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News

Rome Practice Scheduled

Rome Practice Scheduled

A practice session is scheduled tonight [April 14, 2023] prior to the upcoming Newsome/Raceway Parts Network Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series-sanctioned Thunder in the Mountain scheduled April 15 at the Swims family-operated Rome Speedway. Practice sessions will take place from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., and all divisions are welcomed.

Pit gates open for practice at 4 p.m., and the first car will hit the dirt at 6 p.m. Pit gates on race day will open at 3 p.m., and grandstand gates at 4 p.m. Hot laps will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Teams will officially descend on the half-mile oval for the first time in over a year to prepare for the track’s long-awaited reopening, which will feature a $10,000-to-win event for the Adam Stewart-managed touring series. It's the second event of a 24-race season for the Eastaboga, Ala-based touring circuit.

The extra-distance contest is also part of the organization’s highly-popular $100,000+ Challenge, which is a collection of designated series races that each pay [at least] $10,000 to the winner, and carry a separate points fund from the regular touring series. The regular touring series pays $10,000 to its overall champion, and the bonus “series within a series” offers $5,000 to its champion.

It’ll mark the touring circuit’s first-ever appearance at the half-mile oval. The organization’s now-inactive Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series CT525 Super Late Model Series did make three visits to the track, but the regular 604 Late Model touring series has never raced at the high-banked oval.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to have a chance to appear at a facility that has been operated by the same family for over 50 years,” series director Stewart said. “It’s been dormant for over a year, it’s their first race back, and for us to be part of it is a really huge honor for our organization.”

The track was shuttered during the ‘22 campaign when the Swims family elected to use more of their personal time and effort to care for family matriarch Martha Swims, who was diagnosed with cancer and eventually passed away last summer. The family wanted to spend as much time as possible with her during her struggles. The wife and longtime partner of track co-owner Mickey Swims was very active in the operation of the facility, along with sister track Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga., until her diagnosis with the illness. The couple married in 1961.

The track’s re-emergence is expected to draw a large number of cars as drivers and teams take advantage of an opportunity to return to a facility that has held the sport’s heart since the Swims family took over operations at the high-banked oval in 1968, and held their first event in March, 1969. While it doesn’t operate every weekend, it’s a special place where drivers look forward to making an appearance, and that’s not lost on competitors who realize the importance of the facility to the sport.

“The anticipation for this event is extremely high among drivers and teams judging from the response we’ve been getting,” Stewart said. “I think there’s people out there who have never raced at the facility previously, or maybe even attended a race there, and they’re seeing this event as an opportunity to do so. The track has been closed for a long period, and it appears it’ll be welcomed back with much enthusiasm.”