Experience the Thrill at Alaska Raceway Park
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At the impressive Alaska Raceway Park, motorsports events are held from Mother's Day to Labor Day. This exceptional venue is situated in Butte, near the Knik River and Knik Glacier, Mile 10.4 of the Old Glenn Highway, about 41.5 miles northeast of Anchorage, Alaska, US. The racing location is recognized worldwide for its scenic beauty, with the imposing 6,398-foot Pioneer Peak looming over the finish line. The track sits 63 feet above sea level, providing optimal air pressure and the perfect conditions for racing.
The drag strip has been a fundamental part of Alaska Raceway Park since the facility's opening in 1964. It was run by Lee and Fern Nelson and their sons Ron and Larry for the next 30 years. Over the years the track had various names, but it was eventually revamped for environmental compliance and safety purposes by a group of businesspeople passionate about motorsports. Earl Lackey purchased Jerry Schreiner's shares in 1995, and the name was changed to Alaska Raceway Park. The track underwent a significant renovation that included an entrance via Sullivan Road, environmental cleanup, installation of new bleachers and sound equipment, and a complete re-roofing of all the buildings.
Alaska Raceway Park is the only IHRA member track in Alaska since March 1, 1995. The great effort of Gregg Gunnarson was fundamental in achieving this important recognition, and the track was consistently shown to have positive growth and success on the track. In 2003, the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) distinguished Alaska Raceway Park as Track of the Year, and in 2012, it was recognized as the Summit SuperSeries Track of the Year for Division 6.
The Lackey family took over ownership of the corporate stock at the Alaska Raceway Park in the autumn of 1998. Earl and Karen Lackey, accompanied by their daughter Michelle Lackey Maynor, currently run the track. They are committed to enhancing the site, which includes constructing new bleachers for the pit side and improving the main building through renovations that include expanding the snack bar and lounge, setting up a gift shop, enlarging the work shop, and installing advanced firefighting and track cleaning equipment. Other upgrades comprise paving the staging area and pit parking as well as putting in a separate gate for racers.
Since the track surface was withered and frost-heaved in spring 2000, there was a concerted effort to refurbish it. The installation of a new audio system, along with a radio transmitter, paved the way for volunteers to work on laying down a new bed using laser-controlled machinery before constructing a heated 300-foot concrete launch pad. They then laid down 4,100 feet of asphalt. VECO, Denali Concrete, the Operator's Union, and a donation of emulsion from Tesoro Refining and Marketing were instrumental in making this project successful. The installation of a new computerized timing system, state-of-the-art, and automated, culminated on May 21, 2000.
In 2002, the Lackeys purchased 155 acres previously leased from the State of Alaska, as well as an additional 27 adjoining acres owned by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. This procurement ensured the property's status became permanent and provided ample parking.
Alaska Raceway Park signed on as a new Division 6 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) track, in November 2019. ARP racers can now participate in NHRA Summit Racing Series, NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League, NHRA Jr. Street, and NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. The track will also host NHRA's special events such as the National DRAGSTER Challenge, NHRA Summit King of the Track, and NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League Challenge.
Various announcers have lent their voices to the drag strip PA system over the years. These include "Big Daddy" Dave, Jerry Pierce, Steve Byrd, Rodney Villanueva, "Big Schwag" Brett Wagner, "Chatterbox" Christa Mayfield, Alex Van Nice, Justin Giles, and Sean Farris.
From 1980 to 1986, an adjacent 1/4-mile dirt oval track was in operation. In 2016, a new 1/3-mile asphalt oval track made its debut through the backing of sponsors such as Tesoro Refining and Marketing, Pruhs Construction, Soper's Concrete, Valley Block and Concrete, E-Terra, Acutek Geomatics, New Horizons Telecom, and J.D. Steel Co. In February 2016, NASCAR sanctioned the oval track as a home track under its Whelen All-American Series. Consequently, the track became the first NASCAR-sanctioned track in Alaska and the northernmost NASCAR-sanctioned track worldwide.
Distinguished NASCAR racers such as Jordan Anderson, Jake Griffin, Bobby Reuse, Ken Schrader, Roger Reuse, and Joe Hudson have all taken part in races at Alaska Raceway Park, according to citations 8 and 9. Moreover, Keith McGee, who happens to be the first driver from Alaska to compete in any NASCAR series, also participated in races at this venue.
The following citations provide additional information about Alaska Raceway Park:
^ The Alaska Dispatch News (2014) reports that even fifty years after its inception, Alaska Raceway Park remains a vibrant and pulsating hub for racers, with adrenaline-pumping results.
^ According to the International Hot Rod Association's (IHRA) official website, the Alaska Raceway Park is a recognized track under its aegis.
^ Racing blog Motorsports Addiction (2004) highlights race outcomes and news, attesting to Alaska Raceway Park's active status as a racing venue.
^ Palm Beach International Raceway was awarded the IHRA Track of the Year honor in 2012 (Racepbir.com), evidencing the prestige and recognition associated with IHRA member tracks.
^ Recently, Alaska Raceway Park announced (NHRA, 2019) that it had signed on as an NHRA Member Track, further bolstering its role as an important destination for NASCAR enthusiasts.
The first NASCAR-sanctioned racing track in Alaska is set to host the Whelen (All-American) Series, as reported by Jerry Bonkowski in NBC Sports on June 2, 2016. In an article on NASCAR.com by NASCAR Digital Media, LLC on September 26, 2019, Alaska Raceway Park was dubbed as "NASCAR's Last Frontier". The park's all-time drivers list can be found on the raceak.com website, as well as the racing results of Keith McGee's career. For further information about the geographic coordinates of Alaska Raceway Park, please click on the provided external links section below.
This article requires additional references to verify its content. Assistance is needed to enhance this article by incorporating citations from reliable sources. Unsourced information may be called into question and may be subject to removal. Sources to consider include "Alabama High School Athletic
The Time of Year for VisitorsThe primary season for visitors takes place from late-May until early-September, with the most popular month being July. While the park remains open throughout the rest of the year, visitor services are extremely limited during this time.Climate and AttireDuring the summer,
Alaska experienced an increase in its population in 2022, as revealed by new estimates from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This marks the second consecutive year of growth after four years of decline.State demographers have also revised the population estimate for 2021,
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