Aztec Speedway Racers Wear Dirt or Eat It

4/28/2022

Start your engines! Aztec Speedway revved into action to open its 70th season with competition involving International Motor Contest Association modifieds, northern sport mods, stock cars, go-karts, and more. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by Distil Beer, Wine, Spirits and Three Rivers Brewery

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The green flag goes up when the sun goes down on a little dirt track on the edge of town. Established in 1952, Aztech Speedway is the oldest continually operated dirt stock car track in New Mexico. The 70th opening weekend of live dirt track racing featured a variety of cars, including modifieds, Northern sports mods, stock cars and non-winged sprints. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by 3 Rivers Brewery and Distil Beer Wine Spirits. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Dirt track racing started in Australia about a 100 years ago. Cars race on clay or dirt surfaced oval tracks, that are less than a mile long. This variety of car racing is not as simple as turning left. The nature of racing on dirt is unpredictable at best and nobody ever loses on a dirt track. You only run out of gas, laps or time. There's a thin line between fast and broken on the way to the finish line. The best part is, to be there first.

I really enjoy winning, unfortunately, you don't win as many times as you would like, or I should say you lose more than you win, but when you do win, it's quite a thrill.

What do you win?

Typically, we run for a 1000 dollars. There's some races that you can run for $2,500 to $5,000 around in this area, but typically it's right around a 1000 dollars and I guess bragging rights. So you don't win too much money but well, you know, it all helps.

Dirt car racing is usually a night event in order to minimize the amount of dust the drivers encounter. However, mother nature doesn't always cooperate. During the season opener, the strong desert wind dried the water pack track.

They claim it to be like driving on ice when it gets a dry slick. So it's controlled chaos is what it ends up being. And they can just operate that car and just slide anywhere they need it to.

For most, racing on dirt is a family tradition, including Aztec Speedway photographer, Ranai Toler.

My granddad raced, my dad raced, its been a whole family thing. I raced for many years. Let's go ahead and get out of here.

Manager of Aztec Speedway, Mike Tenski, hopes to get more kids involved in the sport. Boys and girls begin with go-karts as young as 7 or 8 years old.

And that kind of racing is really reasonable. We get into a car for like 500 to a 1000 dollars and you can race all day long. It's really cheap and it gives the parents the ability to work with their kids, know where their kids are, and it gives them the driving ability. For one thing, it makes a way better drivers than most kids that don't and gives them an avenue to have some fun if they're not really good on team sports, like my boys .

Aztech Speedways next live event for all local classes will take place on May 20th and 21st. Go-karts will race on May 7th. For exact race times and prices, go to facebook.com/aztec. speedway. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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