- Associated Press - Saturday, March 14, 2015

RIGBY, Idaho (AP) - When Terry Ray gets into a race car, he travels back in time.

Feeling the rumble of the engine and hearing the roar of the crowd, the 71-year-old is once more a restless teenager - ready to take on the world.

“When you get up in there, and you’re in the staging lanes and you’re next for the burnout box, I don’t care who you are, you’re 18 again,” Ray said. “Boy, your adrenaline is going and you’re ready to open up a can of whoop ass on somebody.”

Ray grew up racing, but gave up the hobby once he started a family. After his children grew up and moved out of the house, Ray decided he wanted to try his hand again. He already owned more cars than he could count and his business, Rayco Plating in Rigby, features a shop where he does restoration and modification work.

The only problem was the Pocatello track where he once raced had closed down. The next closest track to Idaho Falls is in Anaconda, Mont.

So two years ago, Ray started searching for land to build his own drag strip. The strip will be called Sage Raceway.

“There is a need here for a drag strip,” Ray said. “If you go racing around here now, you have to go three hours in order to get to a track.”

Ray searched throughout eastern Idaho without success.

Then some friends in the Midnight Muscle Car Club tipped him off to some land they were eyeing, but didn’t have the money needed to buy it. Ray purchased 14 acres on the corner of 45th Road West and West 89th Road North, west of Interstate 15.

Since the land is zoned agriculture, he had to go before the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Commission to get a special use permit.

“It did go through the planning board. The planning board recommended an approval, there were no appeals, so it is approved,” said Steve Serr, county zoning administer.

Ray then took out a $600,000 loan to build an eighth-mile track, as well as concession stands, bathrooms and bleachers. The track is a modest start, Ray said, who hopes to purchase additional land to double the track’s length to a quarter mile.

Either way, he called it a step in the right direction and said people are interested.

The track will provide fun for the whole family, Ray said. He predicted no shortage of racers, including some of his friends - all of a similar age. Some refer to them as the “Viagra racers.”

“We’re old guys, and they think we ought to be watching instead of racing,” Ray said, “but we go out there and kick their butts.”

Adam Trappa, 41, is president of the Midnight Muscle Car Club. Illegal street racing is rampant in eastern Idaho, Trappa said, but mostly because there is nowhere to legally race. That’s why Midnight Muscle started staging 100-foot drag races throughout the region.

Bonneville County Sheriff’s Capt. Sam Hulse said illegal racing does go on in eastern Idaho, but the prevalence is hard to quantify.

“I have no doubt that it’s occurring,” Hulse said. “To what level, I think that’s partially unknown to us, but we have had complaints. We are rural enough that a lot of times they can do that and be gone before we can get there.”

Trappa said a track would reduce the dangers associated with illegal street racing.

“Having a local drag strip will absolutely, 200 percent, two-thumbs-up, eliminate illegal street racing in eastern Idaho,” Trappa said. “This is something that is long overdue.”

Hulse said he is in favor of the drag strip, saying street racing is incredibly dangerous and anything that limits illegal races is a good thing.

A Facebook page for the raceway, set up last week, already has attracted 985 likes.

Ray hopes to hold races beginning in August. But it will be a short season, likely ending in late September. He is planning a full-blown season starting in the summer of 2016, which would include 10 weeks of races - running Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Dale Shippen, a fellow racer helping Ray out with concrete work, is champing at the bit to get his 1963 split-window Corvette on the track for a burnout.

“I think it will be extremely successful,” he said. “There is a lot of interest, everybody I talk to is really excited about this.”


Information from: Post Register, https://www.postregister.com

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