Swims, who has owned the storied dirt track in Woodstock since 1976, wasn’t lost as he made his way around Atlanta on Interstate 285. Instead, he was preparing for the first practice session of the 2014 season.
Mia Swims-Green, Mickey’s daughter and the spokeswoman for the track, said that it might sound crazy, but with a clay track such as Dixie, driving on it with a heavy load is just what was needed.
“They ride the race track to seal it so that the water won’t penetrate into the clay and be really hard to iron out,” Swims-Green said. “It’s almost the opposite effect of what a gardener would do. They plow up the garden to get water to soak into the soil, but with the race track, we don’t want it to do that. We want a nice flat surface so the water just rolls off.”
Mickey Swims and some of the other track employees drive heavy trucks, pulling trailers loaded with heavy loads, until the track surface becomes slick.
“No track has to go through what the dirt tracks in the South do,” Swims-Green said. “In other places, they will wet their dirt tracks between races because it’s dirt and not red clay. For us, it’s hours of preparation for that red clay.”
Today’s practice session will not only give drivers a chance to test and tune their cars for the upcoming season, but it will give fans a chance to get a taste of the excitement. As entertaining as Dixie has been for more than 45 years, Mickey Swims has found a way
to make it even more appealing by raising the purses.
Combined with the Swims-owned Rome Speedway, there will be 33 events this season and a half-million dollars in prize money.
“We’re gear up for a big season,” Swims said. “I think we’ve about covered everything that anybody would want to watch or participate in at Dixie and Rome in 2014. The support of our many fans and race teams is what allows us to put together a season like this for them. The excitement is building as the first event draws near. I truly believe 2014 will be the best season yet.”
Dixie will offer its full racing program of seven classifications of cars, with races every Saturday night from May to October.
Among the highlights ahead are Dixie’s spring championships (April 12), the first points race of the season (May 3), the Southern Nationals (May 10), the USCS Winged Outlaw Sprint Cars (July 19), monster trucks (Sept. 19-20) and the season finale (Oct. 4).
Barring rain, Dixie will open for its first practice of the season for all racing classes tonight. The gates will open at 5 p.m., with practice at 7 p.m. Grandstand admission will be free, but there will be a charge for trackside parking ($10) and pit passes ($15).
For more information, visit www.dixiespeedway.com.