When it comes to small-town stock car racing, few things are as important as honoring tradition.
Thus, it was hardly surprising that the season’s first race at Fairgrounds Speedway was like so many before it.
As always, veteran drivers performed well, fathers raced sons and most importantly, those in attendance relished the experience.
Veteran drivers perform well
Kicking off the season in style on April 25, several veteran drivers parlayed years of experience into victory.
Among those racing to victory was Modified driver Zane Devilbiss, who, continuing his long run of dominant performances in Cortez, took first overall in the Modified A-Main.
Driving equally well was Farmington based driver Julie Boettler, who notched a first place finish in the Sportmod A-Main.
Other victorious drivers included Stock Car driver Kenny Hendershot, Hobby Stock driver Freddie Brooks and Sport Compact driver Josh Smith.
Pacing local drivers who enjoyed success, Dove Creek resident Billy Beanland finished second in the Hobby Stock A-Main and Dove Creek resident Aaron Spangler finished second in the Modified A-Main.
Father races against son
Also highlighting the opening night of racing at Fairgrounds Speedway was an exciting race between Cortez resident Tony Hill and his son, Dillon Hill.
Both fixtures on the Cortez racing scene for several years, the two racers battled it out in the Stock Car A-Main.
While neither father nor son managed to crack the top-five, both drivers cherished the opportunity to compete against one another on a track that both men love.
“I learned from my dad,” said Dillon Hill, who has been racing in Cortez for 11 years. “It’s great to be able to race with him.”
Although the two generally remain friendly on the track, Dillon pointed out that paint has been traded on a few occasions.
“My rookie year, dad punted me out of the way, but that’s part of the game,” said Dillon with a smile.
Drivers cherish Fairgrounds Speedway experience
For drivers who have competed in Cortez for many years, the opening night experience was one to remember.
Discussing what makes racing in Cortez so special, Dominic Petros spoke about the family element that Fairgrounds Speedway brings to the table.
“My Dad started at Thunderbird Speedway and won a few championships there,” said Petros. “We grew up watching it and as soon as I was old enough, we built cars.
Although Petros did not race on opening night, his brother, Rob Petros, performed well, placing third overall in the Hobby Stock A-Main.
An enjoyable experience for all involved, drivers and audience members exited the arena clearly excited for the 2014-racing season.