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Red Clay Report - Recent travels down yonder (Read 2018 times)
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Red Clay Report - Recent travels down yonder
05/16/12 at 6:58pm

Recent travels down yonder 

Late Model Mark
Pinson, Alabama (May 16, 2012)
There was a thin layer of dust on the ole keyboard so I though it was time to clean it off with a long overdue round of the Red Clay Report here on Latemodelracer.com. It sure has been an interesting couple of months down here, from odd weather to late nights at the track. This edition will be an overview of recent travels. From first time visits to a historic track to getting a phone call that fullfilled a long awaited goal.
First up, I finally made it up to historic Winchester Speedway up in Tennessee, it took nearly 5 years to catch a show up there. What took so long? The first couple of years here Alabama I made a list of speedplants that I wanted to visit, starting in 2010 Winchester was on the schedule. A number of times I had a Late Model special penciled on the calendar, then before the event it would get rained out. One time in 2010 I made the long drive up in the early afternoon, decided I would hit the Jack Daniels distillery tour, again, before driving the 20 miles over to the track. During the tour while inside taking the tour, unknown to me, it poured buckets of rain in just minutes. I come out side and the it's partly cloudy with the ground wet. I drive to the track and it's a ghost town, what? I called track promoter Jimmy Nowlin and he said it rained so hard the track was unraceable. Great, foiled again. It was 6:00 pm. What to do? I was going to see a race so I drove for 2 plus hours down to Talladega for a Southern All Star show. Next shot at Winchester was an early 2012 season daytime race, the Winterfest that payed $3000-win. It was cold, it was windy but it was a decent show on a blacked-up hard track.
Winchester is smack dab in the middle of town, not on the outskirts but dead center just next to the town square. The track is old school in layout, small, steep grandstands, center located tower with the concessions underneith. Small but clean restrooms, decent lighting and a nice soundsystem. When you drive into the track both racers and fans pay at a booth, the fans park right behind the seats, large, easy and close parking. The pits are off turn 2 and off the backstraight, plenty of room for the racers. The track is fairly high-banked, has a decent width to it. When I got there the track was bone-dry and allready blacked over. A nice field of over 30 Super Late Models graced the joint. The feature was decent considering the surface and weather, it was somewhat racey, Corey Posey led from the green and was never threatened until hitting traffic, then a yellow would come out, negating any threats. I would like to see a nightime show as this place draws the most cars on a Saturday night in a very crowded area for dirt tracks. This track nearly went away but Jimmy Nowlin saved it and has made it work, even after threats from political suits and a few snivelling neighbors. Jimmy and Sharon Nowlin are a class act and should be applauded for all their efforts in these tough times. I'll be back for sure.
Had the chance to announce a number of shows thru the spring, I joined World of Outlaw Late Model Series announcer Rick Eshelman for the Saturday portion of Green Valley Speedways big March show, the Crate Nationals. Working with a talented pro like Rick is nothing short of a blast, more on Green Valley later. A few weeks later I was invited to join regular track annoucer Robert Bradford for Moulton Speedways season opener, a gigantic car count and just one of those crash filled nights had me leaving right after I called the Late Model main, at 1:55 am. Later in the month, made the drive up to what could be North Alabama Speedways last show for some time, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series made a rare Alabama appearance, it was a Friday night deal that had me scramble to get up there before hot laps, I made it easy as a very wet track delayed the start of hot laps until 8:15 pm. The place was jammed with fans, just wall-to-wall people. The show was fast-paced and exciting with many wild twists and turns. Jeff Greer has said adios to North Alabama to concentrate on running Columbus Speedway. The tracks future is in doubt until someone takes it over. The next night just 30 miles west, Moulton Speedway hosted a $3000-to-win Late Model special, I was up in the booth yet again calling the Late Model action, a nice field of 29 Supers filled the pits, the track was wet, fast and bumpy. Ray Cook made his first visit to Moulton, he destroyed a great field to take the win with a great crowd on hand. I'll be back at Moulton in June for another special for the Late Models.
Back to Green Valley, in late March, track owner Dennis Harker called my house, my dream came true that night, Dennis asked me if I would be interested in being the announcer for the track in 2012! Of course I said yes!! I had a deal a couple of years ago at another track but the promoters bailed, now I can work at a modern, professional track that has great facilties and a super schedule thruout 2012. A well-oiled professional crew running the show, a modern tower, great soundsystem, great lights and a blazing fast racetrack that has provided stellar racing in 2012. My first show was in April, that race was won by Ray Cook in a doozey. Race organizer Adam Stewart really knows how to run a quick show, we were done at 10:25pm. Scott Morris preps that track and did yet another great job, no dust, multi-grooved and smokin' fast. Green Valley runs on the first and third Saturday of each month thru October, a very workable schedule that allows me to live the dream and still travel to other races, perfect! Dennis and Debbie Harker are a dream to work for, I am so thankfull. This year when the gates open, the Super lates run for $2000-to-win weekly, the best in the state and the region for a regular show, the Crates and the Sportsman run for $1000 each race. Very excited to say the least, our next show is this Saturday, May 19 that has a special admission price of $5.00 or $15.00 for a carload. If your in the area of Gadsden, Alabama, check out Green Valley Speedway and we will welcome you to the jungle.  Till next time.
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