We don’t know. That refers to the current (July 16, 2022 to “Maybe”, “Unknown” and “What…?”) situation and drama that is Natural Bridge Speedway.
The place has been around since the 1950s. However, there are some issues that are pulling at the calendar at this 3/8 mile clay oval. There are some definite facility issues. The drag strip has been down for a while and the chances of it coming back to speed are slight. The oval, which has been hosting a weekly schedule, is on the edge of an implosion. There are stories of staffing issues, deteriorating structure and facility components, race winners not being paid, security and/or safety concerns and just plain indifference to the racers and fans.
On top of all that, water in the infield facilities (such as it is) just isn’t…
Now… This is where it gets a little… weird. A few days before race day, (Saturday 7-16) some chatter opened up on the NBS Facebook page. (The website, by the way, has been off for a while… Like the infield water…) There was an announcement that a fellow, apparently native of the area, was stepping in as promoter / director. This man immediately made a show of his plans. There was Facebook Live (since deleted) and big promises. Driver payouts, things getting fixed, big plans in the works for big events, a truck show…
Te be fair… He seemed to have a wide range of support… On paper, anyway. The FB Live presentation went wide and wild and then there was another FB Live as a kind of rebuttal clarification on the first that also strained the guard rails of staying on topic.
By race day, it seems there were many bits of the strategy as presented that were scratched. We now know, or have been presented with, an “after event” narrative. Friday practice was scrubbed as no EMT/Ambulance was available. A scoring computer was missing… Radios that were, at best, vintage to start with, were inoperative and/or broken and missing… The infield water situation has already been mentioned… There were property tax issues (?)… Track treatment water trucks and the water supply for them… Tow vehicles…
For race day, it did start with a “truck show”. A hip-hop hi-rise truck show. Oddly cool but also seemingly out of place…? Just a bit.
Qualifying was scrubbed as timing and scoring was dependent on a computer that was either missing or simply inoperative. Starting order was determined by draw. Despite numerous declarations of a definite green at 7:00pm, the actual first race start go off about 20 minutes late.
Not bad… They got in the National Anthem.
Natural Bridge Speedway is a 3/8 mile clay-dirt track. The surface has been raced on, graded, conditioned, watered, compressed and raked for 60 years or so. In short, it is dirt track racing and it gets sideways fast.
The crowd was actually really good, as far as appearances go. The car count for racing was pretty good, also. The crates ran the largest field but there were enough in the other divisions for good runs. There were some spins… One went over the edge top of turns 3 – 4 (OK, it seems… The ambulance didn’t go hot…) A purple car chased a multi-color car… A little car fought a bigger tire…
The show on the track was quite good. The fans were engaged. The racing went off, for the most part, easily enough. Staging and out for the green flag was set with little confusion despite having no real radio communications. The end result, from a fan looking in standpoint and from what was witnessed, was an evening of very good racing.
The show leading up to the show might have had elements borrowed from a train wreck. As of this writing, the fellow who ran NBS for those few days quit the gig, decided not to quit the gig and was, apparently, removed from the gig and seems to be still talking about the gig.
Who is driving this train now…? How much money was spent…? Whose money…? We think the drivers and positions were paid so there is that… Is there racing this coming weekend…?
We have no idea… but here are some photos!
July 16th, 2022 at Natural Bridge Speedway.