Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Senoia Raceway REFUSES to Let Hurricane Nicole Impact Race, Using a Helicopter to Dry the Track

Senoia Raceway will not allow Mother Nature to win without a fight. The Georgia dirt track put down tarps on Thursday and hired a helicopter company to help dry the track on Friday. Screengrab from @DustinJarrett video on Twitter.

Senoia Raceway, an iconic 3/8 mile dirt track in Senoia, Georgia is refusing to let weather blown in by Hurricane Nicole dampen their race weekend.

The facility, which is preparing for a two-day race weekend on Friday and Saturday night, utilized tarping on Thursday in hopes that it would keep the dirt track’s surface from taking on too much water.

The track posted photos of the team of folks helping place the tarps on the track surface, which were held in place by hundreds of tires:

On Friday, the race track took things to the next level.

After noticing that the tarping was effective, but not quite as effective as they had hoped, the track operators believed the surface was still a little too moist for racing on Friday night. But they didn’t throw up the white flag and give up. Instead, they chose to think outside the box.

Senoia Speedway, which is owned and operated by the Pollard family, opted to hire a helicopter company to come to fly a helicopter as close as possible to the track surface on Friday to aid in the drying efforts.

“Yesterday, we tarped the race track as much as we could in the spots that we felt were going to be the hardest to dry,” Molly Helmuth of Senoia Raceway explained to “It’s still pretty wet, it didn’t do as well as we thought [it would] on the straightaways, so we had to get a helicopter to help dry the front and back straightaways. It looked like it did it pretty good.”

Here is video of the helicopter performing drying duties at the facility:

According to Helmuth of Senoia Raceway, it was Bubba Pollard that made the decision to call the helicopter company.

“Bubba came up with the idea, of course,” Helmuth stated with a chuckle. “I know a couple of race tracks have done it before. I don’t know if it’s been successful for other race tracks, but it was kind of a last-minute deal. He found a website for a local helicopter company and he told me to call them and see if they could do it. They responded, ‘Yep! We’ll be there in a couple of hours.’ We got lucky there.”

The question that immediately came to mind was: How shocked was the helicopter company when the track let them know why they were calling? The answer: Not shocked at all!

“They’ve done it before I guess,” Helmuth explained of the helicopter company. “I’m not sure which dirt track they’ve done it at, but they said they’ve done it before. They told us it was going to take about two hours to do it, and he was right on with that.”

The helicopter track drying efforts seemed to have worked out well, as the helicopter has finished its job and Helmuth says that packer cars are already hard at work packing the dirt surface for Friday’s action.

Now, Helmuth and the team at Senoia Raceway simply hope the track holds up all weekend and that folks understand how above and beyond their team has gone to make sure the event was not scrapped.

“Yeah, absolutely. We hope the track stays together tonight and produces good hard racing. We have our bigger show tomorrow night. Hopefully, the teams and the drivers, and the fans see how hard we’ve worked and how much we want to race this weekend,” Helmuth said. “We’re trying everything we can. You know Bubba, he’s a racer, we’re all racers here with this race track. All we want to do is race and produce good racing. We don’t want to send anyone home or anything like that.”

Okay, but what if somehow the helicopter treatment wasn’t enough? Will Senoia Raceway throw in the towel then? Don’t count on it.

“I don’t know, if it doesn’t work, I don’t know what we’re going to do. Some people have been talking about heaters, like a paving heater, but I don’t know if that’s an option for tonight,” Helmuth explained. “I don’t think we’re expecting any more rain coming through tonight or tomorrow. I am not sure what plan C is, I guess we’ll figure that out when that time comes.”

Hot Laps ae scheduled to begin at 5:30 PM ET on Friday, which will be followed by racing from the 602 Late Models, Super Late Models, 602 Chargers, Hot Shots, and Ministocks.

Saturday’s on-track action is set to begin at 4:30 PM ET.

Regardless of what happens from here on out, the fact that it’s even trending that Senoia Raceway will have racing this weekend is nothing short of a miracle, and it’s all due to a group of racers refusing to let mother nature stop them from racing.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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