The spectacular view from...
The spectacular view from the grandstands is worth the price of admission. It includes the rocky cliffs of the Colorado River, Lake Havasu, the Mohave Desert, and distant mountains in California.
Even with no cars on the track the view would be worth the price of admission. The grandstands at Havasu 95 Speedway face a panorama that includes the rugged cliffs of the Colorado River, Lake Havasu, the Mohave Desert and, in the distance, several mountain ranges of California. Early sunsets in winter and 6 p.m. start times make the view even more pleasurable.
Unlike most tracks, the race season at Havasu runs from September to May because of summer temperatures that can reach as high as 120 degrees. While much of the country is shoveling snow, residents of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, about 150 miles south of Las Vegas, enjoy a variety of racing on what the promoters call "the most scenic quarter-mile track in the Southwest."
Originally built as a quarter-mile dirt track by members of the Havasu Off-Road Racing Association, the facility opened for its first full season on March 11, 1989. It took almost seven years from conception to opening day to construct the track. With help from local businesses, utility companies, and city and county officials, volunteers made the track possible. A deposit of local clay also helped, but the clay ran out and after seven years of operation the track closed in 1994.
It was paved and reopened in March of 1996 under different management, but closed again in 2000.
Dennis Rudin, the current track manager, tells how he and fellow racer Bill Rozhon came to resurrect the track and reopen it in 2006.
"A friend of mine we used to race with, Dan Paulis, called me and said there was a chance of starting the racetrack again," Rudin recalls. "We started by writing letters, then we went to the City Council. Unfortunately, Dan died before we got the track running, so our VIP section is named after him."
"It took us a year to get it up," says Rozhon. "We took the city officials in the back gate at Lucas I-10 Speedway and explained racing to them."
Once the project had official approval there was a lot of work to be done. "There were no fences, no crash walls," Rohzon says.
But local businesses stepped in to help save the day for track management. "Campbell Redi-Mix donated 500 coffin blocks and supplied trucking," adds Rohzon. "GNG Automotive brought out a forklift. That saved my life!"
Billboards were constructed not only for advertising opportunities but as sound barriers. "We had three complaints about noise before we opened," Rudin says. "I personally called each of them and explained we would have strict sound requirements. We haven't had one complaint since we opened."
"We have a muffler rule," Rozhon adds. "We also have a self imposed curfew of 10 p.m. Sometimes it's a little hard to get it all in."
The track is situated in Sara Park, a county facility leased to Lake Havasu City and sitting on Bureau of Land Management property five miles south of town.
"There is an intergovernmental agreement that the city takes over permanently in 2009," says Rudin. "There are over 1,100 acres in the park."
Currently the track's neighbors are baseball and softball fields, a BMX track, a field for remote control airplanes, hiking trails, a shooting range, and an in-line hockey field. World class rodeo grounds are currently under construction and soccer and football fields are in the 15-year plan for the park.
Racing at Havasu 95 Speedway (95 because it is on Route 95) includes Late Models, Modifieds, Legends, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks and Bandoleros. Spicing up the programs are special features like last year's Dairy Days, which included cow races and an ice cream eating contest; Happy Turkey Day,featuring turkey bowling and a mashed potato eating contest; and an Easter egg hunt during March with the Easter Bunny in attendance. There's even a class for old police cars. "The problem is," says Rozhon, "they're getting too fast."