I only began covering dirt racing in 2008 when a friend invited me to The Scorcher at Volunteer Speedway. After years of both following and covering NASCAR, my love for dirt racing was rekindled following several years of coaching high school basketball and having little time for anything else.
Living in Seymour, Tennessee, I had direct access to a track just a short drive from my house so it only made sense that I began attending race events at the 411 Motor Speedway after rediscovering a form of racing I had enjoyed with my dad when I was younger. Since then, I have probably attended more races at my hometown track than any other racing facility with the possible exception of Bristol Motor Speedway.
I enjoy every track I go to, but over those 15 years, I have developed quite a fondness for 411. After all, it’s so close to my residence that I can hear the roar of engines from my yard. On a number of weekday occasions, I have ventured over upon detecting the unmistakable sound of racing engines at full throttle. The likes of Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Tim McCreadie and Earl Pearson Jr. have been among the many found testing on the 3/8 mile clay oval following a quick ride from my home to the track.
Needless to say, I was very disappointed when the rumors began to circulate then confirmation ultimately came that the track that first opened in 1960 would be closing down in the near future. As a result, it appears as if I am facing the likelihood of losing what feels like an old friend.
I can’t express enough my appreciation for the blood, sweat, and tears that Mitch and Tanya McCarter have put into the running of that facility. Their team at the track, including their sons Pierce and Mack, made sure the shows were always efficiently run whether it be a weekly racing program or a big sanctioned event. The track was always well prepped and the facility was properly maintained. And most of all, the hospitality was clearly evident every time fans and competitors came through the gates.
From now on, every time I pass the entrance to the track, I will have fond memories to draw upon.
Unfortunately, the story of a race track closure is becoming an all-to-familiar one not only here in the east Tennessee region but around the country. The economics of running a venue such as this when there is a large amount of work required for track preparation and facility maintenance just don’t add up.
Whatever the reason the property is apparently changing hands is the business of the McCarter family and no one else. There are perhaps a couple more events for fans of 411 Motor Speedway to enjoy then only memories will remain. Fans and competitors alike will then have to take the opportunity to find a new race place to make new memories.
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