NASCAR racing Alaskan style

Thundering engines, spinouts, crashes, vintage music, beautiful cars and hundreds of spectators can be found at the North Star Speedway featuring weekly NASCAR racing.

The North Star Speedway is one of a 100 short tracks sanctioned by NASCAR. Racers purchased the quarter mile track in Wasilla February 2000 to keep NASCAR racing in Alaska. In addition, it is the only `racer owned' speedway in America.

Like any car race the winner is the car that runs the required amount of laps around the track first. Hopefully it will be done in the least amount of time and without any crashes, spinouts or car trouble. The speed of the cars keeps you on the edge of your seat in the straight-aways and under your seat or on your feet during the curves. Spectators can enjoy the races without knowing anything about racing, however these tips can increase your knowledge and understanding of what you will see at a race. There are many flags that can be used during a race, but the colors most frequently seen are green (race in progress), yellow (caution on the track/33% race speed), red (stop where you are), white (one lap remaining) and checkered which means the race is completed.

While running the race, cars leave hazardous fluids on the track that the track crews clean with dry powder. Races do not resume until after a spill is removed, cleaning the track can occur at any time– before, during and after a race. In the center of the track is a crossroad where cars in trouble can pull into for pit stops. When cars are unable to leave on their own a wrecker comes and invades the track.

The speedway has a snack bar that offers the usual hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, nachos, ice cream, candy and sodas for a reasonable price. The speedway pro shop has souvenirs and racing programs that contain racer information, coupons and other NASCAR tidbits can be purchased at the entrance.

If you don't know anything about racing but would like to experience it, the speedway offers classes with their “U” Drive Program. The program is offered on Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. A patron can choose to drive a Bandolero or Legend. A Bandolero can be driven for $30 and the Legend for $40. The fee includes instruction and 10 laps around the track. Seven different styles of cars are raced every week: the Late Model; Legends/JAGs; Sportsman; Trucks; Mini Stocks; Baby Grands and Thunderstock, as well as some go-karts.

Not only do you watch fast cars you can purchase them also. Cars are often for sale at the speedway. Some of the cars raced are small and resemble kid cars that come with a nice price tag. A Legend on the lot sells for $12,500 and a Bandolero goes for $7, 800.

- Advertisement -

Prices on cars vary depending upon the model of car. A straight race can cost as little as $1000. Legends can cost as little as $10, 000 or as much as $18,000. Baby Grandes range from $15,000 to $18, 000. The Super Late Models command higher prices–$15,000-$30,000.

The track opened May 13 and will close September 16, 2001. A patron can purchase a pit pass for $15. Admission is free for children under 10, $5 for juniors (11-15), $8 for seniors and military and $10 for adults (16 and up). All seating is general admission. At the end of the ticket there is a coupon for hot wings at Hooters.

NASCAR has fast become a family sport and offers something for everyone. So for an afternoon of excitement, head out to North Star Speedway-the `Farthest North Asphalt Track in the World'.

North Star is located in Wasilla. Take Glenn Highway to the Wasilla exit, then the Trunk Road exit, turn left, then right on Frontage Road (south), turn left on Jenson Road. For more information call746-6825 or email the track at [email protected]