Excitement Builds In South Florida; HCMP A Reality
by HCMP Media
Over 70 supporters of motorsports in south Florida dealt with temperatures hovering around the 100 degree mark on Saturday and Sunday to help prepare the new Hendry County Florida Motorsports Park (HCMP) for the July 18 opening.
The Clewiston, Florida based venue built in 1970 and now under the direction of new owner Ken Kinney, Jr., has undergone a transformation, though the facility is far from where Kinney expects it to be by next year. Dozens of palm trees have been added, many square yards of new sod have been laid, new concrete has been poured to make access areas such as grandstands and concession easier on the fans. The pit area has been transformed with painted barriers and other improvements.
But the most important part of a dirt track racing operation is of course the racing surface. The new configuration will have 8 degree straightaways and 14 degree banking in the turns. The race track is actually a bit of a "d" shaped 3/8 mile, that is being progressively banked. The straights will be reduced from 60 feet wide to 50 and the corners will be changed from 80 feet to about 70. Race Director Billy Ausburn explained that this is being done to get the drivers up off the flatter bottom and up where they can race hard, putting on a better show for the fans.
This weekend a huge effort was begun to transform the racing surface. Organized in large measure by John Choquette, father of Jeff Choquette and uncle to Justin Choquette, both stars of dirt late model racing. Tommy Messier and Gary Roberts of Messier Land Development brought out heavy equipment such as graders, rock rakes and grinders and the process of taking the 200 loads of new clay and getting it it shape for racing.
PHOTO GALLERY OF PROGRESS
After Sunday "the track could actually have cars on it now", Ken Kinney said, but he was quick to add that there was still work to do to get it ready for racing. "We will be ready on the 18th and I can't tell you how excited I am about the progress we have made with all the help that has poured out from the racing community", Kinney said.
Future improvements already in the works is the addition of additional seating by the creation a grass hill in turns three and four (similar to that at Charlotte County Motorsports Park), a new concession trailer and media tower, additional handicapped parking and the creation of new parking areas.
Several of the new sponsors of the Hendry County Motorsports Park had their giant billboards put in place Saturday. Among them are South Florida Choppers, R.J. Bones Barbecue in Alva, Fl., Roland Martin Marina, Paramount Chemical & Plastics, and Paul Bange Roofing. Paul Bange Roofing has been named as the official sponsor of the Sportsman racing division for 2009.
So many people came out over the weekend for the first of several track preparation days that it would be hard to name everybody. Both Race Director Billy Ausburn and Ken Kinney, Jr were amazed at the response by the south Florida racing community. It certainly bodes well for this new era in South Florida motorsports to see the kind of turnout to lend a helping hand.
Dale, the ice cream vendor, turned out to be the "sod foreman" heading up a group a dozen people who laid all new sod around the hill on turn one bleachers. Dennis, one of the crew members form a race team at the track, led the team that completely rebuilt those bleachers in the pits in turn one. Tommy and Rodney Hill led the mowing brigade. Brian Morgan, owner of a local sod company donated the loads of new sod.
As the refurbishment of the speedway continues right up to race day, a huge promotional campaign kicks off next week, the advance ticket sales ($10 advance for adults) outlets will be announced shortly and will include locations in West Palm Beach, Clewiston, LaBelle, Okeechobee, Lee County and Charlotte County.
Opening night on the 18th will feature a 30 lap late model feature, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Pure Stocks.
Stay in tune with Hendry County Motorsports Park at www.hendrycountyracing.com.Fans and drivers are encouraged to join the e-mailing list on the site to get the latest announcements for the most exciting new race track in the south.
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