Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Round, round we go

Red River Co-op Speedway offers thrills and spills

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The weather may be cooling off, but the racing action at Red River Co-op Speedway is heating up at a feverish pace as drivers in all classes vie for track supremacy.

To get you up to speed, our local track can be found just five minutes south of the Perimeter on Pembina Highway (Highway 75), just past scenic St. Norbert. The track opened way back in 1973 as Winnipeg Speedway, later became Victory Lane Speedway and is now officially known as the Red River Co-op Speedway.

The high-bank dirt oval race track is owned and operated by Walt Morris, the owner of Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Winnipeg Suzuki and Winnipeg Collision Centre. Morris has done a commendable job of not only maintaining the track surface for fast-paced racing action but also providing great concessions and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Last Thursday, my buddy Evel Dave Radey and I had the opportunity to race during intermission in the track's fleet of four-cylinder cars. To say this was a riot would be a total understatement. While the crowd was surely a bit bored by our slow-moving antics, from the seat of the battered Pontiac Sunfire I was driving it may as well have been the Daytona 500. Ultimately, Radey beat me, finishing third in a four-car race. Just as I was about to make my big move, the checkered flag appeared. "Wow Willy, you were last," commented one of my friend's cheeky kids as we made our way back up to the stands. The big winner in our lukewarm heat was Sherman Asperin, 32, a technician at Birchwood Honda West. It was his first time driving a stock car and he was stoked. "That was friggen awesome," he said with a mile wide grin. "This could be the best day of my life."

Dwayne Pettitt, 35, an aircraft mechanic with the Canadian Forces, won the opportunity to drive the car at a hockey tournament in which his son was playing. "It was a total thrill, but my son was jealous he didn't get to drive," said Pettitt, who roared past me and Radey on the final lap of our six-lap race. It was all in good fun, but the real action took place later in the night when the 'real' racers took to the track.

There are a number of classes racing each week, ranging from entry-level racers right up to fire-breathing dragons that tear around the track at a lightning-fast pace.

With the cooler fall weather upon us, the cars are faster than ever and even though we hate to see a driver wreck his or her car, you can rest assured at least a couple of fenders will get bent every week.

The big winners last week were Andy Martens in street stock, Wally Butler in lighting sprints, Jamie Vernaus in super truck, George Balcaen in super stock, Ian Rousseau in modified and Ricky Weiss in late model.

If you've never been to Red River Co-op Speedway, you owe it to yourself to witness this cavalcade of speed in person. In addition to being great fun for the entire family it's also a great place for a date with your sweetheart. There's just something about all that speed that really gets the blood flowing!

For upcoming race schedules and complete driver standings, check them out on the web (www.redrivercoopspeedway.com).

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2012 F7

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