Wet conditions kept drivers off the track Saturday night at Thunder Ridge Motorsports Park. The track was set to host its Hard Rock Nationals Modified race. Thunder Ridge has seen increases in its driver participation in its second season, and will host a state-sanctioned IMCA motocross race in August.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Wet conditions kept drivers off the track Saturday night at Thunder Ridge Motorsports Park. The track was set to host its Hard Rock Nationals Modified race. Thunder Ridge has seen increases in its driver participation in its second season, and will host a state-sanctioned IMCA motocross race in August.

Craig-area dirt track gaining notoriety around Colorado

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IMCA modified stock cars, like this one raced at Thunder Ridge Motorsports Park Friday night, are the most common type to race at the Craig dirt track. After a modified race was rained out Saturday night, track owner Greg Kolbaba said he is hoping to reschedule it for the weekend of July 28.

Upcoming events

July 28 — Mud Drags and Truck Pulls (possible reschedule to August 3-5 if July 14 race is rescheduled to that weekend)

August 25 — Late Model Show, Amzoil Great American Circle Track Tour

September 8 — Season Finale

Despite a tough weekend of weather in Craig for dirt track racing, the Thunder Ridge Motorsports Park is enjoying improved success in 2012.

The dirt racing track, in its second season of operation, has had good racer turnout in its June races.

According to track owner Greg Kolbaba, the track is starting to get past some of the common concerns about a new track that can sometimes keep drivers away.

“A lot of new guys like to wait on new tracks and here about them,” Kolbaba said. “This track doesn’t have all the things you have with most new race tracks. This track is hard. On new race tracks the dirt is usually softer and when you race on it, it gets all chunked up and eats your car. So guys don’t want to race there. That’s one of those things, it takes its own time to get past.”

The track has benefited from out-of-town drivers coming to participate in races and giving good feedback.

“We had some sprint car racers here on (June) 30th and they came in after some hot laps and said, ‘Man, this track is awesome.’ They loved it,” he said.

As a result, Kolbaba says he has received more phone calls about events in the past month than he had gotten since the track opened.

He says one reason for that is the track’s development, which has been a long process, but is coming around.

“The track has been developing pretty well. It’s taking a bit longer than a lot of people would like,” he said. “It’s finally getting to the point to where things are going to start functioning pretty well. The racers are getting their interest piqued. All aspects have improved.”

Kolbaba has done the lion’s share of the work at Thunder Ridge, and said there is still plenty of work to be done to provide an even better spectator experience.

“One of my main priorities is that spectators have a good time,” he said. “There’s still work to be done. It’s about two thirds of the way to being done as far as getting the amenities and all the structures up. We’ll have more for the kids as well.”

Thunder Ridge hosted races of modified stock cars Friday and Saturday, but the dry weather had the track a bit dusty Friday and then heavy rains canceled the races Saturday. That is a fact Kolbaba knows his track will always have to deal with. But he knew he would have to deal with “new track syndrome” and the tough economy’s effect on dirt track racing as well.

The track has persevered.

Kolbaba is hoping to be able to reschedule Saturday’s modified race for the end of July, and the track’s website has more events planned for the rest of the summer, including mud drags, truck pulls and a state-sanctioned motocross race.

“That should be a big event. When you have a state-sanctioned event you’ll get a lot of riders,” he said. “They tell me they’re averaging a hundred drivers.”

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