Cortez racing season starts this weekend

By Edmundo Carrillo
Journal Sports Editor

Most parents tell their children not to drive fast, but that’s not the case in the Kibel household.

Dakota Kibel, 20, will be racing alongside his father, Jay, at this weekend’s stock car races at the Montezuma County Speedway. Dakota is the reigning Colorado southern sport mod state champion.

“We like it because it’s a family event,” Dakota said. “Its something we keep in the family and something that we all enjoy doing.”

Regan Tafoya, 38, has been promoting the event for the past two years and said he expects between 60 and 80 racers in five different classes. The biggest class will be using methanol alcohol, instead of conventional gasoline, to power their vehicles.

The alcohol-powered cars boast high-compression, 600-horsepower engines that run better on methanol.

“The alcohol keeps the motors cool but also creates a big gnarly explosion in the engine cylinder,” Tafoya said. “It makes for a loud noise and a lot of horse power and a lot of fun. When things are set up just right you feel like you’re driving around in a roller coaster. Your head is pinned up against the side of your seat.”

Dakota and Jay will be racing southern sports mods, which is the class just below the methanol-powered cars. They have an all-aluminum body that looks identical to the alcohol-powered vehicles except the southern mods have a spoiler. There will also be a beginner class. Anyone with a four-cylinder, two-wheel drive vehicle fitted with a roll cage can compete.

Tafoya, a 13-year racing veteran, will not be competing this year in order to make sure the event runs smoothly. He credits the many volunteers that helped out this year for making the event successful.

“There’s a lot of people that support that race track and want to see it survive,” Tafoya said. “What’s really keeping that place open is the community and the volunteers that come out. They’re putting their blood sweat and tears into that place to keep it running.”

The event kicks off 7 p.m. Friday and will conclude on Saturday evening.

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