A local tradition is rumbling back to life in Marquette County.
Under new management, the Sands Speedway, formally known as Thunder Valley, has recently undergone a major $20,000 facelift.
Owners hope the renovated speedway will provide an updated and functional setting for their grand opening August 6. The event will feature an invitational race hosted by Fox Marquette that is expected to draw racers from all over the country and Canada.
"We just wanted to see this unique track stay in operation, just keep the track going so future generations can come out and enjoy the racing," said Stan Wittler, co-owner of Sands.
Regular racers at Sands share the excitement the owners have for spurring new interest in the sport.
"It's just a lot of fun. A lot of good people. The adrenaline rush of a high power car...it's pretty neat," said Rob Goodwin, a racecar driver at Sands.
Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided I needed to experience stock car racing firsthand.
After a crash course in operating a racecar, I was ready to flip the ignition. With a friendly nudge in the right direction and a less than graceful start, the wide open track was mine for the taking.
I decided to keep the speed under 50 miles per hour so as to not show up any of the racers watching me. OK, maybe it was because I was terrified of crashing. Regardless, it didn't take long for me to feel that kick of adrenaline as I drove around, around, and...around again.
While I may not have a future in stock car racing, the owners of Sands hope to preserve one for future generations.