It's the drag strips that have become special venues for John Muhr and his wife, Cheryl, and Jeff Andreen and his wife, Sherry. And it's almost like home for the two families at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison.
On both sides of the Muhr and Andreen families, the husbands have been involved in racing for much of their lives. As for the women, they've mostly become active on the track itself within the last dozen years.
John Muhr, 46, drives a 1978 Malibu, while Cheryl, 45, is quite happy in her 1967 Impala. John graduated from Mullen High School and from Fort Lewis College with a degree in communication. Cheryl graduated from University of California-Davis, also with a degree in communication and graphic arts.
John has been racing for 29 years. He has won several events over the years and has several top-10 finishes. Yet he has yet to win a season title over the years. He has won the Brackett Nationals and won a Chevy Cup race in 2012 at Bandimere.
“Why am I doing this? It's the rewards, the friendships and, of course, the competition,” John said. “I don't begrudge working under the car. There are some downsides and that's hard to say. But, we are blessed.
“Tim Schuster gave me a ride in his Chevy Nova,” he added. “Up until then, I had no real interest in car racing. Two weeks later I got into a race and I've always owned a Nova.”
John admits there is always a calculated risk in all things cars can do, and he is quick to note that anything can happen out on the track.
“It has been extremely rewarding for the amount of work you put in,” he said. “The travel here never surmounts what we have at work. Bandimere is the best facility we have ever stepped upon and the greatest class I've done. The risks fade, but you never know when things can happen.
“There are droughts in driving,” he continued. “You can go out and lose several times in a row, and every racer has to face that. As for our age, there are a lot of young drivers who are good out there. It's lose and go home. Getting drilled out here on the track is part of the furniture. ”
John and Cheryl have fun with names on the cars and their thoughts.
The name of the club team the Muhrs are in is called “Disorganized Grime.”
“The only plan is there is no plan,” John said. “It's rewarding when we win or place high, so really, we don't have a lot of complaints about our sport or how we have handled it as a family.”
And there is little doubt that Cheryl is into the sport of racing on a high note. “You can't cut the lawn or do the laundry at home and enjoy it like coming to race,” she said. “The camaraderie of all the drivers makes it seem like a vacation. It's family here at the track all the way. You do your burnouts and turnouts and we don't care who we race.
“If we knew who was going to win all the time we wouldn't race, no one would,” Cheryl continued. “If we're not doing well, we have friends who are doing well, and that's what makes it nice to know. We're honored, too, in that we won the Superman Award in 2013 and we were tongue tied.”
The Andreens, who reside in Westminster, are a super example of how age doesn't seem to make that much of a difference in drag racing, as Jeff is 71 and Sherry is 67. Jeff is at home in his 1996 Mercury, as is Sherry in her 1929 Ford Tudor competing in the Flathead Division.
“I married Jeff and he always was into racing,” Sherry said. “We love Flatheads. He has been racing just about his whole life, certainly since he got his driver's license. At first, it seemed he never would let me touch his race car. But one day, he signed me up for a race. I just couldn't sit and watch.
“I took first place in my first race 12 years ago and it really shocked me,” Sherry said with a chuckle. “I was the only women in the club and that made me feel kind of weird. We've retired, and in the summer we race for fun. It's just great fun and rewarding to go down to the track, and this is certainly a great group of people to be around. We really enjoy the camaraderie.”
As for a summer venture, Jeff said it couldn't be more nice and enjoyable.
“We've been together racing since 1996,” Jeff said. “Our group, the Flatheads, is an old style and we like to be out there for fun. I don't think we take it quite as serious as others. It's family. I won Flathead Inline four times over the years and Sherry was third last year.
“We used to do a lot more traveling, but it was expensive and we stay around Bandimere a lot more now,” said Jeff. “It's great to be around the other drivers and we've always found it to be worth our efforts.”
Harr wins in Fort Morgan
Bob Harr won the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association “A” Feature on June 21 at I-76 Speedway in Fort Morgan.
Rookie Midget driver Brad Hilton has set the pace for the field of cars to start the 16-lap “A” Feature. Scott Fennell took the charge at the start, but after one lap, Harr passed Fennell for the lead going into turn 4. Keith Rauch, starting in the fifth row inside, charged through the field and after two laps was challenging Harr for the lead.
Harr and Rauch were in their own world and were battling for the lead, which left the rest of the field challenging for positions. On the last lap going for the checkered flag, Rauch tried to pass Harr one final time. But at the finish line, it was Harr, Rauch, Tony Rossi, Fennell and Greg Schaefer rounding out the top five positions.