While recent posts here have been temporary posts to announce upcoming events and such, that doesn't mean I've been in hiding. I still make it to Hilltop every week and try to hit other tracks as often as possible. I'll admit that the past couple of years have caused me to lose some of the drive that brought me to racing all those years ago. Behavior of certain racers and fans have had this same effect on many of us "old timers' causing many to simply walk away. I've come very close to that point myself, but I guess I'm just stubborn. When it comes to being stubborn though, I've never worked with a more stubborn/determined track owner than Buck Smitley. Any track owner has to have some pretty thick skin and Buck has proven over the years that his is among the thickest out there. However, every man has his limits and he saw that it was time for him to step away while he still had some sanity left. He wouldn't just lock the gates and enjoy retirement though. He'd search out a new owner that would pick up where he left off, and most importantly, keep racing alive at Hilltop Speedway. That new owner is racer, Tyler Evans. Tyler, along with his wife Beth, seem to have a clear view of the challenges of owning a race track and are looking forward to making some interesting improvements in the future. They've already started to shake things up a bit by adding 410 Sprints to the Friday portion of The Weekend On The Hill on September 16th & 17th. For all of you out there that have been begging for Sprints to return to Hilltop, this is your chance to show your support in a way that will let Tyler know that it will be worth it to add more future Sprint shows. Saturday night will feature a $5,000 to win Late Model show also. Even if you're not a huge fan of Sprints, let's pack the place both nights to show support for the new owner of Hilltop Speedway. Load up the family, friends, neighbors, and anybody else you can find and bring them to enjoy the best racing action to be found on dirt!
Let's not forget to thank Buck for all the years of hard work he and his family put into keeping the action alive at Hilltop. Hats off to him for turning the Jeff Norris Memorial race into not just the biggest show that Hilltop has ever pulled off, but one of the best shows anywhere on dirt in recent years. It was awesome to see the racers, fans, and staff send Buck out in a big way. The 4 wide salute from the Late Models was almost the icing on the cake but the outcome of the Feature may have topped it. None other than George "The General" Lee would pick up the Dash win before putting on a clinic in the Feature race. George once dominated this place but has struggled a bit in recent years. Not on this night. George was back to his old ways squeezing every pony from his ride while using every inch of the track to show that the ol' fella still has what it takes to run out front. It sure brought back some great memories of when we were almost tired of seeing him kickin' ass every week ;-) That smile on his face was just plain priceless. I hope Buck enjoyed his final night as track owner and he takes a deep breath before moving onto any future adventures. He sure as hell earned a break from the madness!
Photo Credit To Eric Nickelson/Nickelson Race Photos