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LA’s Miller wins season opener at Sandia

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BY TODD URBATSCH
Special to the Monitor

Los Alamos’ Clint Miller, in his No. 58 Knechts NAPA-sponsored A-Mod dirt-track racecar, kept his 2016-championship gusto going strong with a win Saturday in the 2017 season opener at Sandia Speedway. 
There were two A-Mod heats, and Miller, starting in pole position, easily won his. 
For the A-Mod main event, despite a visit from the water truck, the turns were dry and rough. 
Miller started in the outside position of the second row and, within a few laps, made his way to the lead in his apparently superior car with its yellow-orange color scheme and metallic orange-bronze rims. It was a 20-lap race of attrition, marred by repeated yellow caution flags for the one-by-one wrecked and ousted cars. 
With the No. 2 car smacked up and finally out after another try, it looked like it was clear sailing for the No. 58 car. 
Then came the second-to-last yellow flag of the race. With Miller lined up first for the restart, the handful of remaining racers accelerated through turn four to take the green flag. 
The No. 15 car overtook Miller before they crossed the start line in front of the stands, but Miller wasn’t having any of that. 
Even before entering turn one, Miller had nosed back past No. 15 on the outside.
No. 15 tried to overtake Miller again, but Miller got ahead and expertly took the turn tight, and No. 15 spun out in turn 1. No. 15’s engine was fine, but his front left tire wasn’t, so, on that, the race’s last yellow flag, No. 15 headed out the back exit, done for the night. 
Miller retained his lead on the last single lap to take the checkered flag and make the Los Alamos fans proud.
Opening day had several classes of cars: a combined Hornets and Cruisers class, Street Stock, mini Sprint, X-Mod, A-Mod, and Non-Wing Sprint.
Drivers include kids, women, young men and old men. 
Sandia Speedway is about 10 miles west of Albuquerque, near the Correctional Facility, so you could amortize your trip by visiting the prisoners then cheering on the racers. 
When you go, assuming you’re from Los Alamo, take a hat for protection from the sun on your back and your entire ensemble of winter clothes for the West Mesa evenings. You’ll also want earplugs for the higher-powered cars and eye protection for the occasional flying chunk of dirt. 
The hardier fans somehow get by with just jeans and a race t-shirt. There is a concession stand.
No beer, which is probably all right. Racing is off for Easter weekend and resumes 6:30 p.m. April 22.
To find more information, visit racesandia.com and sign up for emails to get a coupon for $5 off each person’s $17 entrance fee. Kids 10 and under are free.