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Sands season nearing end

SANDS – Fall is rapidly approaching and that means the racing year is coming to an end at Sands Speedway,

However, there’s still time for fans to come out and enjoy the fun before the checkered flag waves on the season.

“This is our fifth year and we’ve been doing our best to build up racing around here,” Sands track manager and co-owner Stan Wittler said. “The visibility is good and there’s really not a bad seat in the house.

“After the race, fans can come on down to the pits and talk to the drivers. We really try to make it fun for people. There’s quite a bit of interest already and we’re just trying to get the word out.”

Saturday, Sands held its weekly points races, as well as the Late Model 50 Lap Invitational.

In the invitational, the race doesn’t affect the point standings like the other brackets.

The current Late Model points leader, Darryl Britton, is having a strong season.

He has 921 points and a 39-point lead in his bracket. Britton was also the Late Model champion last season.

“Things are going really well,” Britton said. “It’s been a close battle and hopefully, I can stay there.

“It’s a great adrenaline rush. People in the stands have no idea just how fast these cars are going. It’s really crazy.”

A Super Stock driver, Ray Keskimaki, is second in in his bracket at 801 points, 11 behind leader Ross Olsen Sr. Keskimaki said the drivers put a lot of time and money into their cars, sometimes as much as 15 or 20 hours a week.

“It’s worth it, though, because it’s really a blast,” he said. “The racing is pretty clean and very competitive.

“It’s also like a big family around here. If any of the racers need anything, everyone will pitch in. It’s really great.”

Some young drivers also compete at Sands in the 4-cylinder Purestock and 4-cylinder Modified races.

One of these teenage drivers is Gage Nutt, 17, tied for the Purestock lead at 972 points.

Nutt started racing BMX bikes before his dad persuaded him to try racing cars. He urges other younger drivers to get involved.

“I’ve always played different sports and right after I turned 15, my dad asked me if I wanted to try racing a car,” he said.

“It can be a little intimidating the first time out on the track, but once you see the fun in it and the challenge of winning a race, it will go away pretty quickly.”

Track promoter Kim LeTourneau said next Saturday’s race will be a fun one to attend as it’s not only the championships, but it will also feature the King of the Hill race.

The event allows spectators to race their own street-legal cars – no matter what make or model – one lap around the track from a dead-stop.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for teens and kids under 13 are free.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.