Exhaust plumes toward the sky and engines rev, clattering against the icebound trees and windblown snow around the frozen lake. Drivers in refitted older cars, wrapped in protective bumpers, navigate out onto an icy track atop the lake and take a warmup lap as the flaggers get ready.
The valley behind the Decanter Inn in Kasilof fills with the shouts of spectators and the roar of engines as the racers in the Peninsula Ice Racing event take off, slipping and skidding their way toward victory. The series, which has been running since 1960 in Kasilof, kicked off at the beginning of the year and attracted dozens of spectators and drivers Sunday. The men raced in the morning and the women in the afternoon.
The drivers, who are told to run “a good, clean race” can only have studs on their front tires and all wear helmets. Bumping is common and expected, though drivers are expected not to intentionally ram one another.