Track spokeswoman Mia Green said Dixie officials made the decision to cancel the evening’s program at 10 a.m., which gave their drivers and fans plenty of notice. When the rain started to come down at 5:30 p.m., the grounds were empty.
“We don’t normally call it that early, but we called it early with the flash flooding in the forecast,” Green said. “We actually had several drivers call us and thank us for doing that. The weather had been so bad that several of the tracks in north Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky had canceled Tuesday or Wednesday because there was so much rain. Our ground was completely saturated, so we thought it was best to make the call too.”
Canceling early benefited fans and drivers alike. The racers were particularly appreciative because it saved them in time and cost of hauling their cars to the track, only to go home before the features began.
Green said that, once she put out the word, it traveled quickly. She changed the track’s phone message and website, updated Dixie’s Facebook page, sent out a tweet and changed the sign in front of the track.
“The phone was ringing off the hook that morning because I hadn’t updated the website yet,” Green said. “As soon as a put it on Facebook, the phone quit ringing. We have (more than) 16,000 followers on our Facebook page, so by noon, the phone was hardly ringing. We can reach them pretty quick.”
Losing a night of racing is never a good thing for a family-run business like Dixie, but if one night had to be a complete washout, Saturday was the perfect time for it. There were no special events, such as division championships, slated, and they canceled the event before any tickets were sold, so the program will not be made up.
“We won’t make this one up because we didn’t sell any tickets to it,” Green said. “Everybody was ready for a break. For many years, we actually took off this weekend, because we were in the parade for the county and had a lot of things to do to promote the (upcoming) sprint car race. A lot of times, we would take it off. It’s only in the last two years that we added a show back in. We are thinking about going back to that (in the future).”
Dixie held its Independence Day celebration June 29 and drew a huge crowd for the fireworks display.
“I think everybody from the staff to the racers is ready for break after that because they have been going since April,” Green said. “If we were going to get rained out, that was the one to get rained out.”
Racing will return to Dixie on Saturday with the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour. There will also be a Super Late Model stock car race.
Racing begins at 7 p.m., and with the special event, grandstand admission for adults is $17 and $6 for ages 9-17. Children ages 8 and under are free.
So far, the weather forecast for Saturday is clear, but Green said she won’t be looking at the radar much.
“You never know,” she said. “Sometimes, the radar will be clear and the rain will come. Other times, it tells us it will be raining and we get a clear sky. Like I keep saying, you just have to wait and see.”