The fast way around the track was through the middle of Turns 1-2 and running high off of Turns 2 and 4. Unfortunately, this is where the track got rough. I soon learned from watching a few of the heats, that if a driver kept the car up high, it was smoother there and he could keep his momentum up.

There were only a few smart ones in all of the races who figured that out. The rest fought the ruts and gained and lost ground to the ones who ran high. The bottom was just not productive for speed although it was smoother there too.

It was interesting to see some of the Modified cars launch off the ruts and to see "daylight" under all four wheels at times. And all of that bouncing around took its toll on the equipment. I saw at least four cars whose radiator hoses came off and spilled all of their coolant.

I thought about that. The weight of the coolant in a large hose must be significant. When the cars hit those holes, the forces would certainly put a lot of stress on the fittings and clamps. I wondered how many of those who lost their hoses had double clamped them?

After the races, we settled into our motorhome while the "grassroots" teams celebrated outside. They celebrated, and celebrated, and...well it went on till about 5:30 in the morning. Along about 3 a.m., one of the drivers fired up his Modified and began spinning donuts in the grass. I told my wife, Karen, "That can't be good!"

The next morning I went outside and the Ft. Worth police were there writing up a report on the five, new port-o-lets that were damaged, one being destroyed, within 100 feet of the bus. And most of the teams had left. I would guess there were more than a few drunk drivers on the road judging from the way the beer was flowing.

The lack of security contributed to the whole thing getting out of hand. And while talking with a vendor at the track I learned that a similar party had occurred in the spring race here, so there was a history of this happening. Oh well, boys will be boys. I hope no one got hurt.

We made our way back to the Lakeside RV Park after a not-so-good night of "sleep" for a much needed rest. Our next race was up the road in Mississippi and we would need an overnight stay on the way there. Meanwhile, we had a whole section of the park to ourselves along with the pool and hot tub.

Columbus Speedway
We rolled into town for the 21st annual Magnolia State 100 race at what is billed as the "Baddest Bullring in the South" just outside Columbus, Mississippi. To say this track was unique would be accurate. From the "cut out of a pasture" feel to the custom, individually erected "sky boxes" that lined the track, you could feel a certain local attachment to the venue.

When a racetrack has a serious connection to the community, it shows. This was admittedly a big event that drew name drivers and teams from the top ranks of Dirt Late Model racing, but it had even more. It had the support of the surrounding community and that is what makes it special.

This track only runs limited local and several major events each year, the biggest being this one. We counted a total of just 10 events on the website schedule. Since racing in this area is shared with Magnolia Motor Speedway, the Columbus Racing Alliance was formed in order to schedule races without conflict between the two facilities.

Johnny Stokes manages both area speedways right now and has been instrumental in making both racetracks a success and removing conflicting goals and scheduling. Johnny is a hands-on promoter and it shows. Everything about this race was carefully orchestrated and overseen by him. Every time I called Johnny, he was either working on preparing the track or on the way to do some other task associated with the promotion or preparation of the event. We rarely see promoters actually work.