Top-level event sign that Hayden Speedway is gaining speed
Hayden — It’s Saturday night at the Hayden Speedway, and the column of cars waiting to pay and find parking spots is already starting to line up, despite the fact the first race of the night is still more than an hour away.
“It’s a good, quarter-mile banked track,” driver John Lathrop said. “It’s got good clay, and it’s just a fun place with a good atmosphere.”
Lathrop, who lives in Craig and grew up in the area, said his family has always been drawn to the track by the roar of the engines. He remembers coming to the track with his dad and his friends, and these days, he’s hoping to pass his love of racing on to his own children. He left the sport in 2010 but recently purchased a new car and has made all but one of the races this season.
“Corey (Hunter) has done a good thing getting it back up and running,” Lathrop said. ”They bust their butts to make it for us every weekend, and I thank them for that.”
For Corey Hunter, who runs the Hayden Speedway along with Lee Wolford and an army of volunteers, Saturday night’s Rumble in the Rockies — which drew close to 1,000 spectators for a night of racing — could not have been much better.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
The event isn’t new to Hayden, but it’s been a few years since the sprint cars have competed on the oval dirt of the raceway. This is the first time the group had been back since the track closed for three years in 2010.
Saturday’s huge crowd welcomed the sprint cars back in style.
“We brought it back, because it had been here for 35 years,” Hunter said. “This track is part of Hayden’s history and our heritage, and you can see by the people tonight that there are a whole lot of people who agree with us.”
Hunter said the track closed down in 2010, but a group of people in Hayden have worked hard to get the city-owned track back open. In 2013, the Hayden Motorsports Association was formed, and in the spring of 2014, the track was reopened with just 11 cars competing in the first race.
Since then, the number of cars participating has continued to grow, with 35 taking part in last weekend’s races. More importantly, the track has also been able to draw big events like the Rumble in the Rockies back to Hayden.
“It’s just fun to watch racing,” Hunter said. “I’m a gear head. I love things that are loud, obnoxious and go fast, and this whole racing system is great.”
Hunter said the track hosts seven races per season, with the final event slated for Sept. 12. Last weekend’s race was a sprint car feature with drivers coming from five our six states.
“It takes a lot of clout and a bit of cash to get it going,” Hunter said. “These cars are very expensive, and when they crash and break, it’s expensive to fix. This is a higher car count than a lot of tracks have on the Front Range. So for Hayden, as small as we are as far as town size, to draw this many cars, especially high-end cars, is pretty spectacular.”
Hunter said the track is already planning for next year, which he expects to be even bigger with a massive dwarf car show, Rocky Mountain lightning sprints and some modified car shows.
Hunter said the track’s comeback could not have happened without support from Hayden and the surrounding area.
“Everyone has helped out here,” Hunter said. “Everyone is a volunteer … I’ve had tons of help financially, equipment wise, staff — tons and tons of help. It’s been phenomenal.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Steamboat Springs City Council members directed staff at their Tuesday meeting to explore selling the current fire station at 840 Yampa St. and building a new station at 137 10th St., where the current City…