Johnson City Press: Clay Valley Speedway shuts down operations
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Clay Valley Speedway shuts down operations

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Jun 4, 2019 at 5:08 PM

Clay Valley Speedway has closed after three races this season.

The former Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Va., shut down as an asphalt track in 2017, but reopened under the new ownership of Virginia businessman Bobby Hill as a dirt track in March. With a stream of weather issues and a low count of 21 cars Saturday night, it became no longer feasible to keep the track going.

The track opened to a good crowd and nice car count in March, but wet weather forced the cancelation of multiple weeks of planned racing. The loss of momentum after the first week, lack of community support and other problems led to the recent decision.

“We had six rainouts in a row and that didn’t help,” Hill said Tuesday in a phone interview. “After that, we couldn’t get the people or the cars to show up.”

Hill added the property is up for sale. The family hopes someone will come along and keep it a racing facility. The Hill family put out a facebook post late Monday night thanking the drivers and fans who supported the track.

“We wanted to make a go of it, but we couldn’t lose so much that it would break us,” Hill said. “It got to the point where we had to do something else.”

Five drivers earned wins in Saturday night’s races.

Josh Henry from Newport was the winner in the featured Crate Late Model division. Danny Rose from Wytheville, Va., won the Open Wheel Modified race and Trevor Lunsford from nearby Norton, Va., was the KDRA Super Stock winner.

West Virginia racers Jesse Rupe in Open Wheel Modified and Jamey Mahon in Super Street also captured wins. Mahon, drove a No. 5 Camaro, with a tribute paint scheme to resemble Terry Labonte’s 1996 NASCAR championship car.

RACERS REUNION AT KINGSPORT

Racers Reunion Night at the Races is scheduled Friday at Kingsport Speedway.

Fans have the chance to meet many of the local racing legends like Brownie King, Mike Potter and Brad Teague.

The Late Model Stock division headlines the on-track program for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with a 60-lap feature. In addition, there are features for the Mod Street, Mod 4 and Pure 4 divisions.

Twin features for the always entertaining Pure Street division are also on tap.

STALLARD ERA BEGINS AT VOLUNTEER

The first races at Volunteer Speedway under the new ownership of Kingsport business owner Landon Stallard are scheduled for Saturday night.

Grandstand admission for the weekly racing shows have been dropped to $10 for adults with kids 10-and-under getting in free.

The track owner has started improvements to the facility, including painting the grandstands, and has worked to ensure shorter lines for concessions.

On the track, Stallard is promising winners’ purses of $1,500 for the Crate Late Models and $1,000 for the Sportsman Late Models if over 20 cars show up for those divisions’ races.

Other races scheduled for the weekly program include the Open Wheel Modified, Classic, Modified Street and Mini-Stock classes.

MUDDY CREEK MOTOCROSS

There are two days of open practice scheduled Saturday and Sunday for Muddy Creek Raceway. The practice is open to all riders, including ATVs. Sign-up is 8 a.m. and practice starts at 10 a.m. both days. It is $10 admission, $25 to practice and free camping for the weekend.

The Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series raced last weekend in Forest City, North Carolina. The next race on the schedule is June 22 in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. The series returns to the Tri-Cities area June 29 at I-81 Motorsports Park.

BRISTOL DRAGWAY

Jerry Turner of Bluff City swept Motorcycle races at the DER Bracket Series races at Bristol Dragway on Sunday.

Race 1 winners included: Joey Ramsey (Super Pro), Jesse Edens (Pro), Ed Cannon (Sportsman), and Hayden Whited (Trophy). Junior Dragster winners were: Hunter Smith (Division 1), Braylee Griffith (Division 2) and Ashlee Dunahoo (Division 3).

Cannon also earned a sweep with his second Sportsman victory. The other divisions won on holeshots with Aaron Roberts in Super Pro, Brandon Bailey in Pro and CJ Elsea in Trophy. Braydon McCown (Division 1), Brendan Nuttall (Division 2) and Dru Owens (Division 3) were Junior Dragster winners.

Bristol Dragway hosts its biggest event of the year, the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 14-16. The DER Bracket Series returns June 28-30.

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