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Red Clay Report - 10:32pm. It All Fell Apart (Read 2422 times)
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Red Clay Report - 10:32pm. It All Fell Apart
08/02/13 at 1:28pm
 




10:32pm. It All Fell Apart

Late Model Mark
Pinson, Alabama (August 2, 2013)

At 10:32 pm. last Saturday night, July 27, it all fell apart. A knockout shot to a region that had been bloodied but still upright, then it was all over. What was over? It was a straight hard right connected to the chin, a loss of one of the longtime main players in Northwest, Alabama. The sudden closing of Moulton Speedway. That is the subject of this round of the Red Clay Report. Let me go back in time and give my view of things.

After a solid 13 year run by the Crumb family at Moulton, they were looking to enjoy their golden years, they worked so hard over the years in good times and bad at Moulton. Weathering and enduring many rough times, they kept the joint going, Mr. and Mrs. Crumb along with hardworking daughter,Colleen busted their tales.It was time to step back, all they needed was was a buyer, for a couple of years the track was for sale. At the end of 2012 it looked the same as before, in  2013, what was hoped for happened, a partnership with good money behind them bought the track. Hopes were very high. The folks who bought the track had some goals to acheive and some work ahead of them.

With new ownership things moved at a rapid pace, long needed improvements were well underway. The track received 125 loads of rock-free red clay that was super sweet. A wall was added along the full length of the backstraight. Fences were moved, the pits expanded, and a big, no make that huge chunk of change was spent on a modern computer scoring system, the latest in raceceiver and transponder equipment. tired grandstands in turn 1 were replaced with 2 new aluminum grandstands. Concessions were added and improved upon. I was approched to be the full time announcer but I had a gig at Green valley in place and I am very loyal to GVS. I said whenever I was off at GVS I would announce at Moulton, it was very nice of them to accomodate me, I am very gratefull for that. Then a aggressive purse structured announced that would be guaranteed for a least the first year, things were in place for this track to jump to the top of the heap in Alabama. The first 3 races featured big car counts in the Late Model divisions and the Street Stocks while solid counts in the other divisions as well. Then...................

After a couple of weeks the folks in charge cut the purse and based pay by car counts, it had some negative effects, car counts dropped and fan count went down and the internet in it's usual mode bashed the track. To be fair, I understood the cut, it was very exspensive, I don't write the checks so I understood very well. Then a few weeks later the person in charge of promotion and race directing was let go and a new man came into the fold. The new man was a racer himself and a good guy. Phillip Hathcock took over, ol' Philip had more ideas that a full gumball machine. He was not afraid to try stuff, there were $5.00, $1.00 nights that had great crowds. Then there were 2 major smash hits, for 2 weeks running there was free admissions, that resulted in standing room only crowd the likes that track had never seen. it was jammed packed, it was so exciting being part of that, announcing the night to an overflow crowd. The crowds had returned, the concessions were booming, the pit passes were impressive as well. The car counts started to gradually rise and things were moving forward.

Remember that red clay deal earlier in this column, this stuff is so good, wet or dry slick slick it provided a great surface for all divsions to race. One Nesmith Street Stock race was the best race I've seen in years, 3,4, and 5 wide racing!! It was off the hook. Philip booked Street Stock, Super Pony, Min Stock, and Late Model Stock specials that had smokin' races, things were looking really good. The track was doing good. Also a few weeks previous a great, modern scoreboard was purchased from a closed track in Georgia, it is a beauty! The track never had one in all it's history, then..................

Last Saturday, the 27th of July, all seemed normal,I was there to call my 9th race of the year, it was dollar night so another big crowd was on hand. Kids were treated to rides in the newly purchased 20 seat "cheese bus." We had giveaways, a kids candy dash at intermission, the track was awesome, the racing good, the track was on it's way to another night of making some money by all accounts. The features went off, then during the second to last feature, the Late Model Stock main, we had a yellow. I was calling the last feature to the staging lanes,  looked at my clock and it was 10:32pm. One half of the ownership came into the tower and directed me to announce that we would not be racing next week, ok, then I asked when the next race would be, then I was floored when told that the rest of the season was cancelled. I then asked if this includes the heavily sponsored and promoted Nesmith Street Stock race scheduled for August 31st and the giant $10,000-to-win Super Late Model race in October. The answer was yes, my heart sunk. It sunk for the loyal fans, the great racers, the track workers and the whole region that would be effected. Then I had to make the most painfull announcement that was met with shock and amazement. Many sad and long faces. I called the last race, the Mini Stocks and just before 11:00pm. it was all over. It was a quiet leaving crowd, very quiet in the pits. I sure wasn't closed in my view for a lack of success, crowds, car count, racing action, or any outside pressures. The details or reasons I know of are not for public consumption. This closing in my  view,a wrong move of epic porportions for this area. We lost North Alabama last year, now Moulton. I drove home in silence, usually I have some rippin' music going home, pop some frosties when I get home to unwind and the slumber off after another great night at Moulton. That's gone because at 10:32pm. It all fell apart.
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