September 6, 2001

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

The 2001 racing season came to an end at Scotland County Raceway over Labor Day weekend marking the completion of what has to be deemed a successful first season for new promoter Ron Anderson.

Of course if you listened to some of the scuttle regarding the track you would think there had been no racing at all this year. On the contrary, there has been some rather good motor sports at the Scotland County track. The highlight of the year had to be the night the late model leaders went halfway around the track four-wide battling for the lead. Yet it seems that everyone has something negative to say about the track.

I'll agree there are improvements to be made, but let's realize that we had it a lot better this year than in recent history. There were no races at all until three years ago. The Scotland County Fair Board rebuilt the track with the assistance of the community. But full time track management was simply more than the volunteer group could manage, and the decided to turn over the track to a full-time promoter, and rightly so. That experiment went sour in year one when planned weekly racing was quickly turned into once a month specials as the promoter sneaked into a year contract, most likely to prevent the raceway from competing with his other establishment in Moberly.

So regardless of what you think of the track, you have to admit it was much better this year.

I'll agree there is room for improvement. The obvious change would be starting time. No one likes to sit in the stands for an hour after the scheduled start time, waiting for the first car to take the track. With a year under their belt, the track crew should be able to alleviate this issue next year.

Another suggestion regarding time that I personally would like to see is a time limit on each feature. If a particular division insists on bashing away at each other or can't keep their cars on the track it gets old real quick. Give them a certain amount of time and if they go beyond that throw the checkered flag on the time limit. That happened a few times this season as the checkered flag flew during cautions.

Those are just a couple thoughts from a guy who had to be at the races every Saturday night but two all summer. It's a lot easier to justify the time if you get home at 10:00 p.m. instead of after midnight.

They're not live or die issues and I promise not to burn the promoter in effigy if they're not installed immediately. I may be in the minority as far as that goes. It seems like everyone has a bone to pick about the raceway. Just check out the message board at the regional race website It seems like race fans across the Tri-state area all know how to turn the Scotland County Raceway into the next Daytona 500. They expect the fair board to whip out the checkbook and pay for a new $75,000 light system. While the millionaires are at it, the complainers also want an excavation crew to come in and fix the hole in turn one, add multi-user restroom facilities and provide refreshment vendors on every aisle of the grandstands where they should giveaway eats and drinks.

Unfortunately the fair board is not made of money. Sure they had a good year this season but the money only goes so far. Not only are the funds limited but they must also be used for the benefit of the entire fairgrounds not just the race track.

After looking at all of the complaints from all sides I'll use the famous words of Rodney King following the L.A. race riots, "Can't we all just get along?" Obviously there is plenty of interest in racing locally. We will support a track. However if we keep up all the complaining it may be difficult to find a promoter. On the other hand, if the promoter and the organizers don't listen to the fans, there won't be a need for a track. Let's find a middle ground, learn to communicate in a professional manner instead of whining and fighting, and together we can all build the best racing program in the Tri-state area.

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