Gregg Kolbaba, a Craig native, overlooks the stock car track he is building in April at Thunder Ridge Motor Sports Park south of Craig. Kolbaba hoped to have the first stock car race on June 4, but wet weather pushed the opening day back to June 24.

File photo

Gregg Kolbaba, a Craig native, overlooks the stock car track he is building in April at Thunder Ridge Motor Sports Park south of Craig. Kolbaba hoped to have the first stock car race on June 4, but wet weather pushed the opening day back to June 24.

Craig resident eyes official opening for track development

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file photo

Craig native Gregg Kolbaba is developing the Thunder Ridge Motor Sports Park south of Craig. Kolbaba said the main two things he will focus on when his stock car track opens June 24 would be fans and racers.

Quotable:

“A lot of tracks this size have a high turnover of who is in charge. That is not good for the racers or the people who help out. The track will also be more like the Hayden Speedway in that guys can just gun it and not worry about the track being slippery like ice.”

— Gregg Kolbaba, a Craig resident, on his Thunder Ridge Motors Sports Park’s stock car track

Gregg Kolbaba was shooting for a June 4 opening of his new stock car track south of the Moffat County Landfill.

One determining factor for the opening, Kolbaba said, was how wet the spring in Craig would be.

After heavy rain, Kolbaba said he was basically sidelined from sculpting the land into what it needs to be.

“We couldn’t even come in here when it was wet,” he said. “There was standing water everywhere and we really couldn’t do anything.”

Kolbaba, a Craig resident, said cement walls, bleachers and catch fences are a few of the items left on his long list, but the track will host a trial run June 23 and have an official opening June 24 and 25.

“If we wouldn’t have had all the wetness, I would have met my deadline,” he said. “There is a lot to do, but I am out here from 6:30 in the morning to 10 at night or even midnight working on this track.”

Kolbaba has named the project, which includes a stock car track as well as a motocross track, Thunder Ridge Motor Sports Park.

As he pointed to an area northeast of where the stock car track sits, Kolbaba talked of what he envisions for the track.

“The ticket booth, concessions and parking will go in this area,” he said. “I want the fans to be as close to the racers as possible because it gets them more excited. If the fans are excited they will come back and so will the racers who have fans here.”

Another way to bring racers back, Kolbaba said, is to have something other area tracks don’t — cash prizes.

“At the end of the season, I want to be able to give my top three racers in each division a cash prize,” he said. “It may not be much to start, but other tracks only give a trophy and maybe a jacket, so I think it will be appreciated.”

Kolbaba said he would also differentiate his track from the others in the way the facility is run.

“A lot of the tracks this size have a high turnover of who is in charge,” he said. “That is not good for the racers or the people who help out. The track will also be more like the Hayden Speedway in that guys can just gun it and not worry about the track being slippery like ice.”

Kolbaba said he still hears skepticism from local racers, but he has heard positive feedback from out-of-town racers.

“Some people around this area don’t know how this track is going to turn out,” he said. “But, I have received at least half a dozen calls from people from out of town who are interested in being here for the first race.

“I think once people come and see that the track is real and will succeed, they will go home and get their car out and come race.”

Despite the late start to the season, Kolbaba said he will make sure he has nine races in the first year to pave way for what is to come in future years.

“We don’t really have long seasons around these areas, with about eight to 10 races each summer,” he said. “I want to get in as many as possible, plus I want to bring in monster trucks and a demolition derby sometime down the road.”

Kolbaba said his track is about two things — fans and racers

“I want to make the fans happy because if there are no fans, there won’t be any races,” he said. “But, I also need to keep the racers happy. I want the racers to keep coming back and to enjoy racing here.”

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