FAST & LOUD!: Little Sandy Raceway A Destination For Enthusiasts (20 photos)

Little Sandy Raceway is yet another of Carter County's "best kept secrets," unless you happen to live nearby the drag racing facility on Rt 1667 in the Leon community, not far from Grayson's city limits.

"Nobody knows we are here. The people you see here, most of them travel three or four hours to get here," said Jaime James, who owns and operates the 14-acre raceway park with her husband, Troy James, with help from their son, Tanner.

Their son, who took his first trip down the racetrack as a little boy on a battery powered toy car, is the primary reason they bought the track, which has actually been in operation since 1996. Tanner, a member of the East Carter High School Class of 2019, now runs a couple of different "rides" on the home course every Saturday.

"He builds the trophies. He does everything," his mom said, explaining his passion for the sport is "the reason I bought the place basically."

Young racers and their families remain a priority at Little Sandy Raceway James said, nodding toward the enclosed playground near the concession and a number of multi-generational families preparing for their next runs. "We actually race Pee Wees (nine and under) free. They get in the gate for free and they race for free," James said. "We are definitely family friendly."

Racers test their skills and machines on 300-foot tracks, as specified by national regulations, with a sportsman timing system on most weekends (a pro timing system is used for bigger events). With "bracket racing" and "time trials," racers utilize everything from factory machines to highly modified task-specific ATVs with no suspension to smooth the ride. The first run of the weekend Saturday saw a rider record a time of 3.84 seconds from the start line to the finish 300 feet away.

While the track is built, and maintained, for speed James emphasized the course is not reserved for high-performance and custom rides. "I think a lot of people think it has to be drag bikes," she said, explaining they are happy to put practically anything on track for a timed run. "Some people bring dirt bikes. We have one guy who brings a tiny little dirt bike, He has the best fun ever."

Anyone who is interested in ATV Drag Racing might consider visiting Little Sandy Raceway during an upcoming three-day event, September 5, 6 and 7. "We will have people coming from Michigan and all over for that," she said. "If we have 100 entries, the winner gets $6,000. We try to do two of those a year."

Among Saturday evening's racers, Bob White of Dunlow, West Virginia was joined by his mom and dad, Kim and Anthony Marcum, for a final evening of racing before he reports for a deployment as part of the Army National Guard. at 31, White said he has enjoyed this form of racing since he was 14. "I'm really competitive and I don't like to lose," he said with confidence, before flashing a grin and adding, "I lose a lot."

Andy-Tex English is one of several multi-generational ATV racers who regularly competes at Little Sandy Raceway. His dad, Tex English, started the tradition which is now enjoyed by his own sons, Heath, 7, and Graham, 9, who attend Upper Tygart Elementary.

James said anyone interested in learning more will find updates and contact information on the  Little Sandy Raceway Facebook page.