Fire and smoke were back at the Hayden Speedway this weekend. But the flames weren't from the alcohol burning engines of the IMCA modifieds and the smoke wasn't from the exhaust of a sport stock racer. It was the first work weekend at the speedway. and brush was being burned around the grandstand area.
"We're hoping to expand the seating area," Yampa Valley Auto Racing Association President Jaceson Van Grandt said as smoke curled around him.
"Overall, we want to make the track a more family-friendly place."
All five officers on the YVARA are new this year, and they have plans for what they want the speedway to represent this summer.
"Our attendance dropped last year," Van Grandt said. "There could be a lot of things that were a part of that, but we want to give the track a better overall image."
More grandstands, a lower price, more lights and an earlier starting time are a few new aspects for this summer.
Tickets have been reduced from $7 for adult and $3 for children ages 7 to 12, to $6 and $2, respectively. Adult season passes are available for $48.
Lights have been added around the track for better visibility and races will start 30 minutes earlier at 6:30 p.m.
Weeds, mosquitoes and underage drinking are three occurrences at the track that the new board hopes to reduce.
Arrangements have been made with the town of Hayden to spray for mosquitoes. Incr-eased security will be making the rounds to check on the drinking.
Sunday's burn was to help control the weeds.
"As a nonprofit organization, we're doing the best with what we're limited to," Van Grandt said. "We believe if we put on a good show (that) people will keep coming back."
Ten races are on the schedule this summer, which is an increase from eight.
There will be two back-to-back weekends of racing and the speedway will host its first demolition derby on the race night of July 23.
Changes have also been made to the divisions. The former four-cylinder street stock classification has been divided into two classes. The mini stock division is the four-cylinder class for beginning racers. The ultra mini classification is for the advanced four-cylinder races.
The V8 street stock and super street divisions are unchanged, as is the IMCA modified classification. The late-limited models are scheduled to compete in half of the races offered at the track this summer.
With three racers on the board -- Van Grandt, Earl "Tank" Hammond (vice president) and Scott McKinney (public relations) -- the board has experience in the pits and on the track.
"We know the racer's point of view," said Van Grandt, who was the track champion in the street stock class last year. "Now, we're on the other side of that, too."
Other officers on the board are treasurer Amy Haptonstall and secretary Jayna Hammond.
Registration for the season can occur until race day. For more information about the speedway and the season, call Van Grandt at 826-1652 or McKinney at 824-4758.