Mitchell Raceway begins summer full of races with opening night at ‘The northern most dirt track in the world’
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - There were few events during 2020 that could be considered consistent or reliable with all of the cancellations, postponements and virtual happenings during the COVID-altered year. However, weekly races hosted by the Greater Fairbanks Racing Association at the Mitchell Raceway - ‘The northern most dirt track in the world’ - were both, with events that began in June and ran through September last season.
GRFA is set to host another full slate this summer with weekly races that began Friday night at the Mitchell.
“It was great,” GFRA President Monte Pearson said of the support last year. “We were one of the only sporting events in town and people were looking for something to do and we sell inexpensive beverages, have great food and put on a pretty good show for folks. For grassroots racing it’s not too bad.”
As drivers continue to tune-up their vehicles during the early stages of the season, the opening-night event a number of classes and drivers carving up the dirt track.
“It is pretty exciting, everybody has been working on their cars really hard the last few months and some guys all winter long and they’re ready to go out there and do some laps and hopefully not tear up their equipment.”
Braden Anders took first in the Sportsman Class with a clocking in at 3:37.161, completing his 7th lap in just 18.912 seconds as the top time ahead of Phil Wood. In the Modified event, Pearson took off his President’s hat and put on his driver hat to claim gold in the class at 3:36.184, with a best lap of 16.181 ahead of Chris Strickland’s 18.189. Dave Parsons took the Mini Modified Class with times of 5:39.881 and 21.085, edging Peyton Snidden. Claiming first in Dollar Stock was Dylan Wingard, who’s total time of 5:38.383 bested Rodney May’s 5:42.330, with Robert Newhard circling the track the fastest at 21.290 in his 7th of 10 laps.
Races at the Mitchell have been a family event for years - and that includes the drivers as well - like the father-son duo of Chris and Peyton Strickland.
“It is just such a blessing to get him out here, get him on the track and let him have some fun,” Chris said of introducing the sport to his son.
“It is just like so powerful and you can feel the vibrations in your chest it is just amazing. I am looking forward to getting better and gaining skill and experience,” added Peyton.
Races continue every Friday night, leading up to anticipated Alaska Dirt Shootout featuring retired NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace June 25th and 26th.
“He is actually going to be driving one of theses cars, we are getting it all ready for him and doing a shake down in it and then it will get a new body and all prettied up for him for when he comes up to race with us,” said Pearson. “It will be the first time a NASCAR Driver has been on this track.”
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