Mud doesn't slow Hayden racers

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If someone left the Hayden Speedway Saturday without any mud on them, they were the minority.

The racing for the Speedway's Invitational races was sandwiched between two rainstorms. When a dirt track and rain mix it makes for a muddy night. For many it was a muddy, fun night.

"The fans definitely got their six bucks worth," said Yampa Valley Auto Racing Association President and track flagger Jaceson VanGrandt. "The ones who had a chance to help us with their trucks were a big help."

Anybody with a truck was invited on the track to help pack the mud after the first rain. The packing, which turned into a mudding derby, took 45 minutes.

Rain had already moved the races back a week, so after a delay of one week and 45 minutes the Invitational was on.

Tires came out spinning and spitting mud during the heat races. By the time the main events started, the track was "tacky" and packed down.

H.D. Craig appreciated the track conditions. He won both the heat and main races in the IMCA Modified races.

"It helps the track to have some moisture because it tacks up and keeps you down on the corners," he said.

Craig and his crew replaced the rear suspension on his 3-year old No. 3 car this season and so far, so good.

"Tonight it worked pretty good," he said.

Craig stayed low on the corners, which seemed to be a problem for some of the other IMCA drivers. Even with his control, Craig had some challengers during the main event.

Gregg Kolbaba rode behind Craig for laps nine through 16 before causing a yellow flag by spinning into the water hole on turn two. After the restart it took Kolbaba three laps to move from fifth to second.

With three laps to go, the chase was back on between Craig and Kolbaba but Kolbaba stalled with one lap remaining. With one lap to go the race was restarted and it provided for some excitement as Craig just held off No. 44B Maegden Baucum for the win.

"We didn't have a lot of yellows and it tired me out," Craig said. "On a tight track like this you get worn out turning for 20 laps. The yellows give you a rest but we didn't have very many."

It was a light night for yellow flags. Each of the five main event races had no more than three yellow flags. VanGrandt hoped part of that was due to a pre-race drivers meeting.

"I told them rough driving would be penalized tonight," he said. "The tacky conditions helped keep them under control as well."

Matt Hoffman led most of the time in both the heat and main event in the Mini Stocks. The mini driver's No. 13 Ford Probe is a new car this year.

"I'm real proud of (the car)," he said. "It handles well."

The Street Stock class had the largest field with seven cars in the main. Samantha Johnston and Jason Musser raced for the lead throughout the main event. With six laps to go in a 20-lap race, Musser came inside of Johnston on the third turn and a collision sent Johnston into the infield. The collision sent Johnston back but a yellow flag soon-thereafter brought the cars back together. On the restart Johnston passed Musser after the first lap and hung on for the victory. Johnston also won the heat race.

In the Ultra Minis, Josh Anderson returned to his 7x car for victories in the heat and main races. Anderson was the track champion in the mini stocks last year with his yellow 7x car.

In Super Street Stocks, Dean Dare won the main event and Ed Brown won the heat race. The Super class only had three cars, which reduced the winning payout by half.

The Invitational was the first of three races on consecutive weekends at the Speedway. VanGrandt and race officials hoped that the low turnout of fans and cars would be back up the next two weeks.

"Rescheduling the race and the rain probably kept people away," VanGrandt said.

Back-to-back races are rare for the speedway and back-to-back-to-back races almost never occur.

Craig, a veteran stock car racer, said that the schedule the next two weeks will be a challenge for some of the drivers.

"Guys aren't used to getting their cars ready every week," he said.

"They have to be more aware of how they treat their cars on the track if they want to get back the next week."

Next week's race is the feature for the Mini Stock Class. The Mini Stock Mayhem races will rev up at 6:30.

The following week the Ultra-Minis will be featured in the Ultra Mini Shootout.

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