Jay Irvin leads other late Model drivers on his way to winning the first heat race at Twin Cities Raceway Friday night.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The sound of revving engines and spinning tires stretched into the night at Twin Cities Raceway as the Northern Lights Dirt Series Stock Challenge kicked off Friday and Saturday.
Featuring sprint cars, the racing event drew many drivers from around the state and introduced a new scoring format.
"(Tonight) was the debut of heat races for (sprint cars)," sprint car racer Jackie McGahan said. "In Palmer (on July 8), inaugural races will be held at a new track similar to Twin Cities it will be like a precursor for the shootout at the state fair in mid-August."
McGahan, in his eleventh year racing and sponsored by Tesoro, is the founder of the Northern Lights racing faction. He said that the new scoring system for sprint cars is simple.
"Each car receives points at each race (attended) and the top cars with the most points go head-to-head at the state fair," McGahan said.
Brian Vukasin beats Tom Schanrock across the finish line to win the A Stock heat one Friday night at Twin Cities Raceway.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
McGahan's son, Cameron, raced against his dad on Friday as well.
Cameron, in his fourth year racing, is sponsored by Napa Auto Parts and he traded first-place finishes with his dad in the four races Friday night.
"We're usually in different classes, but with the heat races, it made it a lot of fun," Cameron said.
"I love it," Jackie said, referring to racing with his son. "He's plenty fast and it just makes (racing) even more fun."
Roger Hutto edged Rich McGahan in the B-Stock division for first place overall. Hutto, a self-sponsored competitor from Kasilof, notched 92 points, while McGahan had 91.
"Racing was real fun (tonight)," Hutto said. "I had no idea it was so close."
The race track aided the drivers on Friday by giving good traction while not kicking up swarms of dust or mud.
Some cars faltered from the track as engine problems developed, but most rebounded to race again.
Frank Soares' 355-horsepower Chevy, racing in the Late Model division, suffered the largest blow.
After the final lap of the last race, Soares' coasted to a stop on the backstretch and after getting towed off the track into the pits, his transmission rested on the ground nearly in two pieces with most of the housing clinging to the car next to it.
"You don't see that everyday," Soares said of his car.
Soares managed to win his late-model division anyway, edging Marty Oberg by four points.
In the A-Stock division, Brian Vukasin of Anchorage took first overall, compiling 98 points. T.J. Soares came in a distant second with 80 points.
Northern Lights Dirt Series Stock Challenge
Friday at Twin Cities Raceway
A-Stock 1. Brian Vukasin, 98 points; 2. T.J. Soares, 80; 3. Don Akers, 73; 4. Adam Tracy 67; 5. Tom Shamrock, 42.
B-Stock 1. Roger Hutto, 92; 2. Rich McGahan, 91; 3. Debbie Yancy, 80; 4. J.C. Herbst, 71; 5. Shane Reid, 14.
Late-Model 1. Frank Soares, 86; 2. Marty Oberg, 82; 3. Mike Young, 79; 4. Jay Irvin 75; 5. Robert Watkins, 36.
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