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      Organizers say controversial race track a success

      Last Saturday was the first race on a controversial ice track in Escanaba Township.

      According to Patrick Barron, one of the property owners, the race went exceedingly well. Over 70 racers and more than 160 vehicles parked to watch them.

      The track came under fire in November when Escanaba Township said they needed a permit for the track, and didn't receive one. Track officials claim they already got the needed permit.

      A hearing is scheduled in circuit court January 23, but Tuesday was all about preparation for this Saturday's race.

      There is 10 to 12 inches of ice now, but more water was pumped to get up to 18 inches of ice.

      "We're building up the ice now because it's going to be so cold this week," said Barron. "We're going to try to get to that level we want so we can keep racing and just shave off the top. We're excited for this Saturday. Please come on out and join us. There's food on site, you can walk into the pits, you can visit with the racers. We can guarantee you'll have a great time."

      It's five dollars for a vehicle to get in. The money raised benefits local charities.

      Races are from 1 to 4:30 p.m.