovative for the time, it was strong runner for only having a 322 Buick V-8. Bob had to take #171 as he didn't renew his #17 in time. Bob passed away a number of years ago.
Quote:

(credit unknown) The legendary Jim Malloy wheels this #19 Edsel around C.N.S.'s dirt
oval in the mid-'60's.
Jim Malloy was a friend of mine. Most everybody around Metro-Denver remembers Jim from Lakeside, and running super modifieds, and then on to Indy to run in the 500. This #19 car, a 1958 Edsel Ranger was owned and built by Gene Hefley. This is the car that lapped the main event field twice in a 50 lap main event. And that raised some eyebrows, I was stand behind the back-stretch fence when he got the checkered flag and rolled to the infield for the race to be completed, you should have been there.



"Stay tuned for the greatest spectacle in racing" ~ Sid Collins

LAKESIDE - Late at night by the old Lakeside Speedway, you can hear the ghosts - The barking, crackling "Flathead Fords", the zinging "Chevy Stove Bolt's", The rumbling of the "KK-Offy's", and the snarling "Ford V8-60's". Listen and faintly hear the announcer say, "Ladies and gentlemen, the line up for the trophy dash," and the place would erupt with the mix echoes of cheers and boo's...Remember...
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas E View Post
This #19 car, a 1958 Edsel Ranger was owned and built by Gene Hefley. This is the car that lapped the main event field twice in a 50 lap main event.
Didn't all those '58 Edsels have that "Tele-Touch" automatic transmission in them?? (with the push-buttons in the middle of the steering wheel) Or were some of them standard??

Thanks for the info on some of the cars, Thomas!
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Lee View Post
Didn't all those '58 Edsels have that "Tele-Touch" automatic transmission in them?? (with the push-buttons in the middle of the steering wheel) Or were some of them standard??

Thanks for the info on some of the cars, Thomas!
Right about the "Tele-Touch" push button system. The lesser dressed out Edsel Ranger models and the 2-door wagons and the delivery style station wagon had a column shift.

#19 Edsel had a floor shift. The building of it was well though out and it was a well built car.

In the Metro-Denver area I remember seeing a 1957 Ford Ranchero with a 1958 Edsel front end, it looked sharp.



"Stay tuned for the greatest spectacle in racing" ~ Sid Collins

LAKESIDE - Late at night by the old Lakeside Speedway, you can hear the ghosts - The barking, crackling "Flathead Fords", the zinging "Chevy Stove Bolt's", The rumbling of the "KK-Offy's", and the snarling "Ford V8-60's". Listen and faintly hear the announcer say, "Ladies and gentlemen, the line up for the trophy dash," and the place would erupt with the mix echoes of cheers and boo's...Remember...
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Colorado National Speedway - Dacono, CO.

Here are just a few local greats who did time at C.N.S......


(Stallsworth collection/Photo by John Verhoeff) Wayne Stallsworth's good looking
'73 Mustang in 1973.




(Scott & Cindy Wilson collection) Fritz Wilson making laps in 1980.




(Archie Johnston collection) Larry Dechant's 'Shagnasty' '57 Chevy in the late '60's.




(J.L. McGuire collection) Lee Stogsdill brought his Figure 8 out to the C.N.S. dirt
oval in 1976.




(Photo by Jerry Lee McGuire) Joe Lehman #6 and Bob Land #99 racing down the
C.N.S. backstretch.
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