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People Tear Up The Ice At Merrill's Ice Drag Races

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It's a need for speed and racers at the Merrill Ice Drags on Lake Alexander can't get enough of it.

"You always have to go faster, that's the problem," laughed Joe Peek of Two Buddies Racing.

The Merrill Ice Draggers have been setting up races for 49 years. They claim it's the fastest 1/8 mile auto racing on ice in the world, with some of the faster racers reaching speed of 140 miles per hour.

"We do have a rubber tire class, which you can run your mom's mini van in. All the way up to your wild, super-charged, alcohol-injected rails, so we do have a class for anybody out here," said Merrill Ice Draggers Vice President, Ryan Blake.

Even if you don't race, it's still a blast to watch.

"I really like cars racing because they're my favorite," said spectator and future racer, Ava Lukes.

Some people have been coming back for years.

"It's one of our vices," said Dick Jennejohn of Two Buddies Racing. "We don't drink, we don't smoke, we don't chase wild women anymore, and notice I did say anymore. It's just something to do."

Their jackets do say, "Two Good Ol' Boys Still Playing With Toys." They try to improve their toy, pushing it to go faster each year. Nail studded tires for tread and roaring engines are how many people beef up their cars to blow by the competition.

Drivers have a difficult time explaining how it feels to explode down the track.

"It's a rush, it's...something you have to experience for yourself to get the full affect," said racer Anthony Gesick.

Gesick has a whole different view on driving; he's legally blind with tunnel vision, but he can still see directly in front of him.

"You don't need to look to your sides. You just need to look down the track and just keep it straight," he said. "It's a lot of fun. This is what gets me through the winters, coming here and doing these races."

The races are free to spectators. If you want to watch or race, you still can. Races go on every Saturday from now until the championship on February 8th. You can click here to check out the Merrill Ice Draggers website. The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is also holding a race on Lake Thompson on Saturday, February 22 at noon. You can find more information by href="www.explorerhinelander.com">clicking here.


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