Sitting on a rocket
Hayden Speedway welcomes Sprint Car Series racing
Steamboat Springs — Josh Fellows may only be 17-years-old, but that doesn’t stop him from going 100 mph in a 1,400 pound piece of scrap metal and horsepower.
“It’s fun,” he said Friday while competing in the ASCS Sprint Car division at the Hayden Speedway. “You get butterflies like crazy. Your adrenaline starts pumping and you just go for it.”
Fellows was one of more than 20 racers competing in the special event at the Speedway. For this week’s races, the Sprint Cars were brought in to encourage fans to come and because on the ASCS circuit Hayden was one of the only tracks available.
Still, most drivers enjoyed the eighth-of-a-mile track.
“It’s a lot racier,” said, Keith Rauch, the overall winner of the ASCS Sprint Car division two years ago. “It really puts on a good show for the fans.”
Friday, the Sprint Cars were traveling between 90 and 100 mph and running 10-second laps around the track. The cars have anywhere between 650 and 700 horsepower and weigh as little as 1,375 pounds. It provided a far different race than usual for fans Friday.
“I can’t describe it,” racer Patrick Bourke said of the flying around the corners. “It’s like sitting on a rocket.”
During a race, Sprint Cars will go through eight gallons of fuel and at least one set of tires.
“It’s a blast,” Rauch said. “It’s what I grew up doing. It’s all I know how to do.”
While the sport has picked up popularity in the past few years, drivers said it’s considered a successful season if they break even. An elite car costs $50,000, and to get one to a race and maintain the car costs another $1,000. Friday’s total purse was $7,800. For most drivers, the racing is nothing more than an expensive hobby.
“It’s an addiction,” Patrick Bourke said. “I’ve been doing it for 16 years and Motocross for 13 years before that.”
For others like Fellows, the sprint cars could be the stepping-stone to a bigger career in racing.
Fellows hopes to make it to the World of Outlaws racing series next year where the field of drivers and purses are bigger.
Eventually he would like to get into big-time racing on asphalt.
“I love it,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
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