“My dad’s been in it for as long as I can remember ever since I was born,” he said. “I was just trying to stay under the speed limit and use as much of the track as possible because I knew they were going to come up on me.”
Last year marked the 50th running of the event and had a much different feel. The area was in the midst of a massive drought and there was a 106-degree heat index on the holiday.
But on Thursday the weather conditions were nearly perfect with the temperature at a comfortable 77 degrees. There was also a much bigger crowd on hand.
“We had a very good crowd. After the heat wave of last year, I’d probably definitely put it in the top 10,” event organizer Mark Lowe said.
Lowe is a farmer and said the conditions are of course much better for farming this year as well.
“You lose 10 percent in a wet year and you’re going to lose half in a dry year,” he said. “The stuff looks very good this year. I’ll just say I’m very happy. God’s blessed us.”
The drivers often put a lot of time and money into the event and some of them wore their e-mow-tions on their sleeves Thursday.
“We had some issues as far as some finishes were concerned,” Lowe said. “We had a few hurt feelings, probably a few hurt ribs and a couple hurt arms. We only sent one to the hospital, I suppose that’s not a bad afternoon.
“They are going fast. That’s what we try to stress to the guys is, ‘Look, you guys are racing for $250. It is not NASCAR. If a guy gets past you or not, please keep your eyes straight ahead and don’t try and do something dumb and get somebody hurt because it’s not worth it.’”