Dust Settles at Speedway

Nearly 30 drivers were on the track for the season-opening stock car races at the Taylor Speedway on Sunday

With the dust literally trying to settle at the Taylor Speedway after a rainout on Saturday made track preparations next to impossible for the morning heats in Sunday’s season opening race, nearly 30 stock car drivers battled to get a jump on the season points standings.

Overall, Taylor Speedway president Kelly Hildebrand was happy to just see the races take place after rain forced a cancellation of the original season opener on Saturday.

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“I am happy, but I would have liked to see more [drivers] with the bombers and the sports,” two classes that didn’t have any drivers on Sunday. “People come to see the faster cars. Everybody [was] just kind of anxious to get out there and get going.”

He added that the dry track conditions made for an interesting afternoon on Sunday.

“Today [the] track conditions [were] not good,” the speedway president said Sunday. “With all that rain we had we couldn’t get on and prep the track right. Right now it is really bumpy, dusty.”

Hildebrand was not alone in his excitement to get the season going, 26-year racing veteran Johnny Beaumont was also geared up for his first race of the 2015 season.

“Just hope that your car holds together,” Beaumont said about his season expectations. “Just go out and have fun, hope that you are not broke down and fighting mechanical issues… I just enjoy the rush of racing and the competition level.”

The excitement didn’t last long for Beaumont on Sunday, as a piece of his engine block exploded through the side of his car in the morning heats and he wasn’t able to make a repair to drive in the  International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified final.

Beaumont did, however, get to watch his kids hit the track on the weekend, with Camryn racing in the Junior Mini Sprints and Dylan grabbed top spot in the 80cc mini sprint race. The family tradition is something the elder Beaumont takes a lot of pride in.

“Years ago we went and watched it, and we had a few old cars kicking around, tried it out,” he said. “[Now] we got the whole family involved, now my daughters both race.”

Other winners on Sunday included, Carissa Elliot in the Junior Mini Sprints, Cody LeClerc in the Senior Mini Sprints, Chelsea Babcock in the Junior Minis, Heath Thomas in the Adult Minis, and Doug Mitchell in the IMCA Modified class.

Hildebrand noted that the talent for Sunday’s race travelled from Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Grande Prairie.

On top of talent, the will to win is the reason most of the racers who hit the track in Taylor on a regular basis.

“I’m just going to say your attitude,” Hildebrand explained about what separates the top racers from the average racer. “If you’re just here for the fun, you go at your own pace. Some guys like to win, I have a couple sons that like to win. So they are going to go right full out. Today, in the first heat my daughter kicked my sons butt. The mod guys are in a division across Canada, so they are going full bore all the time.”

Also on the mini track, kids as young as six raced and Hildebrand said for those youngsters, it’s all about knowing your limits.

“The best thing is don’t over drive your car,” he said. “We have six-year-olds driving race cars in the mini sprints, 6-13 and then at 14 you can get into a ordinary car. Just don’t over do it. Just because Harry is doing Mach 1, don’t try and catch him if it’s your first year. He was like that once too. Just take your time and go at your own pace.”

The next race at the Taylor Speedway is the Doug Babcock Memorial on June 20 and 21. Hildebrand also said they might try and add a third day to the August long weekend racing in order to make up for the rainout on Saturday.

sports@ahnfsj.ca

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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