(Words and photos by Doug Gregory) – Local support for racers came from places like FAST auto parts (did a bunch of machine work and built motors), Bucky’s transmission, and SECO performance out on the Eastern By-pass. Stan Webb was the manager out there and he with his wife were some of the nicest folks I ever dealt with at a speed shop. These days there aren’t many speed shops left and I understand SECO is no longer there. They had a former drag car (1st-gen Camaro named ‘pinky’) that had been converted to street duty and ran a potent small block with plenty of new go-fast goodies.
The whole time I was there rumor had been spread about a new, NHRA track being built off the Northern by-pass. Word was that city leaders and economics kept getting in the way. The new track started construction just as I was being stationed elsewhere. It seemed everyone wanted a modern, top-notch facility in which to race, but I can’t help but feel something has been lost as the old 1/8th mi track was left to fade into history. These small tracks are what fostered the sport back in the day and gave exposure to generations of new fans and racers. The racing there was rarely boring which many folks considered brackets to be. The surface was fairly smooth and, other than being narrow, wasn’t a bad place to run. I’ve ran at bigger tracks, some national event venues, that weren’t prepped as well and the atmosphere not near as friendly. Everyone there seemed to help each other and most folks just got along. I was even witness to one driver having his car fail, but he won that round and one of his competitors lending him his ride. Though he didn’t turn on the win light in the next round, it was a testament to the spirit there. Good driver, but running an entirely different setup and expecting to cut a light and run the number is a bit much to ask as the box-class racing was usually tight with the vast amount of local talent.
Enjoy this group of shots from a fun little Southern track.