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Engines ready to roar this weekend at Aztec Speedway

2024 season runs through Oct. 5, featuring drivers from across southwest
Kyler Duggins drives the 69 car to victory in the Hobby Stock feature in August 2023 at Aztec Speedway. (RaNai Toler/For The Tri-City Record)

AZTEC – The 72nd season of live dirt track racing is set to begin this weekend at Aztec Speedway.

The season, which will feature 16 race dates during weekends through Oct. 5, kicks off on Friday night with a pair of racing programs featuring some of the best sprint cars from across the southwestern United States.

Aztec Speedway, New Mexico's oldest continuously run dirt track, will feature several new renovations, both to the grounds around the track and to the track itself.

General manager and racing promoter Erick Garcia keeps looking for ways to modify the facilities. He also looks to keep creating opportunities for both fans and drivers to get the most from their experience.

“How much we can do during the offseason really is dependent on how hard the winter is,” Garcia said. “How much time we can spend out here fixing and keeping the track up to date is always dependent on the weather.”

Many of last year’s Aztec Speedway driving champions will be back behind the wheel again this season, including Ignacio’s Katie Barthel, who took home the championship last season driving Sport Compacts. Barthel won 15 races at Aztec Speedway last year, as well as a pair of races at Fairgrounds Speedway in Cortez.

“We’re thrilled to have the drivers we already have, and we’re excited to bring new drivers and new classes of racing this season,” Garcia said.

Katie Barthel, shown here during a race at Aztec Speedway in July 2023, took home top prize in the Sport Compact division's featured event at Fairgrounds Speedway in June 2023. (RaNai Toler/For The Tri-City Record)

In addition to drivers representing the International Motor Contest Association and Performance Open Wheeled Racing, Inc., fans can expect to see some new classes of racing this season.

“The excitement around the season has really come from seeing all the new cars being built,” Garcia said. “People involved in the racing and the business behind it have all been enthusiastic.”

Drivers from the American Sprint Car Series based in Colorado will be featured on the track this season as well as a new series of racers representing Southwest Ecotec.

“Midgets” from Southwest Ecotec are small cars with an extremely high power-to-weight ratio, typically using four-cylinder engines. Similar to sprint cars, Ecotec cars are open-wheel, meaning all four wheels are not covered by fenders or a body.

“Having new drivers and more drivers from across the region gives us the opportunity to gain more interest and ultimately, race more often,” Garcia said.

Still, overseeing a racing facility, being a promoter and being an avid fan comes with different sets of challenges as the season approaches.

“Our drivers and our partners all very boisterous and they’re opinionated and we want to do what’s right for all of them,” Garcia said. “Being a promoter and a manager, there are conflicts and in the end and I have to look at all of these things from a business side.”

Drivers from across the region will have two tracks to race over. In addition to Aztec Speedway, a new season of racing will also get underway May 3-4 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Cortez for a 10-date season, which runs through Sept. 1.

Kart Kanyon Speedway also has a full slate of events scheduled for this season, with 14 live racing dates on tap, including the Ryan Bard Memorial event on April 26-27 and the MotorSports fest in late June.

Aztec Speedway tickets include options for pit passes, as well as general admission. Pit passes cost $40 for fans 13 and older and $25 for 12 and under.

General admission prices on opening weekend range from $5 to $10.

For more information about the upcoming season, visit aztecspeedway.com.

The 2024 live racing schedule at Aztec Speedway (Courtesy Photo)

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