Head on out to the Southern New Mexico (SNM) Speedway, located at the fairgrounds just west of town. On nights between March and November you’ll find a whole lot of people who are passionate about one thing: racing. From the drivers and their pit crews, to the fans and dedicated staff, everyone agrees a night at the Speedway is one big party where everyone is family.
“I was literally born at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. You could say I’ve been in love with racing since birth,” says track manager and promotor Rue Stone. “The best part of my job is meeting other people who love it as much as I do. We greet people with open arms here.”
start your engines
SNM Speedway’s dirt track started back in the 1970’s, but it really took off in the early 90’s when local businessman Royal Jones and co-owner Jimmy Ray took over. They also own El Paso Speedway Park. As drivers themselves, the men had spent many evenings surmising what they might do differently if they held the track reins.
It’s no surprise that operations have only gotten bigger and better. Over the years, they have focused on putting every cent of profit back into the development of the race track. Throughout the season, this United States Racing Association (USRA) sanctioned track hosts a regular races.
Cars range from entry-level bomber stock cars to high-powered sprint cars that can reach excess speeds. Other classes of cars that take to the SNM Speedway track include modifieds, x-mods, street stocks, late models, hornets, and super trucks.
peDal to the metal
Some fans enjoy the excitement of racing so much, the itch to get behind the wheel is too much to resist. Such was the case with 2014 USRA Modified National Champion Fito Gallardo. He and his son Jake were regular spectators at SNM Speedway for more than five years before they finally took the plunge and started racing themselves. “A friend of ours had a car. He let us take it around the track and we were hooked,” Fito remembers.
These days, Fito owns a construction company which affords him the opportunity to hit the road during race season and travel to big shows in Kansas, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, and even as far away as Minnesota. But it’s at the SNM Speedway where he says he and his crew feel most at home. “I live four miles from the track and we’ve been racing there for years, so I consider that ‘our track,’” he says. “Royal, Jimmy, and Rue do a great job keeping it in shape. We know everyone there and everyone gets along. I’m always there whether racing or not. I couldn’t do it without my wife Jackie’s support and of course all my crew guys. It’s a big family.”
Crossing The finish line
Fito is far from the only champion racer in the SNM Speedway family. Several prominent racers include Richard “The Gasman” Griffin, Johnny Herrera from the World of Outlaws racing series, and Las Cruces brothers Johnny and Stormy Scott. “This is where many racers cut their teeth and then start progressing through the different classes,” he explains. On any given race night at the track, there are drivers from all over the Southwest and the country.
Come out and see the show. Admission is $10 a person or $25 for a family pack which covers two adults and four kids under the age of 16. They’ve got food, drinks, and fun. Once you’re comfortable in the stands, just enjoy the sounds, smells, and sights.
For more information visit Sothern New Mexico Speedway’s website.
Posted by LasCruces.com