Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three years after flood, local track under water again

A new name and new ownership couldn't keep floodwater from once again overcoming a local racetrack this week.

Along with the playing fields, golf courses and sports venues under water this week, two popular racetracks in the 23-county region are under several feet of water. One of them - Black River Racepark near Poplar Bluff - just reopened three weeks ago after it was devastated by floods in 2008.

It's the second time the track (top photo) has been overcome by floods since it was built in 2004. Operating under its original owners as Poplar Bluff Speedway in 2008, the track was devastated by floods that left it closed for three years.

Parts of Malden Speedway (second photo) also are under several feet of water, most of it in the infield of the oval track. Parking and pit areas also are soaked with standing water.

Both tracks already have called off events for this weekend.

At Doe Run Raceway in St. Francis County, the track has cancelled its preseason practice day set for Friday because of damage it received from this week's storms. Its opening night has been moved to May 6.

Owners of Thunder City Speedway near in Ripley County are optimistic for weekend racing April 30. Roads leading to the track were under almost 6 feet of water Wednesday but are expected to be passable by the weekend.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

An emotional weekend on the track for a Sikeston racer

On a busy weekend for Southeast Missouri racetracks, the biggest win of all happened out of state.

Austin Rettig of Sikeston won his first career event on the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series, seven years to the day after the death of his older brother Nathan.

Austin, 16, won the event at Riverside Speedway in West Memphis, Ark., late Saturday. A day earlier, his dad — a longtime racer himself — made the right call.

"Dad told me yesterday that I was going to win on Saturday night, but to actually do it just means so much," Austin said. "I just know that Nathan was just there with me the whole way."

Nathan, the first to follow his father Allan's path as a late model competitor across the region, was killed April 9, 2004, from injuries he suffered in an ATV accident near his Sikeston home. He was 13.

On Saturday, Austin raced side-by-side with another of dirt racing's rising stars, Arkansas' Billy Moyer Jr. Austin's lead at the finish was 0.04 seconds.

"This one is definitely for Nathan," Austin said in victory lane.

AROUND THE REGION: Short-track racing continued at St. Francois County Raceway near Farmington and at Malden Speedway, and the weekly schedules began for Thunder City Speedway near Doniphan and Black River Racepark near Poplar Bluff.

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