Hiway 92 Raceway season starts June 5

Drivers compete during a night of racing at Hiway 92 Raceway in Gering last summer. The 2020 season kicks off on June 5 and June 6.

With racing set to start on Friday, June 5, Hiway 92 Raceway’s Luke Ulander said he is hoping to draw local fans who are itching to get out of the house.

“Everybody is ready to get the heck out of quarantine,” he said.

Ulander said they just found out a few days ago that they could go ahead with the racing season.

“It’s been slow on one hand, and on the other it’s been kind of an insanely fast pace,” he said.

Even with the late start, Unlander said the racing season isn’t far off from where it normally is at this time of year. They’ve only had to cancel two races, he said.

“We’re not losing a ton of races,” he said. “With all of (the directed health measures) it is keeping us on our toes.”

First and foremost, Ulander said fan safety is their No. 1 priority.

“We’re going to do our best to make sure that everybody is safe and healthy,” he said. “We’re asking our fans to stay home if they’re not feeling well, so that we can continue to keep our business open.”

To help maintain safety for the fans, Ulander said that families from the same household will be allowed to sit together, but must maintain 6 feet between them and the next family unit.

Ulander said he is hoping to draw more drivers this year.

“There are four tracks in the area that work together — I-25 Speedway in Pueblo, Colorado, (Intermountain Speedway in) Cheyenne, Colorado National Speedway in Erie, Colorado and us,” he said. “Cheyenne has actually been racing now for three weeks. All of the Colorado (race tracks) are still shut down, and I’m not sure when they’re going to be opening.”

Cheyenne has had a good turnout from drivers, Ulander said.

“We expect to see a really good car and truck count,” he said. “I think we’re going to see some cars coming up from Colorado and a few other places.”

All of last season’s champions will be returning to race this summer, and Ulander said he thinks there will also be some former racers coming back out to race.

“This year, I think we’re looking at close to doubling our normal car count. I think we’re heading in the right direction,” he said. “There is a lot of enthusiasm about it right now.”

The Minions class, for racers from 9 to 15 years old, has been their fastest growing class.

“We started with four, and then it became six. I have a feeling our Minions are going to get up to 12 or 15,” he said. “Our car counts are definitely headed in the right direction. I think racing, in general, is making a comeback.”

Four-cylinder cars that compete in Figure Eights has also grown pretty steadily, he said. The number of cars in that event has hovered around four to six drivers. Now they have upwards of eight competing in that event, he said.

Late models have also seen good growth, he said. That class has up to 12 drivers, up from the four to six they have had in past seasons.

Ulander said there will be different promotions during the season, as well.

“On the Fourth of July we’re looking forward to having a big show. We do some fun and exciting stuff as we have fireworks dates. We put on water races with the four-cylinder cars,” he said.

Hiway 92, though, doesn’t raise their entry fees for those special dates.

“We keep it affordable so people can come out and have a good time” Ulander said.

Hiway 92 offers reduced ticket prices for veterans and active duty military as well as police, firefighters and EMTs, he said.

The season kicks off with back to back nights of racing. Races begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 5, and 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 6.

Jeff Van Patten is the sports editor of the Star-Herald. Jeff can be reached by calling 308-632-9050 or emailing jeff.vanpatten@starherald.com.

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