May 16, 2014 11:00:17 AM
"The Baddest Bullring in the South" is ready for action.
After extensive debris cleanup following damaging winds on April 28, Columbus Speedway will host a $2,000-to-win limited late model race Saturday that track manager Joe Ables said will feature many of the popular super late model and NeSmith late model racers from the area.
Following the outbreak of tornadoes on April 28, Ables said there were downed power lines around the track and damage to booths around the outside of the track. The surface of the track wasn't damaged, but particles from roofs were littered across the racing surface.
The more pressing concern was fan safety, Ables said.
"There was Plexiglass busted up and materials just kind of scattered everywhere," he said. "I spent a day on my hands and knees getting glass from up under the bleachers - I know there are a lot of kids who like to play there.
"The clean-up was the biggest thing, but as far as the track, we'll be back to high-speed, side-by-side racing this weekend."
Ables said some of the debris cleanup was delayed so he could help members of the community who suffered extensive home and property damage. Ables thanks Nichols Dirt Construction for lending track hoes and back hoes to help haul trees.
With the track returned to good working order, Ables said he expects a strong field of competitors Saturday, including Rick Rickman, Johnny Stokes, Hunter Carroll, Shay Knight and Jeremy Shaw.
Whynot Motorsports Park in Meridian and Magnolia Motor Speedway aren't hosting races this weekend, which will also contribute to a quality field.
Limited late model races feature similar cars as the super late model races but with smaller engines that produce about 300 fewer horsepower, Ables said.
"This will be a great race with a lot of the late model guys stepping down to compete," Ables said.
The weekend will also feature 602 stock late models, street stocks and mini stocks.
Ables is excited to have a star-studded field this weekend after canceling races originally slated for May 3.