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Silverman: Bandimere Speedway is a rush, but coronavirus has us on the verge of crashing

This coronavirus is getting old. So is staying home. Summer adventures in metro Denver are hard to find. But I found new thrills last Wednesday evening at Bandimere Speedway.

I’d seen Bandimere’s lights and grandstand my whole life, but never partaken. The ticket taker asked if I was there to race or spectate. Say what? How cool is that? For $35, I could race! For $15, I could spectate. I paid the 15 bucks. Maybe next time.

I’ve never thought a lot about auto racing. Now, I’d like to bring my boys to Bandimere and have them race each other. I may race my wife! I went home and watched Ford vs. Ferrari. Loved it.

Craig Silverman

Bandimere Speedway is massive and awesome nestled against the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Nothing on Wednesday night made me fear coronavirus. I was outdoors. 

There were only a couple hundred spectators. Down below, on the track, I saw cars, trucks and motorcycles drag-race each other. I’d never witnessed a motorcycle race against a truck.  But now I have. It was fun to watch. And hear. The action was non-stop.

Over the din, the track announcer kept telling people to maintain social distance. There were plenty of handwashing and sanitizer stations. 

I was introduced to John Bandimere III, better known as Sporty. He could not have been nicer as we wore masks and conversed outside. This pandemic has been brutal on Bandimere Speedway. Sporty told me the PPP money (between $350,000 and $1 million) was insufficient.

That speedway’s a big facility to run and maintain. Bandimere relies on the Mile High Nationals, which just got postponed again. These smaller Wednesday amateur event nights are not enough.

Most Coloradans have been financially damaged, but the travel industry, restaurateurs, theater owners and pro sports are getting hammered.

There’s a court battle raging between Jeffco Public Health and Bandimere following its Fourth of July racing and fireworks event, well reported by Rick Sallinger. Some media misreport the Jeffco temporary restraining order had limited crowd size to 175 people. But it was a limit of 175 people per activity area.  

There are many activity areas at Bandimere.  Regardless, when 7,500 people showed up, some starting line grandstands looked crowded. Judge Tamara Russell will decide the court case by July 21.  

This coronavirus is like a broken bone. It takes time and casting to get better. We need another cast. We can’t take that cast off early. Parts of America opened too soon. The cast must go back on and stay until the bone heals. America is set back. Right now, we need closures and mask mandates.

That’s the view of Dr. Anthony Fauci. Chuck Woolery disagreed and called the pandemic a hoax. President Donald Trump went with Woolery over Fauci. Why follow science when you can follow a TV host? 

Trump’s base has now heard, and therefore believes, that COVID-19 will disappear, is a hoax by the Dems, that masks are worn to disrespect POTUS and shutdowns are a leftist plot to destroy capitalism by pretending a pandemic still exists.

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

These arguments resonate with the Bandimere side of the case. Rick Sallinger watched the Jeffco hearing and reported on my podcast (at 2:07:38) the Trumpian arguments made by Bandimere’s lawyer. 

John Bandimere Jr. recently stated on Denver’s Trump station, “My prayer is that people wake up to the fact that this is no longer a pandemic. Randy (Bandimere’s lawyer) pointed it out so well. In Jefferson County, the truth of the matter is 94% of all deaths in Jefferson County are from age 60 and older.” 

Hey! That’s my age. And what about the spread?

There was zero pushback in that interview. Bandimere is a station sponsor and vice versa. The station sponsored Bandimere’s July 4 fireworks show. Rather than discuss superspreading such as occurred at Trump’s Tulsa rally, the Trumpster host touted the Bandimere GoFundMe page (over $48,000 as of Sunday), and then laid out numerous Trumpian conspiracy theories. 

The morning host proclaimed Jeffco’s enforcement action was sneaky, unethical (spies, rats, weasels and snitches); controlled by Jared Polis, Deep Colorado and Deep Jeffco. The aim, the host claimed, is to persecute the Bandimeres for who they are, and what they believe. 

The truth (science) of the matter is we can’t have crowds of 7,500 this summer at Bandimere if we want our kids to attend school this year. No more mass rallies on the left, either. The crisis is too severe. Businesses must shut down to recover. Trump decided to spectate, and throw catcalls from the grandstand. We should follow our better leaders

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

This coronavirus course is long, dangerous and requires our full attention.  America is on the edge of crashing. Numbers don’t lie. Neither does testing. However, as made clear under the determined questioning of Chris Wallace, Donald Trump still can’t stop lying about this pandemic. 

I’d like to return to Bandimere, but none of us should act as if the pandemic is over. This race against coronavirus is a drag. It is certainly not a rapid drag race. We are in an endurance event. Patience is a virtue. America cannot much longer endure the disastrous path being driven by Team Trump.


Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA who also has worked in the media for decades. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun. He practices law at the Denver law firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C. and is host of The Craig Silverman Show podcast.


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