Racing at Senoia returns SaturdayFrom Special Reports
On a typical hot evening last summer, Tony Moses could be found driving a water truck round and round Senoia Speedway, spraying down the clay surface well into the wee hours of the morning to ensure the 3/8-mile dirt track would provide the best atmosphere for late model racing. But changes during the offseason should help even further as Senoia Raceway gets ready to ramp up the 2012 season with Saturday’s opener.
It’s a major reason why the Moses brothers, Tim and Tony, feel this year could be the most competitive since they reopened the track in 2010.
Following the removal of the old asphalt surface and preseason practices earlier this month, the raceway located just off Highway 16 in Senoia will open the season with Saturday’s first full week of racing highlighted by the Spring Fling 40.
A full night of racing in the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stocks, B Cadets, Mini Stocks and Bombers.
Tim Moses, who enters his third year as track promoter, completed the full transition back to a clay surface in early February as he and his team removed the old layer of asphalt that was the racing surface from the late 80s until his tenure began two and half years ago.
“We pulled up the asphalt that we had laid the clay on top of the past couple of years,” explained the third year promoter. “The project has created a better racing surface during the two pre-season practice sessions. The moisture can get down into the clay and does not have the unnatural barrier of the old asphalt surface.”
Originally built in 1969 as a dirt track, a layer of asphalt was laid down during a previous track conversion in 1987. The Moses brothers returned the popular auto racing facility back to it’s roots two years ago, but had to leave the asphalt in place until they knew the raceway would be an entertainment destination for area race fans.
“The fans were really excited about the return to dirt track racing when we put the clay on in early 2010,” said Moses. “That excitement has not subsided. So to create better racing for the fans and a better surface for the competitors, we made the investment to give them what they wanted.”
Hometown driver Joe Armistead, Jr. was one of the first late model drivers to give the track a test. The multi-race winner since the track’s return to clay was impressed with the changes made during the off-season.
“You are really going to be able to race on this track,” said Armistead. “The faster cars should be able to run the high side all the way around. The past couple of years, turns three and four were pretty tough to stay on top.”
Last year’s most dominating performer was Carrollton driver Clifton ‘Hog Head’ Moran. The Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stock champion won an unprecedented 19 feature races in 2011. Moran loves the new surface.
“I am going to run the high side all year,” Moran told Moses after last weekend’s final practice. “The others can run the bottom, but the top is going to win you some races.”
About 50 drivers have been out for the track’s preseason practice sessions.
The Jodeco Auto Sales Late Model competitors have a little more incentive to open the season ready. The high powered late models will open their Senoia Raceway season with the Spring Fling 40.
Last year’s winner Lavon Sparks of Phenix City, Ala.,, will have his work cut out for him, if he is to repeat as the Spring Fling champion. Newnan’s Rucker Orr and ‘Zero Hero’ Craig Scott have been busy dialing in their new mounts. Dirt Racing Hall of Famer Mike Head has been busy at the track the past two weekends helping young drivers, as well as, making his own notes for opening night.
“It’s going to be an interesting race,” said Head. “The track is not the same as it has been the past couple of seasons.”
Senoia Raceway will run weekly on Saturday nights through September. The track will also host a variety of children’s activities including an Easter Egg Hunt next Saturday and “Kid’s Rides in the Race Cars” on April 21.
Racing programs begins with hot laps at 7 p.m., and racing at 8 p.m. each night. In addition to the return of last year’s classes, the newly created Buzz Cars will also have an opportunity to run hot laps.
Ticket prices remain at $12 for adult grandstand admission and $5 for children ages 6-12. Children 5-and-under for free. The track is also offering free tickets and complimentary sodas to fans visiting their new website at www.senoiaraceway.com.