AZTEC — Karts, cars and eggs will roll at the Aztec Speedway today as the track celebrates the opening of its 2013 season.

In its 61st year, the speedway will host its Easter egg hunt, kart race and test "n' tune event today. Grandstand admission is free for all three events.

Track manager Mike Tenski said he promises children will hunt for eggs before any cars or karts rev their engines.

"We'll have enough eggs for kids in separate age groups to scout around for," Tenski said. "Then the kart race, featuring flat karts and quarter midgets, will get going."

The Speedway's oval-shaped clay track is 3/8-mile long, with sloped banking. Go-karts will zip around the track in two 10-lap heat races, followed by the 25-lap main event.
Race cars take to the Aztec Speed way during last year’s  Red, White and Zoom event on Friday, July 6, 2012. The speedway will kick off the start of
Race cars take to the Aztec Speed way during last year's Red, White and Zoom event on Friday, July 6, 2012. The speedway will kick off the start of the racing season today. (Daily Times file photo)


"Go-karts average around 30 miles per hour, but when you're a half-foot off of the ground (in the driver's seat), it feels like 90," Tenski said.

After the kart race, the speedway will offer race car drivers the chance to take a pit stop for a car clinic. A warm-up for the first official car race of the season, the test 'n' tune, will still be a lot of fun for spectators, Tenski said.

"For $10, which is to cover insurance costs, we'll kick the tires, check for oil leaks and let the cars test out the track," he said. "People in the grandstands will be able to watch all kinds of race cars modifieds, stock cars, among others tear up the clay."

Race car enthusiasts can take in the action at the first race of the season on April 6. Gates open at 4 p.m. and the green flag to signal the start of the race is at 8 p.m.

The speedway track has a long history in Aztec. Returning World War II veterans and the American Legion San Juan Post No. 9 built the track in 1949 and opened it to the public in 1952. The then-half-mile flat track was home to stockcar racing that was a big driver of family entertainment at the time, said Tenski.

"They essentially carved out a circle and said, "Let's go play,'" he said.

On average, the 25-lap main event without cautions for accidents lasts anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes. It's a must-see for families and adrenaline junkies alike, said stockcar racer Frankie Hendershot.

Since moving from Phoenix in 1998, Hendershot has routinely finished in first or second place in stockcar races at the speedway. He said he loves the thrill of every race and regards racing as a family affair. His children are also racers and his family attends every event.

"There's nothing that touches racing," said Hendershot, 35. "It's the most fun possible and great for folks of all ages, too."

IF YOU GO
What: Easter Egg hunt, kart racing and “test ‘n' tune” race car clinic
When: All events Saturday. Egg hunt at 9 a.m. Kart race at 10:30 a.m. Test ‘n' tune at 12:30 p.m. Where: Aztec Speedway, 300 Legion Road, Aztec
Where: Aztec Speedway, 300 Legion Road, Aztec
More info: Go to www.aztecspeedway.com or call 505-258-3978

James Fenton can be reached at jfenton@daily-times.com; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @fentondt.