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Red Clay Report - 2011 Track of the year (Read 1983 times)
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Red Clay Report - 2011 Track of the year
03/14/12 at 8:03pm

2011 Track of the year

Late Model Mark
Pinson, Alabama (March 14, 2012)
The final installment of my 2011 track review and preview concludes with the track of the year. The ole bald guy wearing the orange shirt went to some great tracks and saw a load of good events thruout 2011, but one speedway just got it done from top to bottom. The Dodge made four trips, 138 miles each way to this gem, worth every dang mile and the dollars in gas to get there, so who get's the nod?

A very worthy winner here, I give the Red Clay Report courtesy of Latemodelracer.com the 2011 track-of-the-year title to Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Mississippi!! The track is labeled the belle of the south, but most just call it the "Mag." In my view it is the best facility in the South with a special atmosphere every time the gates crack open. To be a candidate for this honor, many things must be right and this track does it right. The facility is just a winner, plenty of easy and spacious parking with multiple entrances and exits, if you have a motorhome you have plenty of space for camping, want to park your rig trackside, no problem, some great spots in turns three and four provide great viewing. Parking your car, lot's of room as well. You have a short stroll to the ticket booth and when paying your admission you are greeted and thanked by the friendly gals in the booth. Going in and out after getting a handstamp is very easy. Seating?

Magnolia has plenty of seats, it's all concrete terrace, you bring you lawnchair and put it down with plenty of legroom, wide aisles, just easy and comfortable, want to bring in a cooler, no problem, their welcomed. The concessions are very good, it's indoor, air-conditioned and fast moving with many things to eat and drink with the boiled peanuts and chicken sammys that please the belly, all washed down with some great southern sweet tea. The prices are very fair, a good bang for that tight dollar. The lighting is excellent, good fencing, safe walls and a very good sound system just add to the excellence of this track. The announcer is the one of the best in the nation and my favorite guy behind the microphone, "Big" Ross Tingle. This guy could make watching grass grow exciting. I had the chance to assist Ross calling races last year on two occasions, a big honor as well, I even had the chance to call a show at my favorite track in August when Ross was recovering from his injuries last summer by an errant car in the infield at another track. The track crew is second to none. Race director Mike Mauldin up in the tower ran tight shows each show, the ladies at his side were on top of everything in all areas, very professional. The track crews on the track from the starter to the infield workers all do a smashing job of doing it right. I also would like to mention is the V.I.P. lounge run by Miss Kathy, an airconditioned pub with great food, great seats, and true southern hospitality, a great place to relax with family and friends, Miss Kathy is some cook.

The track surface? In my opinion, one of the best in the region. Prepped by promoter and racer, the ageless "Dr. Dirt" Johnny Stokes, this track is indeed home of the black ice, this wide and smooth surface provides stellar racing each race, just ask 2011 Cotton Pickin' winner Jonathan Davenport on his thoughts of how racy and slick this speedplant gets. It is just sweet for Late Models. The best surface of 2011 was in June for the Governors Cup that saw Ronnie Johnson come from deep in the pack on a perfect black-ice track to take a fantastic $5000 victory. This track also has the ability to absorb crazy amounts of rain, the 2-day Lucas Oil race had multiple rainstroms just pelt the track, it took it like a pro, yes the program ran late, but they raced, that night the track was blazing fast, tacky as glue, but not overly racy, but they got it in. Most tracks after the first rainshower would have bailed, not the folks at Magnolia. The fans sure like the place as the crowds came in for the big shows, this track draws fans from most of the surrounding states, folks willing to drives some miles to catch a good show.

What does 2012 have in store for Magnolia, maybe it's most exciting schedule ever. The Lucas series will once again come to town for a 2-day, $20,000-to-win show, the $5000-to-win Governors Cup in June, a visit by the Nesmith Series, a biggie in April, a Friday $2-grander and then the next night a unsanctioned $8000-to-win feature. The MSCCS tour has a date as well but the big news is that the famous Magnolia State 100 and it's $25,000-to-win show has been moved to Magnolia in September. The season ends with the $15,000-to-win Cotton Pickin' 100 in October. There are many big-dollar shows in 2012 to give the hoardes of Late Model fans a big ole smile. Throw in a number of weekly series events and you have one ripper of a schedule. Chuck Cook and the rest of the brass should be proud of this track, it is run correct, a rarity these days it seems.

So there you have it, the 2011 track-of-the-year winner, the great Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Mississippi. Take in a show there if your in the area, they do it right, everytime!
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