The infield was a lake a month ago, but Alaska Raceway Park is ready for Sunday’s season opener.
Alaska Raceway Park opens for the season on Sunday, which is somewhat remarkable considering that less than a month ago owner Michelle Lackey Maynor was kayaking the infield of the Oval Track.
A snowy winter meant a lot of melted snow at the break, enough to fill the infield at Palmer Racecourse.
The track shot a video of Maynor kayaking across the temporary pond to help attract votes in a nationwide contest that will reward the winning track with $ 50,000. Alaska Raceway Park is one of six finalists in the Advance My Track challenge, and a winner will be chosen in an online vote Sunday and Monday at advancemytrack.com.
A win would help improve accessibility for people with disabilities, provide a play area for children and more, Maynor said.
But even without the cash prize, there’s plenty of new stuff in store this summer.
A halfway carnival will be set up next weekend and will run every Saturday and Sunday until the end of July, when it heads to the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks. The carnival rides will be in the car park, outside the entrance gates to the circuit.
Kids as young as 8 – who can already compete in junior drag races on the quarter-mile drag track – can now start their engines on the third-mile asphalt oval as well. The new Bandolero classification of the track is for entry-level cars with 30 horsepower engines; speeds should reach 50 mph or more.
“We announced last year that we were going to be doing this class for the kids, so everyone has been busy buying the (cars) in-state or getting them from outside,” Maynor said. “One of my drivers picked up four of them on a track in California that closed. They are there. They used to have them run at North Star Speedway, and when they closed (the cars) had nowhere to go. They are also found in the Fairbanks and North Pole area.
There’s also one at Maynor – his 11-year-old son Teddy will be piloting Bandolero this summer.
Maynor said entry-level auto racing is cheaper than hockey – once you get past the initial investment. For Teddy’s car, that meant between $ 5,000 and $ 2,000 for the car, $ 1,000 for the engine, and the rest in safety gear.
“Once you get past that, it’s just about gasoline, tires and entry fees,” she said.
Bandolero pilots and other circular track pilots will only race next weekend. Opening day is for junior dragsters, an open test-and-tune “for everyone to shake off the cobwebs,” Maynor said, and the Hunison Cup drag race.
The opening day is also for moms, because it’s Mother’s Day. Maynor has a bucket in his office filled with 14 dozen carnations that will be given to the first hundred or more moms by the door on Sunday. The track opens at 10 a.m., with races at 2 p.m.
Some fans and drivers will show up on Saturday evening in the pit area, a popular camping spot for racing fans and drivers alike. The timing is right, Maynor said, as overnight campers can vote for the Advance My Track challenge on Saturday night and again on Sunday morning.
“Voting takes place on Sunday and Monday, but since it is Eastern Time (Daylight Saving Time), we can start voting on Saturday night,” she said.
Maynor has been busy posting videos and photos on the runway Facebook page and Youtube channel to inspire voters. In a recent article, she wears a red blazer, sits at a desk in front of giant NASCAR and NHRA banners and sounds and gestures like a politician as “My Country Tis of Thee” plays in the background. .
“Vote as if your asphalt depends on it,” she intones.
“My sister-in-law said I looked a bit like Sarah Palin. I have my hair up and my little reading glasses, ”Maynor said.
Alaska Raceway Park was one of 22 nominated circuits for the competition, sponsored by NASCAR Adance Auto Parts. After a month of online voting, he was one of six to advance to the final.
Promotional videos for all six tracks – others are in Florida, Maine, Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire – appear on the contest website. None have an opening shot that rivals The entrance to Alaska, which shows the backdrops track by Pioneer Peak.