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Red Clay Report - Sunday Thoughts (Read 1682 times)
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Red Clay Report - Sunday Thoughts
07/21/14 at 12:54pm
 




Sunday Thoughts

Red Clay Report

Late Model Mark
Pinson, Alabama (July 20, 2014)

Just sat down this Sunday morning with the dog days of summer outside with yet another day of hot and humid conditions. On a normal Sunday morning I would be thinking about announcing the previous nights show at Talladega. How was the show? Was it well run or a time dragger? Was the racing good? Did I do a good job behind the microphone? Besides those thoughts, I will just unload my brain, what is on my mind, some observations, and opinions. This and more in the Red Clay Report for mid July.

Last night at Talladega was supposed to be one of the biggest and most anticipated shows of the year, joining with our regular six divisions, including three Late Model classes, the Nesmith Street Stock Series was booked in. Co-sanctioned with the Mississippi Street Stock Tour, this race was going to feature a big money purse and the best of the best from the Southeast. It did not happen, some rain hit the area Friday night, not much in my view and then light rain early Saturday morning, moisture stopped by 7:30am. The race was called after 8:00am. The reason I guess was a forecast that was totally incorrect. The sun popped in and out all day with not a drop falling the rest of the morning, afternoon and night, great. The track played it safe, not wanting the teams to pull hundreds of miles. Oh well.

Had a chance to get to the renamed Arkadelphia Speedway on July 5th. Was off that night at TST so I wanted to see what former racer and now promoter Gene Norman had done with the joint. He had the Nesmith National Crate Series booked and a Super Late Model special. A great car count and a full house was in the seats. Gene and crew have done a lot of improvements since I last announced there in 2010. New pit booths, fencing, clay, updated restrooms, and a updated fully stocked and well staffed concession greeted new fans. Place looked great. Due to many factors the races ran real long and late, that happens. I had to leave shortly after midnite due to some early Sunday commitments, they still had 3 heats and then 9 features to run. Gene and crew have done a great job with this track. Good crowds and car counts have been the norm in 2014.

Everytime they have a Late Model show at California's Bakersfield Speedway I get chill bumps and a touch of nostalgia, that was my home track. I am determined to X the square on the bucket list and go there in 2015 to announce the Budweiser Nationals. Would love to hit a summer Late Model show at Sanat Maria so I could wear a sweatshirt! Wayne Burns is having a tough go of it at North Alabama Speedway trying to fing the right combination of classes and what night to run. In my view the track should run only specials, Friday night or Holiday weekend Sunday events. Wayne has a full plate as he took over Moulton Speedway this spring. Trying very hard to undo the mess that the previous promoters fouled up. Wayne is trying hard to get the trust of the racers and fans. When one-half of the promotership pulled the plug, it just killed all gains, momentum the track was enjoying. That closing last August will go down in my view as one of the biggest blunders  ever in Southeast short track racing, Rooting for that track to make it, it will take time and patience.

Now to ramble, while taking a break announcing the Ice Bowl at TST back in January, there was a discussion by many track owners and sanctioning body heads in attendance, they were discussing the NDRL and how long it would last, most all said it would be toast by June, boy were they spot on. Feel bad for those tracks up in the Northeast that were purchased by the NDRL. Ft.Payne Motor Speedway up in the one-stoplight town in Fyffe, Alabama, has been drawing the biggest crowds in track history. Marvin Ford has done wonders with that place, he just finished his first Super special with his Firecracker 50. Winchester and Duck River up in Tennessee are having good years with solid crowds and good car counts.

Would like to see a Supermodified show at New Yorks' Oswego Speedway, catch Brett Hearn at Alabany-Saratoga Speedway. Watch Ted Christopher at either Stafford or Thompson Speedways wheeling his pavement Modified. Or a Modified show at that madhouse of Bowman Grey Stadium. Enjoy seeing Craig Von Dohren throw dirt at either Bid Diamond or Grandview. Sit under the covered grandstands at the tiny Belle-Claire in Illinois. Visit any show at Tri State in Indiana. Go to the high-banks at Howie Commanders Lebanon Valley. See Super Dirt week at Syracuse.

This coming Saturday night at Talladega will have a visit by the Southern All Stars, the Mike Head Jr. Memorial. This is a very special event in the South. Had the chance a couple of weeks ago at TST to talk and then interview southern legend Mike Head Sr. A big honor for me, what a racer and great man. The fans at TST are really loyal, most of the crowd is there every race sitting in the same seats, a great bunch. With having the month of September off as TST is dark, this will give me a chance to travel. Hope to get over to Magnolia and Columbus, get up to Duck River and Moulton too. That's it for now, let's go racing and bring a friend.

Late Model Mark
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