With its three-eighths-of-a-mile dirt track, Twin Cities Raceway has the biggest oval in the state. That allows it to have big shows like it did Friday night.
Eleven sprint cars, five Alaska Legends and two Dwarf cars roared into Kenai Friday for the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions-Circle Track Division Sprint Challenge.
"It was awesome to have this many people show up," said sprint car driver Jackie McGahan of the crowd that nearly filled the bleachers. "This was definitely the biggest show we'll have here this year. Drivers were saying it was the best show this year in the state.
"This track is fast. The tracks in Fairbanks and Willow are quarter-of-a-mile tracks. You don't get the speeds there you do here."
The speeds reached Friday night led to exciting racing and a few crashes.
In the Trophy Dash for Sprint 360s, Kenai's Cameron McGahan, 16, lost it coming off a corner and ran smack into a wall going 80 mph.
Cameron was fine after the wreck, but his CarQuest car is going to need some work. Jackie, Cameron's father, said he has never had a wreck that bad in his career.
"(Cameron) made a comment earlier that the car was feeling funny," Jackie said. "He probably should have held off.
"Something may even have broke on his car, because people said it looked like the car went suddenly for the wall. But he's young, he's eager and he's learning fast."
In addition to Cameron's accident, Anchorage's Todd Vanhousen rolled during a wild Main Event that had all 10 sprint cars on the track at once. Vanhousen also was OK.
The Legends, which usually race on a one-eighth-of-a-mile track, also had a few scrapes and just three of the seven cars made it to the Main Event.
Nikiski's Elton McGahan, who is Jackie's cousin, edged out his relative for top-points honors on the evening in Sprint 410s. Elton, driving his South Central Enterprises car, finished with 85 points, while Jackie, in his Tesoro car, was right behind him with 80 points.
Elton was able to record the win even though he has spent limited time driving this summer. His time has been spent building a lodge across Cook Inlet.
"It surprised me," said Elton, who was second in the Trophy Dash, first in Heat I, fifth in Heat II and second in the Main Event. "The old car was working pretty good tonight. Just the second heat didn't work out the way we planned."
Both Jackie and Elton said they each had one race where their cars were set up poorly. But Elton managed to pull off a fifth in Heat II, while Jackie struggled to a last-place finish in Heat I. Otherwise, Jackie had a solid evening, taking the Main Event, finishing third in the Trophy Dash and finishing third in Heat II.
Anchorage's John McDonald was third in the Sprint 410s point race, and he won the Trophy Dash and Heat II.
"(Elton), John McDonald and I are all up in front right now," Jackie said. "The other guys are just a little behind, but they're learning quickly. In two more years, all these guys will be up there with us."
And that, Jackie said, could lead to even better things at Twin Cities Raceway.
"Within the next five years, and especially when they build the drag strip, this racing facility is going to be phenomenal," Jackie said. "They're going to have to build more bleachers because tonight we packed them out."
Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions-Circle Track Division Sprint Challenge
at Twin City Raceway
Trophy Dash -- 1. Alex Calahan; 2. Marty Fell; 3. Jimmy Borders; 4. Cameron McGahan.
Heat I -- 1. Alex Calahan; 2. Marty Fell.
Heat II -- 1. Alex Calahan; 2. Jimmy Borders.
Main Event -- 1. Marty Fell; 2. Alex Calahan; 3. Jimmy Borders.
Points for evening -- 1. Alex Calahan, 95; 2. Marty Fell, 76; 3. Jimmy Borders, 64; 4. Cameron McGahan, 4.
Trophy Dash -- 1. John McDonald; 2. Elton McGahan; 3. Jackie McGahan; 4. Randy Barnes; 5. Robert Hansen; 6. Larry Frazier.
Heat I -- 1. Elton McGahan; 2. John McDonald; 3. Randy Barnes; 4. Robert Hansen; 5. Larry Frazier; 6. Todd Vanhousen; 7. Jackie McGahan.
Heat II -- 1. John McDonald; 2. Robert Hansen; 3. Jackie McGahan; 4. Todd Vanhousen; 5. Elton McGahan; 6. Randy Barnes; 7. Larry Frazier.
Main Event -- 1. Jackie McGahan; 2. Elton McGahan; 3. Larry Frazier; 4. Randy Barnes; 5. John McDonald; 6. Robert Hansen.
Points for evening -- 1. Elton McGahan, 85; 2. Jackie McGahan, 80; 3. John McDonald, 78; 4. Randy Barnes, 65; 5. Larry Frazier, 60; 6. Robert Hansen, 59; 7. Todd Vanhousen, 24.
Trophy Dash -- 1. Mike Thomas; 2. Larry Fetehenhier (Dwarf car); 3. Al Palma; 4. Eric Johnson; 5. Mike Brapduell.
Heat I -- 1. Mike Thomas; 2. Eric Johnson; 3. Michelle Kyte; 4. Al Palma; 5. Mike Brapduell; 6. Larry Fetehenhier (Dwarf car).
Heat II -- 1. Mike Brapduell; 2. Mike Thomas; 3. Eric Johnson; 4. Michelle Kyte; 5. Al Palma.
Main Event -- 1. Al Palma; 2. Mike Thomas; 3. Eric Johnson.
Points for evening -- 1. Mike Thomas, 93; 2. Al Palma, 82; 3. Eric Johnson, 78; 4. Mike Brapduell, 34; 5. Michelle Kyte, 30; 6. Larry Fetehenheir (Dwarf car), 18.
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