Night at speedway was one I’ll never forget

Published 12:01 am Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pulling into the South Alabama Speedway on Saturday night, I didn’t really know what to expect.

Boy, was I surprised.

The long grand stands were packed with race enthusiasts for the night’s activities, which were helping benefit Crossover Ministries. The admission fee was canned items and or donations for the Opp Christian-based program.

Upon entering the “locals” gate, I started to absorb what I saw in front of me.

Immediately to my left, a stock car was being worked on to get ready for another race; to my right were a special set of stands for ticket holders who paid a little more; and then there were the grand stands.

My eyes got big when I realized how many people were sitting not 20 feet away from the short half-mile oval that would soon be filled with car exhaust for a 100-lap pro late model race.

The ticket checker nodded me through because, if I’m correct, it looked like I was with the newspaper and was there on business. I mean, who can miss the huge camera around my neck?

I took a few steps inside the speedway and started taking pictures of the crowd from its left side.

The race hadn’t started yet so I decided to walk behind the stands to the other side, and let me tell you, it was a different world.

Filled with the smell of fried food, the area was dripping wet with happy kids running around without a care in the world, young kids chatting with their friends and older folks scurrying to get back to their seat for the start of the race.

Walking along the 400-yard or so back of the stands, I felt a little out of place. I’m not fashion expert, but I think I looked OK with my pink shirt and blue jeans.

Luckily enough, I didn’t get any mean glances or overheard anybody saying who is this guy walking around with a pink shirt on?

By the time I made it to the right side of the stands, the side that’s closest to Kinston, the stock cars were making their warm up laps.

When I made the turn to take pictures from the other side, I noticed a local cop wearing head phones. I knew then what they were for.

All of a sudden, the cars started to make their laps and my lord, I thought, this is pretty darn loud.

Let’s just say that I kept my distance from the fence that separated all of us from the fast-paced cars.

After taking a few pictures with a beautiful night sky in the background and of the race itself, I decided to call it a night.

With a smile on my face, I left the speedway filled with the satisfaction that I won’t forget my short experience there.