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New life takes the track at Tri-County Motor Speedway

Tri-County Motor Speedway is hoping to resume a full schedule in 2020, although the threat of COVID-19 will delay that (WLOS Staff).PNG
Tri-County Motor Speedway is hoping to resume a full schedule in 2020, although the threat of COVID-19 will delay that (WLOS Staff)

(WLOS) In a day and age where local race tracks are shuttering their gates regularly, a group from Western North Carolina has put that trend in reverse. Twin brothers Shane and Shad Higgins, along with their father Buddy and Chris Worley, purchased Tri-County Motor Speedway last fall with plans to bring consistent action to the four-tenths-mile oval.

"The papers got signed on this at the end of October and it's been wide-open on it," said race director Ronnie Crate Payne. "For the last three months its been an every day, all day, seven day a week affair trying to get things done."

To mark their progress, the track held open testing last Saturday. "Just trying to give the guys a chance to come out and test their cars, but more importantly a chance for us to test the race facility," explained Payne. "We've totally revamped everything here."

Dozens of cars took advantage of the opportunity, including driver Taylor Nesbitt. "Oh it's great," she exclaimed. "We're really excited about it, to have another place to go. We race here a couple of times usually, but finally we're getting to run a whole season."

Tri-County has held occasional races over the past decade, but not a full-years worth. It started as a dirt track in the mid-80's, but a lengthy legal battle that dates back to 2011 with Caldwell County officials.

Those issues are in the rearview mirror, although the threat of the spread of COVID-19 has forced postponements to what was going to be a busy month of testing. Once the track gets back up and running, Payne hopes they can recapture the magic of local racing that had such a strong foothold in Western North Carolina for so many years.

"It's just family entertainment at its best," he reminisced. "So it'll be a great place to bring momma on a date!"

You can stay up-to-date with schedule changes at Tri-County on their Facebook page.

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