Behind the scenes: Alaska Raceway Park in photos
By Brandon White | Thursday, May 12, 2022
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Just over 40 miles from Anchorage, Alaska, lies Alaska Raceway Park, one of the newest and most unique short track complexes in the United States.
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The decision to build a short track at Alaska Raceway Park back in 2016 proved to be a popular one among local fans and drivers, all of whom were eager to experience what racing would be like at the northernmost NASCAR-sanctioned track in the United States.
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Along with providing thrilling on-track action across several different divisions, Alaska Raceway Park also features one of the most scenic views across any motorsports venue in the world, as the 6,398-foot Pioneer Peak sits right next to the track along with the surrounding forest.
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Only a handful of chapters have been written in the story of Alaska Raceway Park’s short track, but general manager Michelle Lackey Maynor and the rest of the facility’s staff remain committed toward creating a vibrant racing culture in Alaska and provide their local drivers more national exposure.
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Before any oval racing took place at Alaska Raceway Park, drag racing was the main draw at the facility.
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The first major attempt to bring oval racing to Alaska Raceway Park occurred back in 1980, when a small dirt oval was built right next to the drag strip. This venture did not last long and the dirt track was ultimately closed in 1986.
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In 1995, Alaska Raceway Park became the only drag strip in the state sanctioned by the International Hot Rod Association. Three years later, Earl and Karen Lackey took over ownership of Alaska Raceway Park before handing over day-to-day operations of the track to their daughter Michelle in 2021.
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Since taking over the facility, the Lackeys have strived to make Alaska Raceway Park a top destination for the state’s growing auto racing fanbase. The construction of the paved oval only served to bolster that goal for the Lackeys, as Ken Schrader and Jordan Anderson have been among the notable drivers to make laps around the short track.
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Now that the oval and drag strip have the support of NASCAR and the National Hot Rod Association respectively, a bright future is ahead for Alaska Raceway Park as the staff makes final preparations for a new and exciting season of short-track competition.