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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Track Talk: Riverview Speedway

By Paul Jensen
I was rolling down I-40 the other day when I came upon Carthage TN. I decided to pull off and see what was happening at Riverview Speedway.

Located northwest of town on Highway 25 near the Cumberland River, the track is easy to find.

As I pulled up I found track co-owner Bo Hall standing in front. Bo and his brother Arty purchased the facility and re-opened it last year. The track had been closed for several years. Even though I showed up unannounced, I was greeted warmly and Bo spent as much time with me as I wanted.

The Hall brothers have put a lot of work into the facility and it shows. As I was talking to Bo, he asked if I wanted to take a few spins around the track. That is an offer I'll never refuse.

Riverview Speedway is known as Lil' Bristol. One look at the place and the reason becomes obvious. No, there's not 150,000 seats there. It's the track.

Bo's business card calls it the fastest 1/4 mile oval in the United States. Sure, I thought, as we exchanged cards before I went inside the facility. I'm originally from Wisconsin and I know some folks in Slinger who would take exception to that.

So then I took the MTRS Cruiser to the track entrance which is at the top of turn 4. Gazing at the track from high above the turn, I started to think that maybe this is the fastest 1/4-mile oval in the country.

It's hard to imagine how any track could be faster. The turns are steeply banked, nearly two stories high. When I parked at the start/finish line on the frontstretch and got out of the car, walking up and down the track was very difficult. Pictures do not do it justice.

Besides the steep banking, the pavement was fairly smooth, not covered with loose grit and stones like some tracks.

When I got home, I did some checking of web sites. Slinger Super Speedway in Wisconsin bills itself as "The World's Fastest Quarter Mile Oval." Their track record was set last year when Tracy Hines circled Slinger in 10.845 seconds in a USAC midget car.

The track record at Riverview was also set last year, 10.556 seconds by Jimmy Victory in a Super Late Model. Guess Carthage TN is not part of the world.

Victory's record is still safe after I took a few laps around Riverview. I had the feeling the MTRS Cruiser would have either tipped over or slid down the track had I taken the high groove, so I opted for the low groove.

O.K., I opted for the apron.

Of course there was the temptation to get up into the groove and see what the Cruiser could do. But then the image of me trying to explain what happened to my State Farm agent if something had happened, and him shaking his head no quickly forced that thought out of my mind.

The only other track I have actually taken laps on was Indy, which was very cool, but it's sorta like driving around the neighborhood. A very flat neighborhood. Of course at 230 mph...
Riverview Speedway is newer than your typical weekly track. The facility is in good shape.

Bo said they'll be running from 10 to 13 classes this year, but not necessarily all in one night. He has learned to keep an eye on the clock and realizes fans want to be entertained, then go home at a reasonable hour.

They are also planning on building a small dirt track outside of turn 4, which could be used by karts or perhaps even small cars. That should be ready by April.

A typical night of racing will set the fan back ten bucks, a little less for senior citizens and kids.

They will have open practice this weekend, February 28th and March 1st, from 8:00 am until dark. The 2009 season kicks off on Saturday, March 7th, with their Show & Shine, as well as their Sunoco Shootouts. If you get a chance, check them out. It's an evening of high-banked racing entertainment that you're sure to enjoy. Check out their website by clicking here. (2/26/2009)

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