Running in circles |

Running in circles

Hayden racetrack sees strong driver, spectator turnout

Ryan Sheridan

The racing season at the Hayden Speedway roared to life Saturday and enjoyed a large turnout in both drivers and fans.

More than 200 spectators cheered on the five classes of race cars that blasted around the Hayden Speedway, and the race organizers expect a strong year for the events this summer.

“We had a pretty good turnout and our racer participation was up,” Yampa Valley Auto Racing Association President Justin Gallegos said. “We had half again as many drivers in each (racing) class, and we added a new class Pro Stock. The Pro Stock cars are basically full bodied, fabricated racecars that are closer to the pavement-style professional races. They are probably the fastest class we have right now.”

There have been changes at the racing facility itself for this season. The light poles have been moved from inside the track to the outside and a security guard has been added to make the environment at the track more attractive to families.

“We got together with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office and the state patrol and asked them to give us suggestions on how we could crack down on underage drinking (at the speedway),” Gallegos said. “Now a paid security officer walks in and through the crowd during the races.

“It’s important to us that we emphasize that while teens and kids of all ages are welcome, we’re pushing for the whole family to come out and enjoy the races.”

How the drivers, and how many drivers, are paid has also changed. Last season, the top four drivers in each category were paid and paid at a fixed rate every week, but this year the number of places rewarded and the value of the cash prize will fluctuate based on the number of cars entered in each class.

“The more cars we have, the more positions are paid out and more money is awarded for each pay out,” Yampa Valley Auto Racing Association public relations director Scott McKinney said. “That way, the more racers we have, the more people that get a finger in the pie.”

The registration fee for racers is $30 per race. The cost to attend the races is $6 per adult and $2 for children under 12. Junior Fan Club members get into the Hayden Speedway. The membership for the Junior Fan Club member is $3, which includes a T-shirt.

“We have over 100 Junior Fan Club members already,” McKinney said. “That’s more kids than we’ve ever had, so we’re headed for a banner year.

“This is a family sport, and we want everyone to bring their families to the speedway for some good, dirty fun.”

For more information about registering for a race or becoming a Junior Fan Club Member, call Scott or Marilyn McKinney at The Copy Shop at 824-4758.

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