NM Motorsports Report September 2022

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SUPER PRO DIVISION • NM CRUISE 22’ • LOW CAR SHOW

SEPTEMBER 2022

VOL #7 ISSUE #5

UNSER RACING MUSEUM

FUN FOR ALL AGES!

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FUEL your desire. 14 DIFFERENT RACING FUELS

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341 Eubank NE Albuquerque, NM 505-293-9190


Publisher: RaDine William Media RaDineWilliamMedia@gmail.com

SEPTEMBER 2022 VOLUME 7 ISSUE 05

BUDDY TAYLOR By Spencer Hill

Editor: David Swope & Spencer Hill Design & Layout: David Lansa & Spencer Hill Writers: Dominic Aragon, TheRacingExperts.com Jonathan Fjeld, TheRacingExperts.com

LIGHTNING MCQUEEN & TOW MATER By David Swope

Michael Gonzales, NM Motor Events (FB) John Haverlin, TheCircuitJournal.com Spencer Hill, GlobalMotorSportsReport (FB) Paul Fields, Bucky Media Workz

NM CRUISE

Story by Michael Gonzales

JEFF GORDON

By John Haverlin, The Circuit Journal

would like you to remember: While it may be true that

“Winning isn’t everything” it is also really nice to have a skillfully designed, carefully produced and lovingly personalized trophy as a memento that will not ONLY celebrate your heroic victory but ALSO remind you to... remain humble.

Akasa’s

#remainhumble #ornot

WE’VE MOVE D! 3917 4TH STREET NW ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87107 (505) 881-2504 AKASA@AKASASTROPHY.COM ALLABOUTTROPHIESNM.COM

Trophies, Plaques, Engraving and More!

David Swope, NMMotorSportsReport.com

Photographers: Sara Pennington w/ Cherry Bomb Photoworks Gary Faules NM Cruise 2022, Provided by Michael Gonzales Nascar, TRE: Dominic Aragon, Erick Messer, Cheri Eaton Paul & Hillary Fields Bucky Media Workz WHM Photography National Sprint Car HOF Jody Williams RJ Lees Reggie Tibblets Nascar.com Indycar.com Cover photo: McQueen & Mater at the Unser Racing Museum 1776 Montano Blvd NW Albuquerque, NM 87107 unserracingmuseum.com


ThunderMo BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY By Paul Fields, Buckys Media Workz

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I

n 1958, John Bandimere Sr. purchased land just outside of Denver and created Bandimere Speedway. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains and adjacent to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, in Morrison, Colorado, a lifelong dream came to fruition. Bandimere is one the nicest facilities in the country with over 90 different events during the action-packed summer race season In 1988, the facility went through a $4 million dollar renovation. With many other renovation projects over its 60 plus year history, the only thing that hasn’t changed is the location. The track has several interesting quirks that make it a “big hit” during the Dodge Power Brokers Mile High Nationals. Most notable is the altitude at just over 5280 ft. above sea level. The track also has a 345 ft. cooling pad that starts 40 feet behind the starting line to 305 feet past the starting line. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to not only crew on a big show top fuel dragster but also got media credentials to the event. After crewing on the Warlord with Maverick, my racing partner and best friend Paul Vinyard, I had a pretty good idea what to expect. The crew at Totten Motorsports was great and made sure I had plenty to do. I learned a lot about what goes into tuning, running, and working on a big show car. The media side of the trip didn’t go as planned. I figured out rather quickly these cars are much harder to shoot then the usual cars I photograph. The violent nature and vibrations from big show cars are a lot harder to focus on. While the experience of shooting a NHRA national event is something I never dreamed I would do, I think I’ll stick to the nostalgia Nitro Cars, No Prep, and the ever popular Funny Car Chaos. Popular events at Bandimere include the Napa Night of Fire and Thunder, Trailer Source, Thunder on the Mountain and the wildly popular Brakes Plus Jet Car Nationals, with over a dozen jet cars on the property. Check out Bandimere speedway at www.bandimere.com. A huge thanks to the New Mexico Motor Sports Report for the Media Creds and David Lowe and Terry Totten for the opportunity to be a part of the team.

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BAN DI M E RE

SPEEDWAY The track can seat 28,500 spectators. The Top Eliminator Club provides one of the best views in all of drag racing. The pavilion tent is 43 x 150 feet, and features 752 angled premium seats. The VIP Tower has 4 floors, and features 13 corporate suites (variety of sizes, seating 25-75 spectators), a pair of Media Center suites, control room and catering area. Close to 50 acres of asphalt in pit area and staging lanes. The Mile-High NHRA Nationals is one of 24 events on the NHRA schedule. The event features more than 119,000 spectators over the course of the three-day event and hosts night qualifying on both Friday and Saturday. In 2016 and 2017, the event was broadcast live on Fox TV and scored a 0.6 final rating and 902,000 viewers on FOX Sunday afternoon, up 50% in ratings and 74% from 2015 viewership and garnered 868,000 viewers in 2017. Each Wednesday night, backed by the Colorado State Patrol, Bandimere opens to grudge runs, and features 225-plus cars weekly. Bandimere Speedway crowns champions in 28 different classes, as well as hosts unique events for Street Tuner, Mopar, Ford, Chevy, VW, and Truck enthusiasts. Elevation – 5800’ above sea level Sanctioned by the NHRA Host over 125 events each year

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BUDDY TAYLOR: A New Mexico Motorsports Legend

By Spencer Hill | Photos courtesy of National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and Jody Williams

T

he “Albuquerque Wild Child,” Buddy Taylor, will always be remembered as one of the best talents to ever come out of the state of New Mexico. At a time where names such as Unser, Opperman, and Strickland were at the top of the racing world, it was only a matter of time before people caught wind of the unique talent that was behind the wheel of the majestic No. 91. Albert Layne “Buddy” Taylor was born in Clovis, New Mexico on March 25, 1926, 8 NMMotorSportsReport.com

to parents Bertie Belle and Curtis who lived in Muleshoe, Texas at the time. In late 1947, at the age of 21, Buddy got into a racecar for the first time. He began his illustrious career racing at the Rio Grande Sports Bowl, the site of his very first victory. Similarly, to the Rio Grande Sports Bowl, Buddy regularly found himself in competition at the Cormit Speedway, a highbanked quarter mile, and Speedway Park, a fast 3/8-mile dirt track. All three of which operated in the Albuquerque metro in the 40s and 50s.

Aside from his time at the track, Buddy Taylor was known as a great family man. He married Rexene Lois Wilson in 1947, after the two had met at Rio Grande Sports Bowl. Together, they had three daughters and one son: Beverly, Duane, Janice and Judy. While Buddy’s statistics in modifieds, super-modifieds and sprint cars were the highlights of his career, he first grew up driving midget cars. Many might remember his time in “half-pint,” which was owned by Roy Rogers. As Buddy


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races remaining in the season, Taylor would still accrue enough points to be posthumously crowned the 1978 Arizona Sprint Car Champion.

moved forward with his career in the larger, higher horse powered divisions, he continued to dabble in midget cars here and there. Later in his career, he would credit the midget racing for helping to rejuvenate his sprint car determinations. One of the midget car owners that Buddy often raced with was Al Forbes. According to an article by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, it is said that Jerry Unser, Sr. once threatened to sue Forbes and Taylor over them allowing Bobby Unser to drive that same midget car without granting his approval first. Although they were friends at the time, it is well-known that Jerry Unser, Sr. was upset about this for a period of time.

Years later, Taylor was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa in 2001. The Taylor name was carried on at the track by his son Duane, who raced car No. 92, followed by his grandsons Jon and Jody who raced car Nos. 93 and 78 up until a couple of years ago. With Jon looking at the possibility of a return behind the wheel, it is still feasible to see a Taylor back on track in the next few years.

In 1949, Taylor made the switch to jalopy racing and was one of the first members of the New Mexico Motor Racing Association (NMMRA) during its establishment in 1951. Simultaneously, Buddy also picked up the Arizona Midget Owners & Driver Club championships back-to-back in 1953 and 1954. In simple terms, if it had a motor and wheels, Buddy Taylor wanted to be the fastest to ever maneuver it. From the late Fifties, Sixties, and deep into the Seventies, Taylor absolutely dominated racing across the Southwest earning over 200 main event wins. He amassed an unprecedented 13 NMMRA Championships, including nine in a row, and countless titles at Speedway Park. He then produced two Arizona State Championships in 1973 and 1978, with 36 feature wins coming at the famed Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Arizona. If there was a track that Buddy loved most, it was Keith Hall’s Manzanita Speedway. The daring half mile dirt oval was enough to make most drivers weak at the knees, but Taylor found comfortability at the front of the field in his sprint car. Not only was it the 10 NMMotorSportsReport.com

sight of three dozen victories for the “Albuquerque Wild Child,” but it was also where Taylor nearly captured the prestigious Western States Sprint Car Championships in 1971 and 1972, only to be topped by Jan Opperman both years. Tragedy struck on Saturday, September 23, 1978. Buddy Taylor was killed while running second in his sprint car in the third heat race at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. In the blink of an eye, the track that had helped prosper Taylor’s storied career was the very place where everything would come to a halt for one of the most beloved drivers in the region at the young age of 52. With only three

Bobby Unser once claimed that Buddy was, “quite capable of being the third man from Albuquerque to win at Indy. I’d put his talent on parallel with ours.” While that testimony never came to fruition, it is hard to argue with the fact that his talent was unparalleled by nearly anyone else. Although some of his competitors made it to a bigger stage than Buddy, it was never from a lack of talent or effort. Taylor was satisfied with his local success and delighted to know that he had a multitude of fans across Arizona and New Mexico. He was an excellent role model and his greatness expanded so much further than the track. Buddy was always thinking about the children, often giving them rides and gifting his trophies away to an unsuspecting young fan. It was a trait that everyone respected. While we may never know the rest of Buddy’s story that was left to be written, we are pleased to celebrate the lasting impression that was left behind from the New Mexican icon, Buddy Taylor.


GARY FAULES,

Executive Director – Unser Racing Museum By David Swope | Photos courtesy of Gary Faules

T

he Unser Racing Museum has a new leader. Gary Faules is his name, joining the team this summer after meeting Susan Unser at the memorial for Al at the Unser museum “I met Susan a couple of weeks ago and said, ‘I have a picture of someone you might know’ and showed her a picture of myself and Al Jr. at the Motorsports Hall of Fame induction Ceremony in Daytona, “said Gary. With the passing of Al Unser Sr. last year, Susan has been running the museum with a wonderful staff of docents and a board of directors. The hiring of Gary comes at critical time and he seems to be up to the task. “Susan discussed it with the board of directors and made me an offer,” explained Gary. “I have been happily retired and was not looking for a job but racing is something I love. I was humbled at the offer.” Gary Faules is an Olympic Gold Medalist in Skeet Shooting. “Actually, I have quite a few Gold Metals. I also have World Championship Metals from the Pan American Games,” Gary clarified. “There are all kinds of tournaments where you can constantly work on making yourself better.” Growing up, Gary grew up on a ranch fishing and hunting. “My Dad was a conversationist and you didn’t kill something for just sport, it must be for substance,” said Gary. “I learned a lot of valuable lessons which lead me to competitive shooting.” As a student at Stanford, Gary started shooting in a local gun club which lead to a state championship, national championship and all the way to the Olympics. Other interests of Gary included competing in the La Carrera Panamericana. “In the 50s, the Mexican Government wanted to increase tourism in Mexico so the sponsored a race that ran through the entire NMMotorSportsReport.com 11


country,” explained Gary. “In 2007, I was fortunate enough to be invited to go compete and raced my ’65 Shelby GT350R. Carroll Shelby was a very good friend of mine. Bob Bondurant was also a good friend so while on my way to Guatemala, I stopped by his school in Arizona.” As if that is not enough connection to racing, NASCAR Hall of Famer, Hershel McGriff, was Gary’s Best Man at his wedding. McGriff will be inducted into the Hall in the upcoming January. What is the connection to Al Unser Jr? “I raced with Al Jr at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. It is the longest endurance race in the world,” Gary elaborated, “It is an hour longer than Sebring at Daytona and Le Mans. Gary is still currently one of the National Directors for NASA.” Gary’s son is the current director of NASA Texas. Gary is also published in several publications including Speed News. One of the things that most people don’t know about Gary is that he overcame blindness. “I used to be totally blind. I was blind for 4 ½ years of my life due to a freak accident. My parents were fortunate to find a doctor from New York who was experimenting on a new procedure called a photocoagulator A prima donna version of a laser. I was the third patient and the first where it was successful,” Gary said. “I was told for over four years that I would never see and should move on.” Just think, Gary goes on the be an Olympic Marksman.

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“Sometimes, I think it is the struggles that give you that added motivation,” says Gary with a smile. “It’s kind of like if we never tasted a few sour grapes, we could never truly appreciate a fine glass of wine. So, you just think positive and roll with what you got. Then lot of good things that can happen.”


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Super Pro!

Division at Albuquerque Dragway

By David Swope | Photos By Sara Pennington, Cherry Bomb PhotoWorks

L

ynn Adams was the 2021 Super Pro Champion.

While not a newcomer to racing, 2021 was her first full season in her Camaro. What a year she had with the biggest point spread of any class this season. Lynn had a full race worth of points in her pocket heading into the King of the Track, solidifying her championship. Skylar Barychko – Super Pro Points Leader As of August 31, 2022, Skylar Barychko was the points leader in the Super Pro Division at Albuquerque Dragway. Sitting at 2125 in total points, James Gonzales is right behind her with 2100. Starting in Junior Dragsters at 10, Skylar progressed up

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through the ranks including a stint in a ’67 Camaro. In 2022, she stepped into a shorty dragster. The “Shorty” is a shorter wheelbase dragster, sometimes 35-55 inch shorter than a standard dragster. “We are turning about 8.40. I think we have another trap,” said Skylar. Her Big Block Chevy really gets it going. James Gonzales has a 1977 Vega Wagon. Sporting a 496, it is running in the 10.60s. Super Pro allows the drivers to use electronics. “Electronics is the delay we use to automate our starts. I go off of the top bulb,” said James “you can also run a throttle stop.” 28 competitors have competed in the division so far this season. The variety of vehicles is amazing, a must see!


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Catching up with Ken Keifer,

McKinney MOTOR C OM PA N Y

By David Swope | Photo Credit, Reggie Tibbetts

Dave: I’ve always wanted to ask you, I’ve seen a lot of different makes and models out there (in the shop), but it seems you specialize in Mopars. Ken: People have said that for a long time. We work on a lot more Chevys than we do Mopars. Now that we’ve really grown were getting a lot of everything. I think we have had 20 60s Mustangs in here. Probably had 12 or 14 Chevelles, 23 convertibles and Mopars. And so, the other ones are kind of coming out of the woodwork, D: (When I walked in) I saw a Barracuda. You said there’s been a year. Had a Chevy Impala and a Ford Mustang in the shop. I think you’re an equal opportunity provider.

Ken Keifer & Reggie Tibbetts | Photo Credit, Reggie Tibbetts

K: All my crew and myself have been working on these cars since the 60s and 70s. So, we know them very well and you’re just really enjoying working on them. D: You also mentioned over 150 years combined experience with five people.

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D: What’s the best way for people to reach you? Just give you a call? K: We prefer a phone call or even a visit. We get to many questions going back and forth through email, we don’t have time for that. So, give me a buzz, come by and check out our shop. Let me look at your car and we’ll make a list and start working on your project. D: One last question. I feel that Mopar guys have an addiction to Mopar. Is that true?

K: The guys are talented. There is no drama. Family heirlooms come in here. Grandpa just passed away and we work hard to help them enjoy their cars again. I think that that’s one of the things that’s needed. D: Your daily driver business keeps you going. K: Of course, we love talking about the customs and everything, but the repeat business keeps us going. D: How offered how long is the customers been coming here? K: Oh, gosh, McKinney started in 1954. We’re 68 years old that, right? D: You are looking good. K: I’m not quite that old. We’ve been

here 20 years - 22 years. There are still customers coming here long before I was here. We can’t turn them away and just work on hot rods. We’re going to keep performing for them as well. People want us to work on their wife’s car and student’s car and whatnot. So, we’re doing it all. D: Well, one thing I do appreciate is it seems like the neighborhood community and people come in and you treat them right.

K: You might say that, or they are just fond of what they like. There is a little taste of what you can get at McKinney Motor Company. Ken and his staff are fantastic. So, make sure when you’ve got your next project, even if it’s your daily driver, just come on by and let their staff here help you out. I still think Mopar owners are fanatics!

K: I mean that’s so missing. You go to a dealership, and they crank you in and crank you out. We really spend time to make sure everything’s functioning and with good quality control.

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NM Motor Events attended Low Class Albuquerque at Tingley Coliseum Jul 23rd. This was an outdoor and indoor event, vehicle limbo contest, RC demos, Vendors and Music. The Nm Motor Event Crew was set up for promotion of the NM Cruise 2022. We had the booth onsite inside the Coliseum with a full line of season merchandise including some presale NM Cruise Logo wear! We were able to meet up with several friends we have not seen since covid. It was great to see attendees and vendors having a great time, the day was hot, so we were super excited to be inside as an elite vendor! As always, the show activities and end of event roll-out and were a good time.

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RACING NEW MEXICO 2022 UPCOMING SCHEDULE SEPTEMBER

10 - Fall Frenzy - 360 Wing Sprint, X-Mod, Street Stock, Cruiser, NMDA 17 - Rattlesnake Rally - 305 Wing Sprint, Mini Sprint, AMod, Stock Cars, Cruiser 24 - Mile High Classic - 360 Wing Sprint, X-Mod, Street Stock, Cruiser, NMDA

OCTOBER

1 - Modified Madness - A-Mod, X-Mod, Street Stock, Stock Cars, Cruiser 8 - Sprint Car Stampede - 360 Wing Sprint, 305 Wing Sprint, Wing & Non-Wing Mini Sprint, Cruiser 15-16 - NMDA - Flat Track Motorcycles Big & Small Track

RACESANDIA.COM

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2022 UPCOMING SCHEDULE SEPTEMBER 3 & 4 - TWO DAY SHOW HOBBY, STOCK, A-MODS, X-MODS, MICRO SPRINTS 17 - HOBBY, STOCK, A-MODS, X-MODS

OCTOBER 1 - NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS HOBBY, STOCK, A-MODS, X-MODS, MICRO SPRINTS

DIRECTIONS: 1-40 TO EXIT 79, THEN 0.2 MILES NORTH THEN 0.3 MILES WEST, THEN 2 MILES NORTH

LegacySpeedway.com


RACING NEW MEXICO 2022 UPCOMING SCHEDULE SEPTEMBER

September 1, 2022 Open Practice

September 2, 2022 Labor Day Weekend Double Header

2022 UPCOMING SCHEDULE 2022 SCHEDULE

September 24, 2022 Topless Night

AUGUST 19-20 NON-WING SPRINT CARS APRIL 15 - 16 Powri Wing Sprint Cards + Local Classes

OCTOBER

MAY 20 - 21 9-10 LOCAL CLASSES SEPTEMBER

September 17, 2022 First Responders Appreciation Night

October 1, 2022 Rancho Milagro Fan & Driver Appreciation Night October 20, 2022 Open Practice

Friday, October 21, 2022 22nd Annual USRA Fall Nationals

+ LOCAL CLASSES

Local Classes

POWRi WING SPRINT CARS JUNE 10 - 11 CLASSES LOCAL+ LOCAL CLASSES • IMCA STOCK CARS • JULYIMCA 29 -MODIFIEDS 30 LOCAL CLASSES

IMCA NORTHERN SPORT MODS • IMCA HOBBY STOCKS IMCA • DWARF/MOD LITES POWRi WING SPRINT CARS AUG 19SPORT - 20 COMPACTS + LOCAL CLASSES

aztecspeedway.com

SEP 9 - 10

schedules WATCH THE SHOW ON

LOCAL CLASSES

LOCAL CLASSES:

IMCA MODIFIEDS - IMCA STOCK CARS - IMCA NORTHERN SPORT MODS IMCA HOBBY STOCKS - IMCA SPORT COMPACTS - DWARF / MOD LITES

DAVID SWOPE

@Aztec.Speedway SPENCER HILL ANDRES TRUJILLO RJ LEES DAN WATKINS CASEY JAMES

WWW.COUCHPOTATOCARSHOW.COM

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The NM Cruise 2022 &

Historic Becker Ave. Car, Truck & Bike Show By Michael Gonzales

On Saturday August 20th enthusiasts gathered at six start locations all over New Mexico to Cruise. Clovis, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and 3 locations in Albuquerque is where people brought their rides rain or shine out for the annual cruise event by New Mexico Motor Events. This year start spots were The Java Loft Clovis, Crackin’ Crab Seafood Boil in Santa Fe, Café Bella Coffee Rio Rancho, Rust Is Gold Coffee NE Albuquerque, Yearwood Performance Center Albuquerque and First Class Auto Albuquerque near the Journal Center and Jefferson. Drivers arrived at the spot of choice for a pre cruise meeting up, coffee and conversation. Then after a quick drivers meeting, cruiser’s we off to the Belen Arts District to take part in the celebration. The range of vehicle participation was wide and varied just the way NM Motor Events likes it, boasting inclusive not exclusive events the NM Cruise 2022 is always an event open to all rides, all styles, all years, all makes. You can hear the tagline “If it has wheels bring it on out” from organizers and it does turn out that way making for a great presentation for everyone involved. Rain or shine! NM Motor Events has the show must go on vibe and if “liquid sunshine” shows up they still move forward with the cruise as they did this year. Lot’s of early morning communication about rains, storms and floods were coming in the morning of the cruise. Meanwhile event social media pictures of dry streets in Belen were being posted to insure participants this event was still on. Around 3pm the cruisers and others started lining up for the organizes load in, this year lead by a Dragster! Attendees enjoyed watching the open header dragster roll in with a line of vehicles behind as the ground team directed and placed each ride for everyone to enjoy. The Main stage area on the previous bowling alley lot was the center of attention with participating display vendors like Law Tigers, Draggin Main, Cottone Customs, Yearwood Performance Center, Accessories Unlimited, Goliath Customs, Son of a Stitch, Archuleta Restorations, Outlaw Desert Racing and more! Also included were feature vehicles by Reggie Tibbetts and the Team Cutters “Endee” stage! This Vintage Rat Rod Style International Harvester is a International Rad Rod Build Off champion on bags that always delvers. 22 NMMotorSportsReport.com


Valencia county attendees and others from across the state enjoyed music, offerings by merchants, vendors, good trucks, art galleries, Harvey House Museum, Hun City Art Collective and 15 animals where adopted at the event and now have “furrever homes”. The pro audio sound competition by SPL N Jones was excited with some new state, national and world records being set! 13 awards classes for the Historic Becker Ave. Car, Truck & Bike show brought smiles as the People’s Choice winners came up to receive their custom upcycled automotive part trophies. At 6pm the show ended on Becker Ave and the after party started at Hub City Brewing with Live Blues, more great food, craft beer, wine & cocktails till about 9:3pm. Overall all an outstanding day with amazing participation levels and Belen had the chance to experience the NM Cruise 2022! Look for the event recap video that is in production now, When finished it will be able to be seen on the NM Motor Events social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and website. www.newmexicomotorevents.com

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By Spencer Hill

Aztec Speedway:

FAMILY FUN FOR 70 YEARS

Story by Spencer Hill | Photos By WHM Photography

Nestled in the hills of Northern New Mexico, just 30 minutes east of Farmington, lies The Land of Enchantment’s oldest continually operated dirt racetrack. Since 1952, Aztec Speedway has brought ‘fast family fun’ to multiple generations of New Mexicans with a heavy focus on making the facility a safe and friendly place for children to get introduced to dirt track auto racing. Aztec Speedway is a 3/8th’s mile semi-banked clay oval operated by Mike Tenski and sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association, better known as IMCA. In addition to their IMCA Modified and Stock Car divisions, Aztec Speedway also hosts wing and non-wing sprint cars, micro sprints, mod-lites, dwarf cars, UTV’s, quarter midgets and go karts. From April through September, fans can catch their favorite drivers tackle the historic Aztec 24 NMMotorSportsReport.com

Speedway for back-to-back nights of racing once a month. It is somewhat unusual nowadays for tracks to reduce their schedule primarily down to just one weekend a month. Aztec Speedway’s thought process on this is calculated, however. The change to move away from weekly racing comes with an intention of quality over quantity as every show now becomes a big twoday event resulting in the largest car counts seen in years compared to the average weekly show numbers. As we have observed this season, better shows also bring in more race fans. The town of Aztec and its surrounding cities are a perfect example of this as the track continues to reach near-capacity crowds nearly

every Saturday night, accompanied by a very strong turn out on Fridays as well. One of the most surprising things about grassroots racing is the fact that smaller towns tend to show more support versus big cities. In New Mexico we have seen this for many years as the larger cities are forced to compete with a booming entertainment market and a lack of interest from children and families to go to a live event. Luckily, that is far from the case in Aztec as it continues to be filled with kids and their families every time you look in the crowd. Perhaps it’s the small details that Aztec does so well with including their amazing concession stand, handicapspecified viewing areas and gigantic playground. Or maybe it is their approach of looking at a race night from a children’s perspective as they


Mike Tenski (left), President of Aztec Speedway

always make time during intermission to throw signed sports balls to the kids or hand out hundreds of popsicles. It’s small details like that which result in kids asking their parents to go to the racetrack the next week and ultimately falling in love with the sport. Without a doubt, Aztec Speedway would not have lasted 70 years without making new generations fall in love with dirt track racing. If they continue to make these lasting impressions on the youth, it is likely that we will remain to attribute that to them being around many years from now. To learn more about Aztec Speedway and find their schedule, please follow them on Facebook or go to www. AztecSpeedway.com.

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JEFF GORDON TALKS

UPCOMING IMSA RACE, HENDRICK’S GARAGE 56 PROJECT, LE MANS POSSIBILITY By John Haverlin, TheCircuitJournal.com PHOENIX — Jeff Gordon hasn’t participated in a competitive race since winning the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona, but he’ll come out of retirement for a one-off IMSA event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. Gordon, 51, will drive in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America series on the IMS road course in two races. The series’ race weekends are doubleheaders, and the cars are spec vehicles built by Porsche and can only be raced in this league. At Hendrick Motorsports’ shop in North Carolina, the team has an expansive inventory of racecars that no longer are used for its NASCAR program as the Cup Series utilizes the Next Gen car these days. It’s the first season of Next Gen car usage, so the previous generation of stock cars sometimes get sold to club tracks around the country. One of the tracks HMS has sold its cars to is the Thermal Club in Southern California. When Gordon visited the facility, customers offered to let him drive their vehicles. One of the cars that caught Gordon’s attention was the Porsche Carrera Cup car. The vehicle has to be raced, though, according to the contract that comes with purchasing it. Gordon agreed and recruited his former crew chief Ray Evernham, who was on his pit box for three of his championships, to partner with him for the event.

“Ray and I have been talking for years about it,” Gordon told The Circuit Journal. “I always knew that one day the timing would work out for us to get back together and do something fun. When this event came about for the IMSA race, I told Ray, ‘Hey, I think I found the project for us.’ He jumped right on board. “We’re going to take it seriously like we always have, but we’re going to try to have fun. He’s basically put together the team. It’s going to be Hendrick Performance as the name of the team, but Ray’s going to operate that over the weekend.” The series is made up of a combination of professional and amateur drivers. Gordon, however, will be in a class called the Invitational class but will drive the same type of car, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, that the rest of the field will have. The four-time NASCAR champion is no stranger to sports car racing or IMS. He won the Brickyard 400 on the oval five times in his career and tested Juan Pablo Montoya’s BMW Williams F1 car on the Grand Prix configuration in 2003. His only IMSA win came when he drove for Wayne Taylor Racing and Cadillac in the 24-hour Daytona race nearly six years ago. Hendrick is building a stock car for the 2023 24 Hours

of Le Mans. The team is developing the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 with the Next Gen body for the French race as the Garage 56 entry, which is dedicated to showcasing automotive technology. It won’t compete for class wins in the event but provides NASCAR, Chevrolet, and Hendrick an opportunity to market themselves on an international stage. “I went to Le Mans this year, and it was just such a spectacular event,” Gordon said. “There’s going to be a lot of pride from representing NASCAR and America and Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports in that iconic event. I’m looking forward to that just in general.” So, could fans see the NASCAR Hall of Famer as one of the four drivers in the car next June? “I would say it’s a possibility. I would say some of the background of this event I’m doing in Indianapolis is to see where I’m at on my skillset level in case Garage 56 does come along,” he said. “It’s going to be dictated so much by what drivers are available. … There are a lot of drivers lining up who want to be a part of that event. I’ll certainly throw my name in there. I would love to be a part of it. I’m going to be a part of it no matter if I’m driving or not because I’m just being involved with Hendrick Motorsports.” Chad Knaus, the vice president of competition at HenNMMotorSportsReport.com 27


drick, says it may be a while until a lineup is announced. Jimmie Johnson is interested in driving, but his involvement is at the mercy of his schedule in the 2023 IndyCar Series season. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson, NASCAR’s two most recent champions, both drive for Hendrick but trying to squeeze in Le Mans during the middle of a busy NASCAR season would make their candidacy unlikely. Elliott says he wouldn’t even want to participate at Le Mans unless he was competing in a class. Since the Garage 56 car is for demonstration purposes only, a trophy isn’t on the line for its drivers. Mike Rockenfeller tested the Garage 56 car this week. He has a long list of achievements on his racing resumé, including two class wins at Le Mans, so perhaps he could be in play for seat time when the car races next year. The German also got his first taste of the Next Gen car earlier this month when he made his NASCAR Cup debut at Watkins Glen International. “I don’t know if I’m the natural choice,” Gordon said. “I don’t think I am since I haven’t been racing competitively. It’s something that should be taken very seriously. It’s going to take a lot of prep. It’s going to take a lot of time to understand the track, the car, as well as the other series you’re going to be racing. … Obviously, we want to get as much publicity for NASCAR and Le Mans and Garage 56 with that program and what it represents. You want the right driver that can do that.” For a full Q&A transcript of The Circuit Journal’s interview with Gordon, read below:

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for you. You’re racing at Indy for the IMSA race. How did that materialize for you? “We have this program called Track Attack at Hendrick. It’s the Gen 6 cars we have an inventory of that we have been able to put together for track cars. We’ve put crate motors and different types of transmissions. It’s been incredible, and one of the tracks we’ve been selling a lot of these cars to is a place called Thermal Club out in Palm Springs. When I went out there, there were some of our customers who had some of these types of cars that they had in their garage and offered me to drive them. One of them was this Porsche Cup car. I was more interested to know about this car because what I’m doing for fun these days is driving all kinds of different sports cars or race cars like the Track Attack car. That’s where I get my fix on racing because I’m not racing anymore. One of the things about that car is that you have to be able to race it if you’re going to purchase that car for Porsche. So I agreed to do that. We’ll do one race at Indianapolis and see how that goes, and see if we’ll do another.”

Did you recruit Ray Evernham to be your crew chief for it? “Yeah, Ray and I have been talking for years about it. He’s been asking me to drive ‘The Ghost.’ It’s a car that he built that’s a super cool throwback car if you look at the classic body style. But it’s a full-on racecar inside and out with the wings and how low the car is. So he’s been talking to me about that and some of the projects he has been working on. I always knew that one day the timing would work out for us to get back together and do something fun. When this event came about for the IMSA race, I told Ray, ‘Hey, I think I found the project for us.’ He jumped right on board. We’re going to take it seriously like we always have, but we’re going to try to have fun. He’s basically put together the team. It’s going to be Hendrick performance as the name of the team, but Ray’s going to operate that over the weekend.” So is this your first competitive race since the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona? “It is. I haven’t been in a competitive race since then. I have been in a lot of cars and driven laps, not so much on ovals but on these club tracks in the Track Attack car and road courses. I don’t know what to expect. I’m in a class of my 28 NMMotorSportsReport.com

own called the Invitational class. There are a lot of talented drivers who know those cars and the track better than I do. I’m certainly looking forward to the challenge.” Do you set any expectations for this race, or do you go into like Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen and are just there to have fun? “That’s the mindset going into it. But once you start putting a clock on yourself, you’re going to push yourself to go harder and faster. You’ll see how other drivers get more speed out of the car, and it’s a spec car, so it should come down more to the driver in this series and what they’re getting out of the car. I’ve been prepping on iRacing, and we did one small test at a track near Charlotte. I’m not trying to go into it with any expectations.” I’m not too familiar with this series in IMSA. Is it one driver? “Yeah, so it’s a single-spec series. So basically, it’s all Porsche Carrera Cup cars. It has three different classes of Pro, Pro-Am, and Am, all competing in the same car altogether. In each class, there will be an overall podium and winner, and for each class too. I’m not competing for any of that other than the overall because I’m in the invitational class. They run this series about 10-12 races throughout the season at different locations.” Ray owns a series that’s been popular for the last two years. You see where I’m going with this. “I have no intentions of doing [the Superstar Racing Experience]. It’s been just when the right opportunity comes along, and this kind of fell on my lap. I wasn’t planning for it. It’d just be a nice car to add to my garage of cars that are track cars.” So with Indy this week and the Garage 56 project coming, is Le Mans a possibility? “I would say it’s a possibility. I would say some of the background of this event I’m doing in Indianapolis is to kind of see where I’m at on my skillset level in case Garage 56 does come along. It’s going to be dictated so much by what drivers are available, which ones kind of fit with Jim France, NASCAR, Hendrick, and Chevrolet’s grouping. There are a lot of drivers lining up who want to be a part of that event. I’ll certainly throw my name in there. I would love to be a part of it. I’m going to be a part of it no matter if I’m driving or not because I’m just being involved with Hendrick Motorsports. I went to Le Mans this year, and it was just such a spectacular event. There’s going to be a lot of pride in representing NASCAR and America and Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports in that iconic event. “I’m looking forward to that just in general. But it’ll be hard to pick what drivers will be in it until we know schedules for next year.” I know Chad Knaus has been to Le Mans a couple of times. Was that your first time at Le Mans? “It was my first time ever at Le Mans.” How many times have you been asked about doing Garage 56 since it was announced? “(Laughs) A handful of times. I don’t know if I’m the natural choice. I don’t think that I am since I haven’t been racing competitively, but it’s also something that should be taken very seriously. It’s going to take a lot of prep. It’s going to take a lot of time to understand the track, the car, as well as the other series you’re going to be racing. The difference in speeds and obviously, we want to get as much publicity for NASCAR and Le Mans and Garage 56 with that program and what it represents. You want the right driver that can do that.”


NMMotorSportsReport.com 29


What is up with McLaren’s chaotic summer of Silly Season controversy? By John Haverlin, TheCircuitJournal.com

It’s 2023 in an alternate universe, and former NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou is embarking on his third season with Chip Ganassi Racing, while Felix Rosenqvist, who had a quiet, enjoyable offseason in Sweden, returns to Arrow McLaren SP with Patricio O’Ward and are happy to introduce their newest teammate Alexander Rossi to the squad. Over in Europe, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso, the veteran drivers of McLaren and Alpine, respectively, get ready for another Formula 1 season and a battle to be seventh in the driver’s standings and fourth in the constructor’s championship. And Oscar Piastri, the Australian rookie and 2021 Formula 2 champion, gets ready for his first Grand Prix with Alpine as Alonso’s teammate. Esteban Ocon has departed the organization and decided to replay his role as Mercedes’ reserve driver for a year, hoping that Lewis Hamilton, who is now completely washed up, will retire and he can take his seat in 2024. 30 NMMotorSportsReport.com

But remember, this is an alternate reality. We live in a universe with much more chaos and drama on the motorsports Silly Season front. Now let’s set the facts straight. Palou is still driving for Ganassi right now but is intertwined in a legal tug of war between his current team and the team he wants to join in 2023 in McLaren. On July 12, Ganassi released a statement saying Palou would return to the team next year. Less than four hours later, McLaren (not Arrow McLaren SP, but McLaren Racing) announced that the Spaniard would join the team in 2023. Palou refuted Ganassi’s claim and said he did not authorize the quotes used in the press release. In addition, he proclaimed McLaren as the team he would be joining in 2023. Ganassi has opened a lawsuit against Palou’s management team, and his management team is countersuing Ganassi for defamation.

Palou’s attorneys say the driver informed Ganassi on June 15 that he wished to pursue an opportunity that could lead to a seat in F1. In the meantime, all indications point to Palou finishing the 2022 IndyCar season in CGR’s No. 10 Honda despite the ongoing legal mess. In Europe, a coincidentally strange and similar circumstance is occurring with Piastri and Alpine. The French team announced that Piastri would join the team alongside Ocon shortly after Fernando Alonso said he would join Aston Martin to replace the retiring four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel. Piastri, like Palou, denied this statement and said he intends to race with McLaren’s F1 team. So how did this happen? Alpine was under the impression that Alonso was staying put. Piastri was, too; his management team saw that as an opportunity to search for other available seats on the grid. Ricciardo acknowledged rumors about los-


Ricciardo finds himself at a crossroads in his career. He consistently plays second fiddle to Norris, and that’s why McLaren is looking to replace him. He’s not keen on running an entire season of IndyCar. Ovals give him the creeps, as it were, and he doesn’t have an interest in participating on them. Who will drive for McLaren’s Formula E team? Rosenqvist has experienced success in the all-electric series, winning three races during his two-year tenure with Mahindra. It feels sensible for Brown to place him there, despite the Swede’s desire to remain in IndyCar. McLaren has a knack for recruiting talented drivers, but things don’t always seem to pan out. And each driver associated with the team, including Colton Herta and O’Ward, who have tested F1 cars, wants to be in Grand Prix races worldwide. Unfortunately, only two people can hold those positions at a time. McLaren has a history of excellence, but it is quickly earning a reputation for legal drama and employing the busiest public relations folks in motorsports.

Evidently, McLaren wasn’t committed to him, though. And now Ricciardo is seeking $21 million from the team for the buy-out on his contract.

Lando Norris will stay in one of McLaren’s F1 cars, and it appears the second car’s driver will be Piastri. Ricciardo will likely want to stay in F1, and conveniently there is an opening at his former team, Alpine. It doesn’t mean he is going there for sure, but it is plausible.

Here’s what we know at the time of publication: O’Ward and Rossi will drive for AMSP full-time in the 2023 IndyCar season. Palou or Rosenqvist probably will, too. One of them may end up at McLaren’s new Formula E team next year. Heck, maybe both of them will. We’ll have to wait until McLaren CEO Zak Brown makes a decision.

What remains unclear is how many fulltime entries AMSP will have next season. It will probably be three. Rosenqvist hopes he is still there, and Palou hopes he will be there. Won’t it be fun to watch social media have a meltdown when one of these men gets the boot from a seat in IndyCar?

ing his seat but ensured he was committed to racing for McLaren.

NMMotorSportsReport.com 31


AUSTIN DILLON SNAPS 2-YEAR WINLESS STREAK AT DAYTONA By Dominic Aragon, The Racing Experts Austin Dillon’s win in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 marked the Richard Childress Racing driver’s first Cup Series points win of 2022 and fourth of his career. Dillon snapped a 78-race winless streak, dating back to Texas Motor Speedway in July of 2020. The victory was Dillon’s second at Daytona International Speedway. “You just never give up and have faith,” Dillon said. “We had some tough finishes this year, like Charlotte. I beat myself up over that. I made a good move and just didn’t finish it off. Today we finished it off.”

Photo by Dominic Aragon_TRE

The victory propelled Dillon into the playoffs for the fifth time in his career and the first time since 2020. Additionally, Dillon earned the 101st win for the No. 3 in the Cup Series, tying the No. 3 car with the No. 2 car with the third-most points-awarding wins in Cup Series history. The No. 43 (199 wins) and the No. 11 car numbers (228 wins) have more. “I’m so proud of these guys and I’m glad to be going to Victory Lane,” Dillon said. Dillon is now tied for 82nd on the alltime NASCAR Cup Series wins list with 18 drivers, including active driver William Byron. Other drivers who scored four total wins include Charlie Glotzbach, Pete Hamilton, Parnelli Jones, Joe Nemechek, Ken Schrader, and Michael Waltrip. The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled for Sunday, September 4, at Darlington Raceway to begin the playoffs. Photo by Erick Messer_TRE 32 NMMotorSportsReport.com


Martin Truex Jr. misses NASCAR Playoffs by 3 points Despite having the fourth-most points of the NASCAR Cup Series competition, Martin Truex Jr. fell three points short of making the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Truex Jr. had made the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons. Now, the highest he can finish in points is 17th. Truex Jr. picked up 15 stage points and an eighth-place finish Sunday in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. “We got in a decent spot and just couldn’t keep up,” Truex Jr. said. “I was wide open the whole last run there. It’s a shame, it stinks, but just too much damage to do what we needed to do.” Among the winless drivers, Truex Jr. was 25 points behind Ryan Blaney entering Daytona. If no new winners took the checkered flag Sunday, both would have made the playoffs.

Photo by Cheri Eaton_TRE

Austin Dillon’s victory snubbed Truex Jr. from the playoff grid. “It’s a shame,” Truex Jr. said. “We knew it was going to be tough with so many cars out of the race and the distance between me and the 12 (Ryan Blaney). “It was going to be hard to hang on to fourth or better with a car that torn up.” Truex Jr. won four races last year and finished runner-up in points to champion Kyle Larson. Through 26 races, Truex Jr. has one pole, three Top-5 finishes, 12 Top-10 finishes, and has led 456 laps. Entering next weekend’s race at Darlington Raceway, Truex Jr. has a 34-race winless streak in the series.

NASCAR Coverage Your Top Source of Auto Racing News since 2010

#TheRacingExperts Photo by Dominic Aragon_TRE

www.theracingexperts.net NMMotorSportsReport.com 33


Cocina Azul

F i e s ta

2 ½ years in the making, the Cocina Azul Fiesta Car Show was a complete success. Raising over $500 for the Blue Star Moms and looking at some of the nicest cars in New Mexico all while enjoying Margaritas and the faire from Cocina Azul, the best way to spend a Saturday in Albuquerque.

C a r

S h o w

Photos by RJ Lees

The Blue Star Moms is a national organization that provides support for active-duty service personnel, promotes patriotism, assists Veterans organizations, and is available to assist in homeland volunteer efforts to help our country remain strong. Please visit their website and support their mission at BlueStarMothers.org. Cocina Azul at 4243 Montgomery NE, between Jefferson and Carlisle, was a perfect location because of the trees and plenty of parking in front and beside the restaurant. The idea for the car show started in late 2019 and was scheduled for April 2020. We all know what happened in late March of 2020. The first Cocina Azul Car Show was a virtual show on the NM Motor Sports Report Facebook page. I think you can still find it out there on the internet. We did a second Cocina Azul Virtual Car Show and though we found something to do during the Pandemic. What came out of these virtual shows was the Couch Potato Virtual Car Show which just had its 21st show on August 23, 2022. Check it out at Couch Potato Car Show on Facebook. The rain stayed away while Steve’s Cruisin’ with the Oldies entertained the crowds. Steve was giving out door prizes during the show with the Yearwood Performance T-Shirts being the most popular prize. A “Happy Birthday” shoutout went to Frank Modglin who turned 91 earlier in the week. Frank brought out his amazing 1924 Model T-Ford Roadster. 34 NMMotorSportsReport.com

Best of Show went to Rudy Gallegos’s Blue & Silver Custom 1955 Chevy which he brought up from Grants. People’s Choice was Tom Cherner’s 1940 Chrysler Hemi. “Brian with an I” won the Coolest Cruiser with another 1955 Chevy, red this time. Best Original went to the ’65 Chevy Impala of Herman Armijo. Best Street Rod went to the ’32 Ford 3-Window Coupe of Bob Barrera. Best Under Construction went to the amazing orange 1954 Belair of Thomas Gentry. Don Janssen’s ’72 Plymouth Duster won the Best Muscle Car with Best Motorcycle going to Jeremy Balmer’s 2005 Suzuki SV650S.

Fans of the ‘50s Chevrolets including Tri-Five fans had a visual feast at the Cocina Azul Fiesta Car Show. Best Custom went to Gene Maes’ 1958 Bel Air. Tony Cardenas picked up his first trophy for Best Restored with a tribute 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible in honor of his father in-law. Marcos Salazar’ custom ’93 Jeep Cherokee XJ won the Truck/4x4 class. The “Little Old Lady from Pasadena” Ruth Rodriguez was there with her 2001 Acura NSX to win Best Sports Car. Keep your eye out for the next Fiesta Car Show at Cocina Azul on Montgomery or 5916 Holly Ave NE (Paseo & I-25). CocinaAzulABQ.com.


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October 1 October 1

Torrance County Embrace 9am-3pm, Lake Arthur Park, Tracey Master-- 505-705-0332 Life Celebration Estancia, NM Santa Fe Plaza- 11 am-3pm-Car Show on the Plaza Ed Baca 505-310-0381 Spaces are sold out. Santa Fe Plaza- 11 am-3pm-3-6pm, Gutierrez-Hubble House, Bruce 281-798-4648, Car Show on the Plaza Ed Baca 505-310-0381 Sept. Fest Car Show Spaces are sold 6029 Isleta Blvd.out. SW bmiller31@yahoo.com 3-6pm, Gutierrez-Hubble House, Anthony Bruce 281-798-4648, ApodacaSept. Fest Car Show Fiesta Registration starts at 7:30am, Our Lady of Sorrows 6029 Isleta Blvd. SW bmiller31@yahoo.com 505.514.5470, Award Ceremony at 2:15pm Car Show r8dfan@hotmail.com Anthony ApodacaOur Lady of Sorrows Fiesta Registration starts at 7:30am, 505.514.5470, Daniel Simpson-Award Ceremony at 2:15pm Amarillo Car ShowDragway Swap Amarillo TX Dragway r8dfan@hotmail.com amarilloswapmeet@aol.com Meet Daniel Simpson-Amarillo Swap Dragway Swap NMCCC Meet Cancelled Amarillo TX Dragway amarilloswapmeet@aol.com Meet The Braswell Agency Car 2601 Wyoming Blvd SE, Johnathon 505-292-0609, NMCCC Swap Meet Cancelled Show Albuquerque, 10am-2pm Jhoefer1@allstate.com The Braswell Agency Car 2601 Wyoming Blvd SE, Johnathon 505-292-0609, 10am4pm--Los Luceros Carlyn Stewart Vita-Show Jhoefer1@allstate.com Car Clubs at Los Luceros Albuquerque, 10am-2pm Historic Site, 253 Councty Rd 41, 505.476.1165, 505.629.9582-Fall Harvest 10am- 4pm--Los Luceros Carlyn Stewart Vita-tinlizziesofabq@gmail.com Car Clubs at Los Luceros Alcalde, NM 87511 Historic Site, 253 Councty Rd 41, 505.476.1165, 505.629.9582-Fall Harvest Alcalde, 87511 Mesa tinlizziesofabq@gmail.com 7:00 pm--NM Manzano Multgererational Center-- 501 Robert Gold 7:00 pm-- St Manzano Mesa SE, Albuquerque, NMCCC-- General Meeting Elizabeth President@nmcarcouncil.com Multgererational Center-501 NM-Member clubs and vistors Robert Gold Elizabeth St SE, Albuquerque, NMCCC-- General Meeting welcome President@nmcarcouncil.com NM-- Member clubs and vistors welcome

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October 1-2

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Mescalero- Open to pre- '78 Mescalero- Open to pre- '78 Albuquerque Dragway-- Oct 1 starts at 8am to Oct 2 ends at 1 Albuquerque Dragway-Oct 3pm starts at 8am to Oct 2 ends at 3pm Veterans Memorial on Louisiana. Lookingon for veteran Veterans Memorial car owners who want to veteran show Louisiana. Looking for their cars. who want to show car owners their cars. Town Hall, Messilla

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