I-44 Riverside Speedway ready to race after being destroyed by tornado
OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s been more than two months since the May 20 tornado hit Oklahoma but communities and businesses get closer to being rebuilt every day.
Mark Banister, owner of I-44 Riverside Speedway, said, “It was completely down, everything was.”
The I-44 Riverside Speedway was one of those businesses that was destroyed.
Now, employees and volunteers are working around the clock to reopen its doors.
Banister said, “We couldn’t see the highway before. Now you can, all of the trees are down.”
Piles of debris surround the speedway, all left over from the destructive tornado that tore through Moore.
Fences had to be replaced, buildings needed to be restored and equipment had to be purchased before the speedway’s reopening on Friday.
Organizers say it was a deadline they just had to meet to be a part of the 14th annual Mini Sprint Nationals.
While much of the track is like it was before the storms, there are a few changes that visitors will notice.
Banister says all visitors should bring lawn chairs or blankets since nearly 120 feet of bleachers were destroyed and could not be replaced in time for the event.
Despite the long hours of labor and high costs of getting the I-44 Riverside Speedway back on track, he says it’s a necessary fix.
He said, “It was something that was valued to the racers so we weren’t going to let it go.”
With the Mini Sprint Nationals just around the corner, all the hard work is paying off.
Banister said, “On a small track like this, the cars are doing over 70 miles an hour. It’s always passing, it’s fast-action racing.”
There are more than 150 cars registered for the competition for Friday’s event at the I-44 Riverside Speedway.
Gates open at 3 p.m.