Over 200 cars ready to race at the IMCA Winter Nationals at Cocopah Speedway
SOMERTON, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The IMCA Winter Nationals have kicked off at Cocopah Speedway in Somerton.
"If you want to see excitement come out and watch there is nothing better than live racing," 3-time NASCAR Truck Series champion Matt Crafton said. "It's one thing to be able to watch something on tv, a nascr race or a dirt race, but if you come out and watch and see the show they put on. there is no down time. Once there is cars on the track it is go go go."
"It's a cool event," driver Taylor Kuehl said. "You can meet drivers, come down to the pits, even sit in a race car if you want and the racing is really exciting."
236 cars have entered this year's event, which brings together racers from all over the United States and Canada.
"We have a lot of beautiful rigs," promoter Brad Whitfield said. "We have some complex rigs, some very simple rigs. Grassroots racers that come from across the country. We have 27 states and 3 provinces of Canada represented. Out here there are men, women, boys, girls that are racing."
Despite a little bit of rain on day one, Arizona's climate and Cocopah Speedway offer a unique opportunity for drivers.
"I think because nowhere else is racing during the winter," Kuehl said. "Arizona has the best weather and really good race tracks, so we definitely take advantage of that."
Cocopah Speedway features a dirt track that is almost a half-mile long. While many racing fans might be accustomed to watching races on asphalt, Crafton explains that dirt racing is very different.
"Asphault is a lot less forgiving," Crafton, who is competing, said. "At the end of the day when you get loose on asphault it is a lot harder to save. Dirt is a lot more forgiving, but at the same time all that slipping in sliding, its a handful all the time. In the nascar world you don't get to move your hands that much. But that is what dirt racing is so great about. Everyone is side by side moving about as the grooves change as well."
The Winter Nationals feature five different classes of race cars: IMCA modified, Sport Mods, Stock Cars, Hobby Stocks, and Sport Compacts.
"The IMCA modifieds, end the corner on a really good race track, get really good speed at about 108-14 miles an hour," Whitfield said. "In the stock cars you are pushing speeds close to that in the 100 mile an hour range. Sport compacts are probably 40-45 being a 4-cylinder class, front wheel drive."
Races will continue through Saturday. Then they will resume on Jan. 10 through Jan. 14. For more information visit: http://www.racecocopahspeedway.com/