Joe Shown's dream to hold a race through the blacktop roads of Custer County came to fruition in 2001.
Now an annual event, the Sandhills Open Road Challenge, based in Arnold, Neb., has grown from 34 drivers its first year to 120 spots that sell out almost immediately.
“What makes the Sandhills Open Road Challenge really unique is that we close a public road — 29 miles of blacktop that's about 20 feet wide,” Shown said. “People who have enough experience and the correct safety equipment can drive down that road at speeds of over 140 miles an hour. That doesn't happen very many places.”
The challenge has expanded from its 55-mile open road race on Saturday to include a 12-mile curving Loup 2 Loup on Thursday and a half-mile and one-mile Shootout on Friday.