SORC hits the road for 19th year on Thursday

A driver speeds past on Dunning Road on his route from Dunning to Arnold in rural Custer County on Saturday during the final day of the Sandhills Open Road Challenge. The annual race attracts drivers from across the country who enjoy the weekend of challenges, including two open road races and a one-mile challenge in the Arnold and Dunning area.

The roar of engines bouncing across the Sandhills marks the 19th Sandhills Open Road Challenge this week.

Since the first race in 2001, the racing event near Arnold has become one of the most popular in the nation. There were 34 drivers the first year, and now there is a limit of 120 drivers with a waiting list.

The main race goes north from Arnold to just south of Dunning and back again, a 55-mile loop that offers a daunting series of curves, straights and 90-degree turns.

The Loup to Loup race is the first event on the schedule and begins at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. The race leaves from Halsey and travels north to Purdum, then back again.

Added in 2002, the One-Mile Shootout allows the drivers to put the pedal to the metal and run a straightaway for bragging rights to the top speed. The Shootout begins at 8 a.m. Friday near Callaway.

Saturday is the big race that begins at 8:30 a.m. There are bleachers set up along the route, but fans need to be in place before 7 a.m., after which the road is closed to any traffic until the race is completed.

The SORC barbecue begins at 5:30 p.m. at Arnold City Park followed by the awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. A free street dance and beer garden begin at 9 p.m. Saturday just west of Grazer’s Bar and Grill in downtown Arnold.

For maps of the events, go to sorcrace.com and scroll to the bottom of the page, where PDFs of the maps can be downloaded.

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