posted June 14, 2001 09:50 PM
Grove Creek Raceway Battered but not Broken
GROVE CITY, MN - Grove Creek Raceway recently experienced some of the devastation that Mother Nature can bring. Last Monday a series of tornadoes and severe storms made their way across central Minnesota, leaving hundreds of trees broken or uprooted. Many buildings damaged and a general mess. Grove Creek Raceway, just outside of Grove City, was directly in the path of the storm and suffered intense damage. Promoter Susie Johnson and Owner Rick Austin were working at the track at the time the storm hit. They hurried inside the main building and rode out the violent weather. Twenty minutes after it started and moved on to it's next victims, Johnson and Austin walked out of the building. Much to their surprise, a large willow tree had toppled across the grandstand walkway and broken several boards and collapsed some fencing. But that was only the beginning of the damage. Upon further inspection, they found two of the eighty-one foot light towers collapsed, crashing into some of the catch fence and the pit fence. Both towers and the fence were demolished. The remaining two towers were bent and rendered useless. The ticket booth was blown over and landed on a track vehicle, the dragstrip registration building was flipped onto its face. A large aluminum bleacher off of turn one at the oval track was picked up and thrown into the infield in a ball of twisted metal. Many signs were blown over or damaged and many trees were broken or uprooted. "This is devastating", said Austin as he surveyed the damage. Johnson said, "Five years of work, gone in twenty minutes". With the power knocked out for several days, Austin was unable to test some of the equipment to determine if any additional damage was sustained.
With help from employees, friends and racers and a solid few days of work, the facility was being cleaned up and starting to resemble the Grove Creek of old, minus some trees. It was determined the oval track would resume it's regular schedule of racing minus the Sprint Car special on Tuesday, June 19th. The racing will have a new start time because of the lack of lights. The gates will now open at three in the afternoon and the racing will begin at five. Promoter Greg Johnson said, "I think the racing will be good, it is a good time of year to race early as the sun goes down late. It will be nice to be done with the show by eight or so. It beats losing the shows all together." He reminds racers and fans also "we will resume our usual start times once the new lighting is in place".
The dragstrip will run it's usual schedule. For information and pictures of the facility, go to www.grovecreek.com or contact Greg Johnson at 320-693-2898