Dirt track racing series comes to Hayden

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While Dustin and Casey Atchley feel at home when they race at the Rocky Mountain National Speedway in Denver, they feel like stars when they race elsewhere.

"We decided to travel a bit this summer because we don't get hyped at the RMNS," Dustin said. "It works out pretty sweet when we come to tracks as the main attraction."

The couple race for Gone West Dirt Track Racing, and this summer the group is putting on a six-race series called the Western State Shootout. On Saturday, eight of the series' stock cars are the main attraction scheduled at Hayden Speedway.

"Bringing different groups to the track is a gift to the fans," Yampa Valley Auto Racing Association President Justin Gallegos said.

The cars in the Western State Shootout are street-legal cars with minimal changes.

"I race an Oldsmobile Cutlass, and my wife races in a Buick Regal and they are pretty much cars you would see on the street," Atchley said. "Our vehicles are about as pure to stock as you can get."

The shootout will join all the regulars at the speedway for the Open Invitational, which starts about 7 p.m. Saturday at the speedway.

"Since our cars are all similar a lot of the winning comes from driving ability," Atchley said. "I think the fans will appreciate the talent of our drivers."

The Junior Fan Club will have a chance to receive even more prizes Saturday. Atchley said that his series would bring some shirts and other goodies.

"We pride ourselves in carrying a good persona for the fans," he said. "We're also traveling to tracks to help with car counts and fan count. We'll bring about 30 to 40 fans with us to the Craig area."

Atchley said Hayden was chosen because "it's one of the favorite tracks among the drivers in Denver." He said he had also heard good things from Rich Martin, a sponsor of his who won a championship at the track in the '90s.

This appearance will be the third for the racers of the Shootout this year.

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