On a bright spring morning, with a freshly signed contract in hand, I stood at turn 8 staring at an empty racing facility. The pit and paddock were dotted with a diverse array of healthy desert weeds. The buildings, all a colorless, pure white had clearly not seen a fresh coat of paint in many years. The racetrack was quiet. It appeared so forlorn; deserted even. As the wind bit at my cheeks and pierced my jacket, I stared at this lonely place, with an uneasy feeling growing in my stomach. My mind began to race. Rebuilding this place will be no small undertaking… had I really just signed a contract to take over full responsibility of this motorsports park? In April of 2021, the City of Pueblo and I entered into an agreement where I would take over full management of this racing facility. This was a good time to remind myself, ‘Change only happens at the end of your comfort zone.’ As I stood there feeling as though I had passed the end of my comfort zone a few mileposts back, thoughts of warm summer days entered my thoughts. I could see the paddock area full of cars and trailers, racers thundering down the track, friends laughing, and families out enjoying this hidden gem of a facility. That is the moment where I chose to commit fully to this track and to the motorsport enthusiasts who enjoy it so much. Pueblo Motorsports Park has been a bit of a local secret among high performance driving enthusiasts in Southern Colorado; located just outside of the Pueblo metro area. 

Despite their proximity to such a facility, many Coloradans are unaware of what the Park has to offer them. Those in the know from Colorado and northern New Mexico enjoy a multitude of events across many disciplines ranging from a 2.2 mile road course, a quarter mile drag strip, a rallycross course, dirt circle track racing, quarter midget racing, and motocross park, all held on-premises at one facility; you can truly find everything you could want to race out here in Pueblo. The first formal racing facility in Pueblo was built by Carl Mismac and his partners back in 1946. This facility enjoyed nearly 20 years of glorious racing prior to closing in 1963. After this original facility closed, local die-hard racers sought areas to continue developing amateur and professional racing in Colorado, which led them to a property now known as the Honor Farm. In 2001 the city of Pueblo purchased 2,200 acres of the Honor Farm property from the State of Colorado.

As a condition of the acquisition, the State required the City to implement a conservation easement on the property, which permanently limits the use of property to recreational uses that preserve it. A master plan was adopted by the City Council which identified the different recreational uses that would be allowed to take place on the property and fit the conservation easement; Fortunately for all of us enthusiasts, motorsports was determined to be one of them. Since the plan was put in place, the City of Pueblo (and specifically its Parks and Recreation department) have been extremely supportive of the park. With the future of the property’s zoning secure, and the support of our local government, we have set lofty, long-term goals for the facility with minimal concern of losing the land to ever encroaching development, which has either threatened or cost the Colorado performance driving community several tracks in the last few decades.

Of course, no long-term dreams can come true without strategic short-term goals backed by solid fundamentals. From 2001 up to 2021 the City has struggled with several different managers, and in 2021 the City sought new management by sending out requests for proposals. By the time I was aware of the request, there was only one day left to submit before the deadline!! With the help of Andrew DeJesus, one of our driving instructors with NASA, we put together the best proposal we could muster. After several interviews with the Parks and Recreation department, the Honor Farm Board, and Pueblo city counsel we reached an agreement to manage the drag strip as well as the road course, and it was off to the races so to speak! Even when I assumed management of the property, Pueblo Motorsports Park was already poised to be one of the finest racing facilities in Colorado. Its fully sanctioned NHRA quarter mile drag strip hosts a variety of events, ranging from large weekend events which draw thousands of spectators from all over the state, to local Friday night drag racing over the summer months, drawing hundreds out nearly every Friday for a night of fun. In addition, the facility prides itself on its 2.2 mile road course loaded with the perfect mix of challenges; The track contains increasing and decreasing radius corners, some of which produce incredible grip with a high degree of camber and off camber corners which test a driver’s patience. The track balances high speed, thrilling corners with slow, tight hairpins, and of course high speed straight sections, coming together to create a very engaging road course. Taken in conjunction with the high performance driving events hosted by NASA, a driver can learn every necessary high performance driving skill at Pueblo Motorsports Park. The facility also has a quarter midget track where youngsters can get an early start in motorsports. Large investments have also been made to the infrastructure of the property. Among some of these items have been long needed maintenance to the concession building and restrooms, timing and scoring system, the race tower, the pit and paddock, and certainly the drag strip and road course. A great facility is one key component of a great racetrack, but without an experienced staff to bring the various experiences we offer to life, it’s just a piece of land in Pueblo. Luckily, Pueblo Motorsports Complex draws from a deep well of passionate staff to realize its potential, and deliver racers and spectators both a great time while on our grounds.

Safety is our primary concern; Pueblo Motorsports park owns its own ambulance and fire equipment, which is always on site. We are thrilled to have Matt Kelly head up our safety crew as one of the finest EMT’s in Colorado. He has been in the fire service for 26 years and obtained his EMT before he even received his high school diploma! Matt’s son Alex, (who is also a first responder), is our ambulance driver. Marshalls keep the action going safely and seamlessly. Gerry McFarland, one of the original founders of the quarter midget track, joins us with an extensive race history, including being one of Pueblo’s first high school drag racing champions, as our head marshal. He is a fully certified Formula 1 corner marshal ` who knows the business as well as anyone in the country, and passes his expertise along by recruiting and fully training our corner workers. John Brandow oversees operations at the track as our track manager; John has been in the racing business since the 90’s, having worked for the famed Skip Barber racing school for many years at Lime Rock Park as well as what is known today as Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca. He has also worked in pro-racing team ranks in the Pirelli World Challenge. John is also a group leader for high performance driving at NASA Rocky Mountain, which enables us to offer a unique partnership that benefits amateur drivers by making the first-time experience much less daunting, and more fun through excellent organization and instruction, and a structured learning curriculum. Pueblo Motorsports Park brings newcomers to the sport in proper fashion, and welcomes back veteran drivers with the diversity of high caliber events that we offer. For road course enthusiasts, open lapping days on summer weekends give drivers the chance to come to the track and drive to their heart’s content, often sanctioned by a multitude of local car clubs or professional organizations like NASA. Our Friday night drags are an excellent place for drivers to get exposure to quarter mile drag racing, and we have drag racing experts Donny Andrade and Dave Gauger on hand to advise amateur drag racers as they develop within the sport. Even as a spectator, one can enjoy the sounds and smells of fast cars for many hours, and the concession stand serves up some fun with excellent food. 

With everything Pueblo Motorsports Park has to offer, truly the only thing missing is you. As one of Colorado’s hidden gem racing facilities, we look forward to showing you what we have to offer as a racer or a spectator at one of our various upcoming events, which are available at the park’s website at www.racepmp.com. When you arrive you can count on Crystal’s smiling face to greet you at the gate!

About Dan: Dan is the current Regional Director for NASA Rocky Mountain region and manages Pueblo Motorsports Park. Dan, a native of Steamboat Springs, competed with the U.S. Ski Team during the 90’s, including two World Championship teams in 1991 and 1993. He met his wife who was attending high school in Switzerland at that time. Concluding his skiing career, Dan returned to education and attended medical school in Denver. Dan sat in a race car for the first time at age 44 and was immediately hooked. Since then, he became a 2-time national champion with National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and raced in the Pirelli World Challenge, earning a podium spot at Circuit of the Americas. In 2021, he raced the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 cup.