dirt tracks vs. asphalt
I will preface this by saying that I can appreciate fast cars as much as any other guy, however, I have never fancied my self a hard-core race fan, per say.
Two-years ago when I first moved to Seymour, one of the first things that I noticed–after the beautiful mountain landscapes, the genuine people and the progressiveness of the entire community–was the sound of souped-up race cars every Saturday night.
The house that my family and I moved into is located about 100-yards from the finish line at the 411 Drag Strip and about 200-yards from the pits at 411 Raceway. On a late summer night from my back yard, one can even catch a whiff of the surprisingly appealing mixture of burnt rubber, exhaust and the food from the track concession stands.
It wasn’t long before I followed my nose across the way to see first hand what all of the ruckus was about.
But after spending some time at both of the Seymour tracks, I realized that I might have been missing out on something. I have since returned to the tracks several times, on many occasions bringing my family along with me. I tell myself that there might be something to this racing stuff.
After speaking to some of the spectators at the racetrack, I was also surprised that a large number of the folks enjoying the laid back family atmosphere were not even from Seymour. Especially at 411 Raceway, where you can find people from all over East Tennessee, or a couple of other states, watching and participating in this rare racing extravaganza.
I say 411 Raceway is rare because of the fact that it prides itself so much on the basis that it is, first and foremost, a family atmosphere. Sure, some of the racing gets intense but that only adds to the excitement.
The 411 Raceway refrains from selling any alcoholic beverages. They did away with the dirt track years ago in favor of an asphalt surface to create a cleaner atmosphere. According to some loyal track observers, more competitive racing is performed at a higher level on the asphalt track that 411 Raceway now incorporates. The track provides a host of security personnel but you never see them without smiles on their faces.
A week or so ago, a friend was telling me about a dirt track called the Atomic Motor Speedway, and if I wanted to see some really fun racing then I should check it out some time.
So, a short time after, we rode our motorcycles out to the track on a Saturday race night.
Upon arriving at the track, which is located off Interstate 40 between West Knoxville and Kingston, I could see that there was a nice fan base of about 500 on hand. My friend told me that this is a normal sized crowd for a race at the track.
The very next thing that became apparent to me, was the dust and dirt that was circulating through the air. Everyone was sitting in the stands with their hands cupped around their eyes and mouth while trying to watch the race. The riding goggles that I had brought along for the trip to the track came in very handy as we stood there with dirt swirling around our heads.
Albeit, the racing was exciting but I was hard pressed to understand what kind of an advantage that this track has over the 411 Raceway. It might be the fact that they sell beer at the Atomic Motor Speedway, drawing racing fans who might choose a beer buzz over the quality and clean racing that 411 Raceway has to offer. I’m not a big beer drinker however, so for my money give me the more ‘subdued’ racing action that is taking place right in out own back yard. (For some us, one of the best-kept secrets in Seymour is in our own back yards, literally.)