Comin' at ya

Hayden Speedway continues to bring home-grown racing to the Yampa Valley


If there was ever a place for sensory overload it would be at the Hayden Speedway.

The rumbling of engines thumps the eardrums, the smell of alcohol from the engines and beer cans tickles the nose hairs and the constant circling of suped-up stocks dizzies the eyes.

Racing at Hayden has been around since the early '60s and has provided a weekend hobby for a couple of generations of Craig drivers.

"I would say 60 to 70 percent of the people out here are from Craig," said Justin Gallegos, president of the Yampa Valley Auto Racing Association. "There are a lot of race teams that have been here a while and it is a big family event with fathers, brothers, husbands, wives, cousins and sisters all getting involved."

Gallegos is a perfect example of one who has deep roots in the Hayden Speedway. His father-in-law Dan Stahl was a president of the YVARA and races against Gallegos in the Pro Stock division and his wife, Vicki, is the two-time defending champion in the super truck division.

At each event there are three opportunities in which drivers can race. The night begins with the heat races, followed by the trophy races and finally the main races.

On Saturday, the YVARA prepared the track for the fourth event of the season, Sport Stock Shoot-out. The guests of honor for the night were the smaller sport stock vehicles, most of which were VW Beetles.

"Sport stock had a great turnout with nine cars," said Scott McKinney, the public relations director of YVARA. "For next time, I've been told, we are going to have three more cars so that is great for the class and the race track."

McKinney raced in the sport stock class on Saturday but in the trophy race, his white VW decided to test the strength of the guardrail and won the battle. The guardrail broke and the large tractor tire stationed to brace the rail was knocked 15 feet from the track. Needless to say, McKinney had to end the night prematurely with his battered Bug.

In five of the six classes on Saturday the main heat winners were from Craig. Additionally all of the drivers who won the main heat also won the trophy race.

Craig winners were Drew Muzik, sport stock; Phil Goodwin, super street; Joel Heinschel, super truck; Justin Gallegos, pro stock; and Jeremy Leuck, in IMCA modified.

"The season is on the rise with constant gains and positive feedback," Gallegos said. "With help from local sponsors and a lot of hard work from the board members, the track is gaining a reputation for an improving facility that is better for the drivers."

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