April 20, 2006 Posted at 10:30 a.m. CST
Poinsett County- It's Race Time! We started our week with a few racers at Johnny Cook's Performance Shop. Racing is an expensive sport, some motors costing up to $30,000, so Jon Grey explained to us that's why they need sponsors.
"Sponsors are so important because of how much money it takes to keep your car up to date. New motors, tires, supplies, it's all pretty expensive. I raced Friday and it was my 3rd motor to blow-up. This time it wasn't even mine, I borrowed it."
Tuesday, we celebrated 20 years of service with Crowley's Ridge Raceway. Glen Francis and his family have been improving the speedway every year, and they say it will only get better. Glen, a Winston Cup Winner, told us how he built the track after a professional racing career and now sees generations of family racers at the speedway.
"Over the years we have seen the racers grow up and years later their kids are out here racing, and now their grandkids are out here racing. I even have a grandkid out her racing. And she's a girl. Paige did pretty good her first year, and we've got her a new car this year."
We found a custom motor shop that has something no other shop has, a warranty. That's right, Wilkey-Sweet Motors, LLC. in Batesville builds custom motors, and with those motors comes a one-year warranty.
"We feel our motors are the best. We have two race cars and we use these motors in them. It's great when we win because other racers wonder how we got that much power, and we tell them. Then when we run against other racers with our motors in their cars, it's not bad losing, because we are proud of our product."
Racing is fun, but Officer Snyder with the Paragould D.A.R.E. program says it's better if your drug free. The program targets children at the fifth grade age and teaches them the effects and consequences of drugs and alcohol abuse. To help the D.A.R.E. program along, Officer Snyder was able to get a NASCAR simulator.
"It's fun for the kids, we take it to lots of events, adults love it to. While they're using it, we talk about the D.A.R.E. Program and what it involves. It also helps generate money for the program, that's how we keep D.A.R.E. going."
We've learned a lot about racing this week, but it's time to get to the action. Poinsett County Speedway has races every Friday night, so we wanted to check it out and let you know exactly what to expect. Admission is $8 for adults, kids 5-12 is $4, and anyone under that is free. But if you want really close to the action, get a pit-pass, they're only $25.
Once you're in, visit the concession stand that has some great hamburgers, Pepsi products, and tynol and earplugs for the race. The racers get ready down in the pits. They gas up, check their tires, and prepare for the big race. We talked with Hunter Rasdon, a racer out at the speedway, to see how he got started.
"I love to race. I've been racing since I was 4. I started out on go-carts and just moved my way up. I had a pretty good season last year, but it's hard because I was racing in two different classes."
The cars are fast, some getting up to about 85 mph, and when you're standing on the edge of the track, you might get a little dirt in the face. Hugh Cornelison, owner of the track, says they work on the track every day to make it better for the fans enjoyment.
If you're looking for some racing fun, check out the Poinsett County Speedway on Friday nights and then the Crowley's Ridge Raceway on Saturday nights.
Poinsett County Speedway - (870) 578-2224 Hugh Cornelison
Paragould D.A.R.E. Program - (870) 236-7621 Officer Snyder
Crowley's Ridge Raceway - (870) 236-3141 Glen Francis
Johnny Cook's Performance Shop - (870) 931-7732
Wilkey-Sweet Motors, LLC. - (870) 793-4141 Tracy Sweet