Steamboat Springs If the weather cooperates this weekend, Hayden resident Corey Hunter plans to begin work on overhauling the Hayden Speedway.
The town-owned racetrack has gone unused for three years. Weeds have taken over, the structures are falling apart and equipment such as speakers and lights probably are ruined after sitting outside for so long. It needs a lot of work.
“It’s still raceable,” Hunter said Thursday morning when he took the day off from his full-time job to catch up on Speedway affairs such as ordering business cards and recording radio advertisements.
Hunter has a plan to bring the clay, 3/8-mile track back to its glory days when 40 or 50 cars would race each night. People would travel from Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming and throughout Colorado, Hunter said.
“The reputation was if you wanted a good clay track to test your skills, this was the track to come to,” he said.
Hunter was raised in Idaho and has lived in Hayden for the past 10 years. A gearhead at heart, Hunter began working on revitalizing the track a year ago. In August, he formed the nonprofit Hayden Motorsports Association and has been working closely with Lee Wolford, who will oversee race operations.
Hunter said he decided to involve himself because he wanted to create a boost for the Hayden community. With two sons, he also wanted to create something for the youths to do in town.
“I use the words good, clean, family fun,” Hunter said.
Town officials have been supportive of Hunter’s plans, and final details of a lease with the town are being worked out.
“We’re excited about it, and everything he’s presented to us to this point seems doable,” Mayor Jim Haskins said.
Hunter said the speedway opened in 1978, and races were held until 2010.
“The racers weren’t getting paid, so they wouldn’t show up, and it just died off,” Hunter said.
Hayden Motorsports Association has put together a business plan its organizers think is sustainable, and Hunter said he has raised about $10,000 of the $30,000 he is trying to collect.
The tires and guardrails that surround the track will stay put, but essentially everything else is getting replaced or reworked.
The lights will be redone along with the electrical and sound system. New ticketing and announcing booths will be built. Concrete will be poured on the hillside overlooking the track to create seating areas.
“You’re not going to recognize it,” Hunter said. “It’s going to be first class.”
To help with fundraising and to raise awareness, Hayden Motorsports Association has created a Facebook page and launched a website at www.haydenmotorsports.org. An informational meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.
Hunter hopes to host the first race by the middle of June.
The track hosts what Hunter described as grass-roots stock car racing. For about $1,000, someone could get into the sport and enter a four-cylinder car with a roll cage and harness, win some money in the races and move up to higher classes, Hunter said. The sprint car races are a crowd favorite.
“They’re fun to watch,” Hunter said. “They’re loud. They’re fast.”
The five-year plan calls for adding motocross, snowcross, tractor pulls and endurocross races.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland
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