How many tracks do you visit that you would grade with a A+? I stopped at Magnolia Motor Speedway this weekend for their two day event called the Cotton Pickin’ 100. It makes you re-think what a dirt track can do!
By the numbers: 212 cars in 7 classes, and a standing room crowd in the stands. I got the idea that even the track was surprised by the turn-out, but the mid-November weather was also ideal: 75 degrees all weekend and not a cloud in the sky.
Magnolia could handle a show of this size because the physical plant is excellent. The concessions worked quickly, and the whole place was neat and clean. Ok, so the bathrooms could expand a bit, but overall it was great.
And what racing! This is a 3/8 mile track with a “gumbo” surface. It was 98% dust free (somehow), and no dirt clods were thrown at the spectators. Even better, there were NO holes or bumps, even after 7 classes of racing. The surface turned black and shiney from the grass to the wall, so there were plenty of passing lanes. I used to think red clay was the way to go, but whatever gumbo is, I am a fan.
They also made a wise investment that will benefit them every race night: the lighting. It is bright, all operational, and it all comes from the spectators back, meaning there are no lights in the fans eyes. Well done!
Everyone likes to hear the downside, so here we go. The whole show on Saturday night was SIX HOURS LONG. Way too much, even for a hard-core fan like me. Friday night was a lot of qualifying, but they still time-trialed many classes, gave each one practice, hot lap sessions for the “locked in” cars and ran heats then B mains. I did not attempt to count the number of different sessions with cars on the track, but it must have been 35-40. Way too much.
I felt bad for the announcers. There were two of them and they were experts: funny, knowledgeable and they played off one and other. However, I could tell they were exhausted as the night went on. 6 hours…not good.
So if you are near Columbus, Mississippi in December, stop in a 3 day event called the Possom Town Grand Prix!