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Red Clay Report - Closings and Openings (Read 2485 times)
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Red Clay Report - Closings and Openings
01/25/14 at 7:00pm
 




Closings and openings

Late Model Mark
Pinson, Alabama (January 25, 2014)
 
Time to bang on the ol keyboard and open up the 2014 season with a new Red Clay Report. This version of the RCR will focus on the closing of some tracks and the opening of others. It sure has felt like the off season was a long one in my view, my last dirt race was way back on October when I attended the 2-day Nascar weekend at Talladega. That weekend was a good one. I had the chance to meet and talk racing with 2 longtime promoters, Howie Commander from Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York, and Robert Lawton from Boone Speedway in Iowa. That weekend also fullfilled a longtime hope, getting the announcing job at Talladega. Then shortly after that I was also hired on to announce at George Howards Lassiter Mountain Dragway. From famine in September to a feast by late October.
 
The closings. In late August, one half of the ownership of Moulton Speedway got ticked over a minor on-track incident and a small war of words between racers in the pits, he then told me in the tower to announce that the track was closing, oh what a bad choice as the track was booming, super packed grandstands, a full pit, an amazing surface with spectacular racing. The track was making money. So that is one check in the closed track box. Then after a very good Southern All Star race with a great crowd, good race, and momentum, just days after, Green Valley Speedway track owner Dennis Harker closed the 54 year track with the reason the track was sold for housing, Did not see that one coming. I will always be gratefull for the chance Dennis gave me, I'll miss the old girl. That is 2 checks in the track closing box.
 
The openings. First, River Valley Speedway located in Arkadelphia, Alabama, was taken over by longtime racer Gene Norman and renamed Arkadelphia Speedway. Gene hustled-up and got a nice schedule out early, has a Nesmith national event and a couple of Super Late specials and a loaded card of weekly divisions. Check the opening box. Then what had been hoped  for some time, North Alabama Speedway up in the Northwest part of Alabama near Tuscumbia, was going to race again. Wayne Burns, former track promoter at the ultra high-banked Thunderhill Speedway near Summertown, Tennessee, was going to head up the group and run Saturday nights, weekly. Now there are two checks in the track opening box, but wait, there is another.
 
The third check in the opening box has another track opening back up but this one has created a firestorm on the Southern racing internet sites. Moulton Speedway will open back up under new ownership. Nasty internet barbs have been hurled at the man getting Moulton back up. Shannon Gibson is the man who will be at the forefront at Moulton. He is also a drag racer who at one point tried to purchase Jakes Drag Strip next door to Moulton Speedway, but did not come to terms with the drag strip, maybe in the short future. There is such bad feelings about how Moulton closed after many personal guarantees and such. It really angered the fans and racers how it all went down, It angered the heck out of me at the time, that is in the past, time to move forward.
 
When you think about it, for those that live in this area of Alabama, that is three track quite close to each other, drawing a limited amount of cars and fans, or you can look at it as a huge opportunity for racers to make some bank and the fans to enjoy different tracks without a giant drive. Let us throw in Marvin Fords Ft. Payne Motor Speedway up in Fyffe, Alabama, ya got 4 tracks that are open.
 
Then we have the on-solid ground Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, Alabama, that will run weekly as usual. The track has a strong following to say the least. TST has solid sponsorship, many big shows in 2014, and the strongest weekly Super Late Models field in the South. The Go Kart track just hosted a huge race that had 481 entries! That track was awarded Nesmith track of the year. I am very stoked about working with track promoter Lynn Phillips and the very well oiled track staff, a staff that really knows how to run a show. It was a bucket list check in the box to work my first Ice Bowl, it was awesome. I would like to say what an honor it will be to announce at TST, the place that was once occupied by my first Alabama friend, my announcing mentor, my buddy, the late and very great, Perry Holman. The man was so important in my life, I'll do my best to due ya proud Perry! Till next time.
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