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The Thrill of the Chill: 25 Winter Races

ice race row of cars

You know the drill.

Ten minutes before you plan to leave for work, you venture outside in the freezing cold and, watching your breath form before you as you do so, get the thing warmed up. Most of us hate getting inside of cold, frozen cars.

A select group of drivers, however, embraces the cold. Many of them can nimbly handle a car or motorcycle in sub-zero temperatures, smoothly drifting over a patch of ice when, for most of us, our muscles would be too frozen to react.

Here are 25 winter races in the US and Canada where you can catch these awesome drivers in action.

Ice Speedway’s World Championship ICE Racing Series

The ICE Racing Series is one of your best chances to see ATV and motorbike races on a frozen track, which is just exhilarating stuff if you’re a racing fan.

The first World Championship ICE Racing Series at Ice Speedway took place in 1977 in Oklahoma. The first event this year took place on Saturday, January 9th, at the National US Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Illinois. The race on Saturday, January 23rd, at the Ford Center in Evansville was for the MidWest Championships.

More events will be added to the calendar soon, so be sure to check the website for details.

The Wisconsin State Ice Racing Championship in Dexterville, Wisconsin

The Central Wisconsin Ice Racing Association is all about winter bike and ATV riding. With the mild December 2015 weather, however, some of the events on its schedule had to be altered.

That said, on Sunday, February 7th, the Weyauwega Pro/Am is going forth as planned, as is the Wisconsin State Ice Racing Championship in Dexterville on Sunday the 14th. This event has a 20-year history and is one of the favorites of the CWIRA members. The group finishes February with two more races, one on the 21st at Lake Arbutus in Hatfield and the other on the 28th in Humbird.

The Adirondack Motor Enthusiast Club’s (AMEC) Ice Racing Championships in Broadalbin, New York

“Drivers refuse to put their racecar away when the snow flies,” AMEC says. Its members and volunteers have been busily working since late 2015 to prepare for this year’s Ice Racing Championships. Look for events every Sunday all winter long around the region. Times change to accommodate weather, so check the AMEC website for precise times and locations.

The Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Winter Flurry Races in Atlanta, Georgia

Just because it doesn’t get very cold in Atlanta doesn’t mean that the Atlanta Motor Speedway can’t have some winter fun. On Saturdays from February until April, you can check out the Winter Flurry Races. These exciting icy rides are a delight to watch.

The International Ice Racing Association’s (IIRA) Thunder Bay Autosport Club Races in Rochester, Minnesota

The IIRA has already had to cancel a number of events on its 2016 calendar due to unseasonably balmy weather. While that’s a major bummer, it also means that the group’s racers are just champing at the bit to go.

They’ll get their chance on the weekend of February 6th and 7th in the Don Kettering Memorial Race. The IIRA also has events planned for February 13th and the weekend of February 20th at Madison Lake, and the weekend of February 27th at East Rush Lake.

yellow car on snow

Kern County Raceway Park’s Winter Series at the Dirt Track in Bakersfield, California

Bring your jacket when you see the Winter Series at the Dirt Track hosted at Kern County Raceway Park. The first two of the four Saturday events already took place on January 16th and the 30th, so don’t miss the last two on February 13th and the 26th. A variety of cars are welcome, including b-mods, hobby stocks, American stocks, mini dwarfs and even modified vehicles.

“With the clay we have brought in and the improvements we have made to the race track, drivers will love the racing surface and the fans will be treated to some great racing during the Winter Series here at the Dirt Track,” race organizer John Piker says.

Alaska Sports Car Lions Club in Anchorage, Alaska

Few states have drivers as adept at ice racing as Alaska. The Alaska Sports Car Lions Club will host ice races all winter long from January until April. Every race is on a Saturday, so come by on February 13th and the 27th, March 12th and the 26th, and April 2nd to round out the season. All races take place on the Big Lake and start at 11 a.m. They allow caged trucks, caged studded cars, and non-caged non-studded cars to race.

Canyon Speedway’s Winter Challenge 2016 in Peoria, Arizona

Chill out, even in Arizona, when you attend the Winter Challenge 2016 at Canyon Speedway. The series takes place in late January with practices the night before each event. If you missed the Winter Challenge, the races here don’t stop. There are plenty of other events from February to October nearly every single weekend.

Cocopah Speedway’s IMCA Winter Nationals in Somerton, Arizona

Another option for Arizona residents who can’t get enough of winter racing is the IMCA Winter Nationals at Cocopah Speedway. The first night kicks off on Friday, February 5th, with modified vehicles, stock cars, sportmods and hobby stocks all vying for the top prize.

Make sure to come back for other nights of the Winter Nationals on Saturday, February 6th; Thursday, February 9th; Friday, February 12th; and Saturday, February 13th.

The Lake George Carnival in Lake George, New York

We already mentioned how AMEC will compete at the Lake George Carnival, but there’s even more to see in February. Each weekend, you can enjoy food and entertainment for kids and adults, but the real moment that everyone’s waiting for is the racing, which is different each weekend.

On the first weekend, from the 6th to the 7th, see unique outhouse racing. During the second weekend, on the 13th and 14th, there’s ATV ice racing. The third weekend, the 20th and 21st, will feature cars blitzing on a sheet of ice. Close out another successful year on the 27th and 28th with 4×4 truck racing.

foggy snow

Midwest Ice-Racing Association (MIRA) in Hayward and Superior, Wisconsin

Keep your fingers crossed for the cold weather to continue so MIRA can get its season underway. The group already had to cancel several races in early January because the weather was too warm, but now that it’s cooled off considerably, the February 13th race at Eddy’s Resort in Mille Lacs, Minnesota, and the February 27th race at Barkers Island in Superior should go ahead as scheduled.

Our Gang Ice Racing in Georgetown, Colorado

Founded in 1965, Our Gang Ice Racing started off with a few drivers who enjoyed wrapping chains around the tires of their 4x4s and racing them in wintry conditions. Nearly 40 years later, not much has changed. The group’s season started in mid-January, but there’s still time to catch the Studs & Cheaters races at Georgetown Lake on Saturdays in February and the Bare Rubber races at Georgetown Lake on Sundays in February.

American Motorcyclist Association’s (AMA) Ice Race Grand Championships in Waterford, Michigan

Michigan residents, keep your schedule open the weekend of February 13th and the 14th, when the talented AMA racers gather on an oval-shaped course at the Waterford track to determine which one wins it all.

Ken Saillant, the AMA track racing manager, spoke excitedly about the event: “Our AMA racers wait all year for this event. White Lake Racing’s partnership with the AMA offers racers a top-notch event to showcase their talents. The facility is located just outside the Detroit metro area, so we’re expecting the race to draw a lot of local fans in addition to racers and their families.”

Clear Creek County 2016 Ice Racing Championships in Georgetown, Colorado

The Clear Creek County Ice Racing Championships take place in Georgetown, Colorado. March is still frosty enough for winter racing, and on Sunday the 6th you can check out the 2016 Cheater Invitational and then witness street bare rubber cars competing for the bronze, pro street studs battling for the silver and competition studs racing for the gold.

Central New York Ice Racing Association Inc. (CYNIRA) in Dundee Township, New York

The big race is on for CYNIRA on the weekend of February 7th and the 8th. Racers start bright and early at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday when they converge at the Waneta Inn. Breakfast will be served and registration takes place at that time. The racers and their vehicles will then be unleashed upon Waneta Lake, the Black Rock Speedway and Honeoye Lake.

icy path

Discover Wisconsin Presents the St. Germain Radar Racers in Saint Germain, Wisconsin

When it comes to ice racing, you can take your pick with the St. Germain Radar Racers. There’s snow dragging on the Twilight snow track where racers cruise along on snowmobiles. Women compete on the same track in the same vehicles in another race. There’s also ice dragging on a track that’s 1,000 feet of slippery snowy fun. Stop February 12th and 13th to check it all out.

Thunder Bay Autosport Club in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

The IIRA in Minnesota, noted above, is already racing in association with the Thunder Bay Autosport Club, but this Canadian group also hosts its own events. Given its hometown, the racers are used to bitter cold. The 2016 schedule begins on Saturday, January 23rd, with races every weekend through March 13th. All races are held on the Mission Bay Ice Racing Site.

Northern Alberta Sports Car Club (NASCC) in Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

For more than 50 years, NASCC, another Canadian ice racing group, has fearlessly challenged the ice. From January through the end of March, there’s an event each weekend near a snowy lake. The traction fluctuates, but the course is designed to prevent racers from ever accelerating more than 100 miles per hour. According to the NASCC, drivers prevent about 10 percent of damage to their cars and tires when racing in the snow compared to concrete.

The Boonville Snow Festival’s Adirondack Cup Ice Oval Snowmobile Racing in Boonville, New York

The Boonville Snow Festival’s Adirondack Cup Ice Oval Snowmobile Racing normally takes place the last weekend in January, but organizers decided to cancel the 2016 event. However, they’re already getting ready for next year’s event, slated for January 27th through January 29th, 2017.

On the Saturday of the festival, including this year, there’s a Family Fun Day with snowball softball, snowshoe races, snow sledding, ice sculptures, fireworks at night and a parade with torchlights and snowmobiles.

Jaffrey Ice Racing Association, Inc. in Jaffrey, New Hampshire

Every year since 1985, nonprofit Jaffrey Ice Racing Association has hosted races on Lake Contoocook, Northwood Lake, Whitney Pond and Shallow Hill Pond. Every race takes place on a Sunday from January until March. The winner, determined by points for the duration of the season, does get a trophy.

motorcylist on ice

Merrill Ice Draggers in Merrill, Wisconsin

Claiming that it’s got “the fastest 1/8th mile drag auto racing on ice in the world,” Merrill Ice Draggers has some pretty impressive world records: One of its racers clocked a top speed of 141.6 MPH on the ice.

The group was founded in 1965 and hosts races on Saturdays in January and February. Stop by for the Memorial Race on February 6th, a standard race on the 13th, and the championship on the 20th.

District 14 Ice Racing in Highland, Michigan

A branch of the AMA, District 14 Ice Racing hosts races on Sundays from January through February. The group welcomes riders of all styles, including those with non-studded tires and studded tires. Whether you prefer watching racers on ATVs or motorcycles, District 14 Ice Racing delivers.

Oconto Falls Sno Jokers’ World Series of Ice Drags in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin

If you have some time on February 12th and 13th, do check out the Oconto Falls Sno Jokers’ World Series of Ice Drags, an awesome snowmobile racing event. For the past six years, racers have competed on four lanes of slick snow on a track that’s more than 1,600 feet long. Visitors will love the heated tent where staff sells drinks and food. Once the race wraps up, there’s live music.

Pro Vintage Racing’s Ice Oval Racing in Wausau, Wisconsin

For the past 20 years, Pro Vintage Racing and its brand of “vintage snowmobile racing” has captivated Wisconsin audiences. The Ice Oval Racing series will criss-cross Wisconsin on Saturdays in January and February and features more than 30 sled classes. On February 6th, head out to Wausau for a race. The next week, the fun continues in West Salem on the 13th before moving on to Manawa on the 20th. The season wraps up in Francis Creek at the 141 Speedway on the 27th.

Vintage Snowmobile Racing in Old Forge, New York

In upstate New York, where the snow can really fall, Vintage Snowmobile Racing lets the cold set in before beginning its races in late January. The talented racers here will participate in the 52nd Lancaster Grand Prix on Saturday, February 6th in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

All other events in February are in New York, including:

  • The Round Lake Ice Race in Altamont on the 13th
  • The Piseco Lake Ice Race in Altamont on the 20th
  • The Utica Rome Speedway race in Vernon on the 27th
  • The Inlet New York race on March 12th.

 

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History on Wheels: 22 Car Museums in the Mountain States

Whether you prefer the classic styles of a bygone era or the sleek, contemporary designs of todays modern times, cars are always great to look at.

While auto shows tend to have a good selection of vehicles, car museums will house some unique, interesting finds from forgotten periods that you typically wont see anywhere else. These 22 museums in Rocky Mountain states are all worth a visit or two.

classic cars in museum

Colorado

The Gateway Canyon Auto Museum in Gateway

“Devoted to understanding and celebrating the history, science, art and social impact of the American car,” the Gateway Canyon Auto Museum is 30,000 square feet and features two galleries, the always-changing themed gallery and the permanent fixture that is the main gallery. There are more than 50 cars between the two displays.

Shelby American Collection in Boulder

Fans of the talented Carroll Shelby, the famous racer and car designer, will love this Boulder museum in his honor. The Shelby American Collection showcases his best work and that of the Shelby American Team, including his GT350 Shelby Mustangs, Ford GT40 and Willment Coupes. In addition to the cars, you can spend a whole afternoon browsing through Shelby tributes, rare images, race records and artwork.

Vehicle Vault in Parker

Part “elite custom garage community” and part auto gallery, Vehicle Vaults Gallery Permanent Collection boasts hot rods, pre-War models, exotics, Prohibition era vehicles, custom cars, drive-ins, vehicles from the Brass Era, classic muscle cars and more. Youll want to come back again and again to check out the calendar of events that this 35,000-square foot, 20-acre building hosts.

Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver

The staff at the Forney Museum of Transportation decided to open a museum when they received a 1921 Kissel, and the collection has only grown since then to encompass more than 600 vehicles and other modes of transportation from nearly all time periods.

Just some of the vehicles include a Denver cable car from 1888, an Indian Motorcycle collection from 1913 through 1953, and even the Kissel “Gold Bug” Forney Locomotive that Amelia Earhart owned in 1923.

Cussler Museum in Arvada

Specializing in vintage cars, all vehicles (and there are more than 100 of them) at the Cussler Museum, named after founder Clive Cussler, were produced between 1906 and 1965. Note that the museum is only open from May until September each year.

Rambler Ranch in Elizabeth

As a certified non-profit museum, Rambler Ranch has a whole host of Rambler vehicles, but it also displays AMCs and Nashes from between 1909 and 1980. Most of the older cars have been restored by owners Greg Kissinger and Terry Gale to look fresh and beautiful. If you get hungry, make sure to stop at the gas barbeque and kitchen, which has more than 20 tables and delightful period décor.

Dougherty Museum in Longmont

Make it a point to visit Longmont in the summer between June and August, when the Dougherty Museum is open. This museum is stocked with cars that are more than 100 years old in some cases and can still purr if you put the key in the ignition. Patiently and precisely restored, some of these vehicles date all the way back to when manufacturers equipped cars with steam engines.

The Gunnison Pioneer Museum in Gunnison

The Gunnison County Pioneer and Historical Society helped create the Gunnison Pioneer Museum in 1906. Open annually from May until September, you can see old railroads, homes, schools, post offices and memorabilia. Dont miss the Andy Mallett Antique Car Museum, established in 2000. Mallett personally restored the 25 cars here.

inside of old red car

Nevada

National Automobile Museum in Reno

Since 1989, the National Automobile Museum has grown to become one of the most renowned car museums in the country. Its no wonder then that almost two million people have visited over the years to check out carriages, race cars and other rarities. There are 200+ vehicles to witness, and with tours and theater presentations, youll have quite a busy day. Even better, the museum is open all year, seven days a week, only closing on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Don Laughlins Classic Car Collection in Laughlin

Don Laughlin was one of the biggest names in casinos (and the namesake of this town), but theres more to do than gamble at Don Laughlins Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino. On the gaming grounds youll find Don Laughlins Classic Car Collection, which is stocked with nearly 100 cars. Laughlin also loved motor vehicles, and the ones youll see are all owned by him. This museum is free and operates every day of the week.

The Auto Collections at the Linq in Las Vegas

You also dont have to pay to get into the Auto Collection, housed in the Linq casino. The showroom stocks more than 250 cars in its 125,000 square feet of space. If you happen to fall in love with a car on the spot, you can actually buy it here. You can also trade and sell your vehicle to a hopeful buyer.

more classic cars lined up

Arizona

Dwarf Car Museum in Maricopa

Dwarf cars are more compact vehicles made famous by Ernie Adams, who produced a lot of these vehicles in his day. See the fruits of his labor at the Dwarf Car Museum. The Raceway Bar & Grill in Maricopa is the perfect way to put a capper on your afternoon, or you could venture over to the Harrahs Ak-Chin Resort.

The Franklin Auto Museum in Tucson

Thomas Hubbard of the H.H. Franklin Foundation created and runs the Franklin Auto Museum. “The museum is a means to continue his collection of classic Franklin automobiles, and to provide an opportunity to develop a comprehensive Franklin Museum covering all years of the companys production,” the museum explains. If you own a Franklin yourself and are interested in learning more about it, Hubbard actually offers a research service that will tell you more about your vehicle.

Penske Racing Museum in Phoenix

Get your heart pumping with a trip to the Penske Racing Museum. Exhibits show the entirety of Penskes rise to fame, such as a 1963 Riverside 250 driven by Roger Penske or a 1963 Pontiac Catalina that he also rode in. You can also see various Penske Indianapolis 500 cars, including some that Indy 500 winners like Sam Hornish, Jr. drove.  

Martin Auto Museum in Phoenix

Open every week Thursday through Saturday, the Martin Auto Museum is also a great place for corporate events, parties, weddings and any other social event. Mel Martin is the founder of the museum. He and his team have preserved a number of classic vehicles so that people today can learn more about these cars.

Golden Era Toy and Auto Museum in Coolidge

As the name suggests, the Golden Era Toy and Auto Museum has both toys and vehicles dating from the 1920s. Among the wind-up and cast-iron toys are 10 amazing vehicles, including a 1937 Packard. The museum is open yearly from January until May.

restored cars bling

Utah

Browning Kimball Classic Car Museum at Ogdens Union Station in Ogden

Ogdens Union Station includes an old train station, two galleries and four museums, one of which is the Browning Kimball Classic Car Museum. All cars date back to the Golden Age between 1901 and 1930, and makes include classic Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles and more.

Barbara and Matt Browning first bought a 1930 Packard Model 733 Standard Eight Dual Cowl Phaeton back in 1971, and the two grew the museum from there, acquiring and restoring old cars. These vehicles are sometimes brought out and used for city events, too.

Price Museum of Speed in Salt Lake City

Another museum with rows and rows of winning racecars, the Price Museum of Speed is one of the only places to see vehicles that have won events at Mille Miglia, the Indie 500, the Gordon Bennett Cup, Daytona Beach, the Briarcliff Cup, 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Grand Prix and more. Some of the first cars youll spot on arrival are a 1907 Renault Vanderbilt Racer and a 1904 Peerless Green Dragon.

Classic Cars International Museum in Salt Lake City

If youre visiting Salt Lake City, the Classic Cars International Museum is close to Salt Lake City International Airport. The proceeds from admissions go to the Utah Homeless Boys Ranch. There are always 75 of nearly 250 cars displayed, and fresh ones are always being switched out. Some of the favorites include a 1957 Rolls Royce, a 1926 Pierce-Arrow Roadster and a Stutz Bearcat from the same year. Other cars at the museum were produced from 1913 until 1980.

Lakeside Petroliana Museum at AAA Lakeside Storage & Museum in Provo

At first glance, the AAA Lakeside Storage & Museum doesnt look much like a museum at all, despite its name. Primarily a storage facility for high-tech equipment, if you visit on Mondays through Saturdays, you can check out the Lakeside Petroliana Museum on the grounds. With an old-school gas station, dozens of road signs from yesteryear and of course some classic cars, this outdoor display is quite a memorable one.

white car museum

New Mexico

Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque

The Unser Racing Museum is owned by the legendary Unser racing family. Youll learn plenty as you watch the early days of racing evolve to the modern sport that it is today. Older vehicles have been restored to pristine glory, and theres even a trophy room, one of the newer additions that the museum added when it expanded recently.

Russells Truck and Travel Museum Gallery in Glenrio

If youre already cruising down Route 66, you should make a pit stop at Russells Truck & Travel Center, where youll find Russells Truck and Travel Museum. Absolutely free, this Route 66-themed space includes memorabilia, road signs, old gas station items and antique cars shining under the bright florescent lights. Its a wonderful slice of Americana.

 

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