Muskogee's Thunderbird Speedway Racing Back To Life

Friday, April 22nd 2011, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- Race fans are rushing to Muskogee for a big event this weekend. The Midwest Extreme Dirt Track ATV races are set for Saturday night at Thunderbird Speedway.

It's just the latest big event, with many more to come, at the track that's made quite a comeback.

06/03/2010 Related Story: Racing Returns To Muskogee's Thunderbird Speedway

At the Thunderbird Speedway, ATV racers are making a few practice runs. They'll compete soon in the Midwest Extreme Dirt Track ATV race.

"Twenty classes of just pure fun," said Brian Stacy, STR Performance.

About 250 drivers from a number of states will compete. It's the first time the event has been held in Oklahoma.

13-Year-Old Trey Husk is from Missouri. He loves the intensity of dirt track ATV racing.

"I do not like to lose," Husk said.

"They're exciting that's for sure. There ain't no, ain't no give and take in the four wheeler world, I think they all want to take," said Dennis Slader of Thunderbird Speedway.

What's just as exciting as the races is the resurgence of racing at the fairgrounds. A year ago, the racetrack sat empty and unused.

Auto racing started here in the 50's. But, the grandstands were condemned in 2003.

"There were actually trees growing out of the racetrack. Where we're standing right now, you couldn't even see because the weeds were eight feet tall," Slader said.

The new owners revived racing and now Thunderbird is attracting big events like the Midwest race, and next month the AMA National Extreme Dirt Track ATV race.

"Now, we have sanctioning bodies, calling us wanting to come to this facility," Slader said.

Those events are bringing in competitors, race fans, tourism dollars and most of all, excitement to the fairgrounds once again.

"This is something we love to do and something we're going to do as long as we can do it," Slader said.

Thunderbird Speedway's regular Friday night racing begins at 8 p.m. Then, the ATV action is Saturday. Practice runs begin at noon, with the race starting at 5 p.m.

The AMA nationals are May 13th and 14th.