Dirt track dreams start here

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ronnie Revis compares the expenses of dirt track racing to golf.

Once you get your car built, he says, all you need is about $20 and a tank of gas to fuel the hobby each week.

As long as Revis doesn’t do too much damage to his car during Saturday night’s races, his weekly expenses might be close to a golf enthusiast’s weekly green fees.

Only difference is Revis runs the risk of wrapping his car around a light pole – even when he’s trying to drive carefully – each time he hits the track.

Sure, a golfer with a bad temper might have a habit of wrapping his Big Bertha around a tree, but it’s not quite the same.

Revis could spend all week working late into the night trying to repair damage because of a risk he, or another driver, took on the race track.

And the car is not the only thing to take on damage. Revis admits he has awakened pretty sore the day after a wreck.

But Revis and other drivers at the Shelby County Speedway insist that racing there is reasonably safe – rollbar cages offer drivers increased protection in the case of a serious accident.

Still, it’s only a matter of time, they say, before a driver is involved in a wreck that leaves him looking up at the ground through his windshield.

It’s that kind of wheel-to-wheel racing action that draws many local fans to the Shelby County Speedway.

James Ingram built the track near Wilsonville in 1992, and it has proven an enticing way to spend a weekend for host of dedicated fans a drivers ever since.

Folks like Revis, who works with his father, &uot;Rat&uot; and his son, Chris, at the family’s auto service shop in Wilsonville, have been regulars since the beginning.

Dirt tracks across the country served as the training grounds for many of NASCAR’s legends, including popular drivers like Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt was supposedly paid $300 for the first race he won on a dirt track in 1969.

Ronnie Revis’ 16-year-old son, Chris, hopes he might one day move to the ranks of NASCAR’s elite.

Just a few weeks ago, he celebrated a win at the Shelby County Speedway with a long display of donuts after taking the checkered flag.

His grandfather, Rat Revis, has already spent some time in the NASCAR ranks as a crew chief.

Rat worked with Red Farmer at some of the top paved tracks in the late ’70s, but he says dirt track racing is the only way for him these days.

Chris, on the other hand, hopes the dirt track races will pave his way to the pavement.

Ashley Vansant is the sports editor at the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at mailto:ashley.vansant@shelbycountyreporter.com