Danny Quinn has no idea what it's like to sit behind the wheel of a racecar, but he's about to find out.
Quinn, 27, is entering the races at Hayden Speedway for the first time in this, the track's 40th year. While he won't be at Saturday's opening Benefit Night/Mini Sprint Show, he will be at the track in the next few weeks preparing and testing his car for the street stock race at the Open Invitational on June 5.
Quinn grew up watching dirt-track races in Wisconsin and spent the last two years in the Hayden Speedway stands as a spectator.
"Racing is something I've always been fascinated with," Quinn said. "I've never had the money to get into it until now ... the first time to be behind the wheel is something I'm pretty excited about."
Seven races are scheduled for the 40th season at the Hayden Speedway, beginning with Saturday's Benefit Night/Mini Sprint Show. To honor the track's 40th anniversary, track president Justin Gallegos and the other race organizers have scheduled the 1,200cc mini sprints from Price, Utah.
"They should probably be the fastest class we've had here in years," Gallegos said.
Spectators will be treated to three shows from the mini sprints throughout the season, beginning Saturday night. Gallegos said the Hayden Speedway is also bringing in the Gone West Dirt Series from Denver and the Modified Madness Shoot-Out, which is a regional, invitation-only race.
But the quality of events isn't the only improvement visitors will notice. The Hayden Speedway was originally built on the site of an old trash dump, so glass would seep out on the side of the hill where spectators sit. While nothing could be done about what's under the track, there were changes that could be made on the surface.
"The spectator area has been much improved," Gallegos said. "We've went in and reconfigured the seating and put in crushed asphalt for the walkways to dress up the place. It's a lot safer. We developed a bigger handicapped parking area, a handicapped-accessible toilet and made new places for families that want to bring lawn chairs."
The Hayden Speedway has developed a reputation as one of the premier tracks in Colorado because of its surface, rules and management.
"It's a good group of people to race with," longtime driver John Jepkema, 75, said. "It's very well organized."
Jepkema recently overhauled an engine to put in his 1974 sport coupe for the upcoming season. He races the No. 45 car, a number he took because of his knack for shooting a .45-caliber automatic pistol.
The Hayden Speedway is located on the southeast side of Hayden. The cost per day is $7 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and younger. Children can also sign up for a junior fan club for $5 that gives them access to each race for free.
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