HOLLAND: North To Alaska

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Allan Holland
Allan Holland

Rick Rarer has been my friend since back in the 1990s, when I first started using the Internet. Rick has been taking photos for years and posting them on www.sprintcarnews.com.

Rick travels to sprint car shows every weekend around the East and Midwest. He also travels to a rather exotic destination for sprint car racing, the state of Alaska.

Rick’s parents moved to Alaska back in the 1990’s. His first visit to Alaska was in 2000 but he traveled there in the winter. A few years later he found out there were sprint car races in Alaska during the summer and has been going there during race season instead ever since.

There are three tracks that now run sprint cars on a weekly basis: Capitol Speedway in Willow, Twin City Raceway in Kenai and Mitchell Raceway in Fairbanks are the three dirt tracks. Mitchell Raceway’s slogan is the “Northern Most Dirt Track In The World.”

The season runs from May to September, with the summer months having daylight for most of the show. The tracks have no lights, which makes extended daylight pretty convenient.

Rick flies into Anchorage and has two of the tracks, Capitol and Twin Cities, within a few hours. Capitol is north of Anchorage and Twin Cities is south. The third track, Mitchell, is farther north on a two-lane road over 200 miles, or five to six hours of driving.

It is amazing just how far away these sprint car tracks are from the rest of us sprint car fans. Skagit Speedway in Washington is 2,228 miles, or 45 hours, away from Anchorage by car, so there isn’t much chance of attracting any drivers from the lower 48 states.

Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania is 4,230 miles away, so Rick has a journey to get there. He always flies there, but has driven back the entire distance once.

The three tracks all run on the same night, which limits car counts to five or six sprint cars at each track. With the three tracks being hours apart, it might not matter if they did run different nights. They do have most of the same support divisions that we have, like Legends and four-cylinders but they don’t have modifieds and that’s probably a good thing.

When Rick first started going to sprint car races up north they ran 410ci and 360ci sprint cars together with a little higher car count.

They no longer have any 410ci sprint cars; everything is now 360ci, and Rick thinks that they could probably do better if they all ran 305’s.

There is also a new paved track in Anchorage called Alaska Raceway Park. It is an elaborate NASCAR-sanctioned facility, but they only run sprint cars a few times a year. They also don’t have lights, so all racing is run in the daylight like the dirt tracks.

There were two other tracks that are no longer in use, North Star Speedway in Wasilla and the Alaska State Fairgrounds Speedway in Palmer.

If you are looking for some exotic dirt tracks to add to your list, then Alaska might be the place to go.

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