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July 15, 2007

Even with no track, racing stays alive in Woodward

In the midst of summer league ball games, Centennial events, board meetings and much more Woodward often forgets about a unique group of local men (and supportive women).

That group is the guys who “want to go fast.”

The car racing guys.

“It’s definitely a sport,” said Randy Sallee. “At this level we may not be ‘athletes’ but it’s definitely a sport.”

Although Woodward has not had its own race track for more than 15 years there are more than 20 men in the area who are still dedicated to racing modifieds on dirt tracks around the country.

These men include Pat McVicker, Ian McVicker, Kelly Wheeler, Randy Sallee, Jonathan McCoy, Bryan Rowland, Brandon Kenny, Darren Hacker, Mike Roach, Tommy Weder, Jr., Danny Aytes, Nick Shenberger, Dereck Ramirez, Mike Shenberger, John Newton, Chris Baker, Justin Danner, Willy Kraft, Shawn Kraft, Tyson Kraft and Shane McDowell (crew member).

Much of the area race car building goes on in a shop owned by Leon Ramirez and operated by Willy Kraft and his two sons – Shawn Kraft who is the builder and Tyson Kraft who makes the bodies and sets the cars up.

“Ive been building cars for 15 years and now my boys are kind of taking it over,” said Willy Kraft. “I’ve been racing on and off for 20 years.”

For most of those involved racing has been a family tradition for many years.

“There’s a lot of history here,” said Pat McVicker.

“It’s more of a family sport than a lot of people realize,” said Roach.

McVicker said that while many activities are limited to certain age groups the sport of racing allows anyone to be involved no matter how young or old they are.

But for Woodward’s drivers racing is not just a little hobby.

These guys are good.

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