Originally created 03/15/03

Gordon Highway track set for season premier

Racing season starts this weekend in Columbia County.

Gordon Park Speedway's first race is scheduled to start at 8 tonight at the raceway on Gordon Highway. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.

"I'm more excited than a hog eating slop," said track owner Bill "Catfish" Reese. "I lost $52,000 out there last year. That's my dream of a lifetime to make that thing successful out there."

Admission is $10 for an adult grandstand ticket, $5 for a child (6-12) grandstand ticket, $20 for an adult pit ticket and $10 for a child pit ticket.

Reese said he plans to focus all his attention on making the track a safe, family-friendly weekend destination. He replaced the portable toilets with new restrooms and added a special family section where no drinking, cursing or smoking are allowed.

"My intention is to make the greatest racetrack around here out of that racetrack," he said.

When racing does start, there'll be some county zoning stipulations Reese must follow.

Racing must end at 11:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and the noise level must remain below 60 decibels.

Reese said his commitment to noise control is evident in the track's bright yellow rule book. Nearly every page is stamped: "MUFFLERS are MANDATORY!!!"

One change from previous years deals with Sunday racing. This season - which runs until mid-November - races will be allowed on Sunday, but only when Saturday's event is rained out. In those cases, the race must be between 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and can only include laps not completed Saturday night.

"In the history of that track, there's never been Sunday racing," Reese said.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115 or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com.


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