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New season starts for speedway

Racing at the Pahrump Valley Speedway is underway and the season opened without a hitch on Feb.1. The racing season is ahead of the weather this year for spring seems to be some time off and the fans got a bitter taste of some chilly weather last Saturday afternoon on opening day.

Sheree Stringer, a local race fan and promoter of the Sam Stringer Memorial race, said it was a cold day.

“The bad weather follows the speedway around. It was a very cold and windy opening day, but still enjoyable,” she said.

Speedway owner Chad Broadhead was satisfied with the race count on Saturday.

“It was really cold and we still had a good turnout. We had 44 cars for the opening night. We have one more early race at 3 p.m. and that is scheduled for Feb. 15 and then we are going back to 7 p.m. We are switching a little bit earlier because nobody comes out for the day races,” he said.

The racetrack will change up the way racing is scheduled this year. In the past, not all the classes raced every week. According to Broadhead, this year all eight classes will race every week.

Divisions include the following: Bomber, Coupe, Dwarf, IMCA Modified, Mini Modified, Mini Stock, Hobby Stock and West Coast Street Stock.

“This should give us some new cars. We have 19 IMCA sanctioned West Coast Superstock races and 19 IMCA Modified sanctioned races. We have a lot of racers that have moved up to the Modified class so we expect 15 to 20 Modifieds every race,” Broadhead explained.

If you are interested in getting into racing, it is not that hard. According to Broadhead, all new drivers must attend a driver meeting and must have a race car that is ready to come out on the track. They can come to the racetrack the day of the race. He said every car gets inspected before every race. It doesn’t matter if it is their first time or a thousand times on the track. There is a very heavy tech session.

“We want to make sure the car is safe and the fans are going to be safe,” Broadhead said. “We don’t want things flying off the car. We want to make sure all their safety gear is there for number one and it is all up to date.”

Last year he said there were no major accidents or casualties and he said he hopes his luck continues.

“We had a good safe season last year for the fifth straight year of nothing major. I keep praying to God that nothing does happen because we don’t want anyone to get hurt. That is what we get from having such a good tech. He does not just let anyone go on the track. Our tech, Sam King, is licensed and certified through IMCA. A lot of the drivers don’t like him because he just don’t let things go. People come to the track and think they can slop it together and go race,” Broadhead said.

Last year at a track up North four Dwarf cars were involved in a fatal accident at the Reno-Fernley Raceway on Memorial Day. There were two fatalities in that race. Some racers felt some drastic changes needed to be made in Dwarf car racing but according to Broadhead none were made.

“Dwarfs will be running on our track and no, the rules did not change. The faster you go the less chances you have of surviving. It does not matter how good the quality of the safety gear. When you start hitting each other at 100 mph it is hard to survive something like that. There are people killed each year in our kind of racing and you just don’t hear about them because they are not big time racers,” he said.

The only other change is coming down from IMCA in the West Coast Superstock class, where IMCA will allow racers to purchase a crate motor like the Modifieds can.

“I think it is a good rule if they say that everyone must get a crate motor within the next 5 years. This will level the playing field. This way everyone has to have the same motor and it makes it the driver’s skill and not who has the most money. Now it is optional,” he explained.

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