Stock cars on dirt

Jim Henry’s to be honored at Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday

Glenn Spangler prepares for a race at Fairgrounds Speedway earlier this year. The race circuit continues Friday and Saturday night at the fairgrounds. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Glenn Spangler prepares for a race at Fairgrounds Speedway earlier this year. The race circuit continues Friday and Saturday night at the fairgrounds.

For the first time in several years, dirt-track stock car racing will take place in Cortez during Fourth of July weekend.

Taking place at Fairgrounds Speedway on July 4 and July 5, the weekend’s races will feature five types of cars, including sport-compacts, hobby stocks, sport-mods, stock cars and modifieds.

As usual, preliminary heat races will lead off the action, followed by A-main events where drivers will battle for IMCA series points and cash prizes.

While both nights of racing promise to feature plenty of exciting action, the events on June 5 figure to be especially significant in that they will serve as a tribute to the late Jim Henry.

A construction worker for Torno America, Henry played an integral role in rebuilding the Fairgrounds Speedway track in 1990. After Henry passed away in 1993, his memory lived on through a series of Jim Henry Memorial Races, which took place every Fourth of July weekend for several years.

“We used to go up every Fourth of July and race in the Jim Henry Memorial,” said Fairgrounds Speedway promoter Reagan Tafoya. “When we found out that we were getting the Fourth of July weekend, we decided that we would have one last Jim Henry tribute.”

(Jim Henry) was just an average guy who loved racing,” explained Jim Henry’s widow, Margaret Henry. “He had a lot of friends at the Cortez track and was well liked.”

To help celebrate Henry’s legacy, Fairgrounds Speedway will offer fans the opportunity to walk onto the track and meet drivers on July 5. Drivers will also mingle with fans in the stands.

In light of the Fourth of July holiday, veterans will also be able to attend Saturday’s races at half price.

“Saturday will be fan appreciation night,” explained Tafoya. “We have great fans in Cortez and we want to say thanks.”

As always, races will begin at dusk and last until the final A-main event of the evening. General admission tickets and pit passes will be available and prizes will be raffled off during race intermissions.