One unique feature of this...
One unique feature of this track, and one we haven't seen before, were these homemade sky boxes built by individual teams and sponsors. The view is fantastic and the members of each "club" enjoy a vantage point free from flying dirt and clods. It just adds to the whole ambience of this fun little racetrack.
A few big name teams arrived hoping to win the $25,010 purse. Names like Billy Moyer (no, we're not following him around on purpose!), Wendell Wallace, Shane Clanton, Chris Madden, and Steve Francis headlined the show.
As I walked around the pit area, I couldn't help but notice individual, elevated, homemade sky boxes, about 20 of them across the backstretch and around to Turn 1. Each one had the name of a team or sponsoring company painted on it.
This is exactly what I refer to as community support. Each of these companies must feel a unique connection to the track. Each has a "lease" on a piece of ground on the speedway property, and a great view of the races.
The races were very competitive and in the end, Mike Marlar from Winfield, Tennessee, bested Shane Clanton, Billy Moyer, and 70 other cars that showed up for the win. Mike has been on a rampage this summer, recording multiple wins and mostly Top 5 results when not wrecked or having engine problems. This is one up and coming driver in the top division of dirt track racing to watch.
The End of A Journey
The track at Columbus was...
The track at Columbus was worked in well prior to the feature events. The banking had progressive angles built into it so that different lines could be run making the competition even better. I liked the fact that not only did they water and turn up the track, but they shaped it carefully with this motor grader as well.
And so, as we left the Columbus area, we felt several emotions. We were first of all exhausted and tired of traveling. But as we made our way toward Florida and home, we couldn't help but reflect on how unique this Tour has been and the great amount of friends we've made.
What we gained can't be fully explained here and so we will submit a full report on the whole of the Tour in the May issue of CT. But be sure that we took a whole lot away from this experience and were able to take in a ton of information that we still need to sort through. I call it information in the can-there when we need it.
I hope that we can successfully compile all of our experiences and observations into a composite review that will lend some insight into where our sport is and where it's going, at least in this particular region. And most of all, we hope to influence in a positive way where it ends up. Be looking for our final review of the entire 2010 AMSOIL Great American Circle Track Tour of the Southeast in the next issue.
This team prepared its setup...
This team prepared its setup by putting the car on scales on what was the only hard and flat surface available. Many dirt tracks lack a good place to do this, so this was one more check mark in the plus column for this track.
All of the drivers sat at...
All of the drivers sat at a long table and signed autographs for the many fans at Columbus. This is a nice touch and one that keeps the families coming back. The kids were very excited to be able to get up close and talk with their favorite drivers.
Just one more unique dirt...
Just one more unique dirt fan we ran across was not about to miss either the race or the Mississippi State football game. It was a home game played just down the road in Starkville against Georgia and they won. Lucky for this family, it was played in the afternoon.