FIVE FLAGS SPEEDWAY HIT HARD BY IVAN by Jeremy Troiano
Several Southern Short Tracks Take A Hit
One of the hardest hit areas from Ivan included the Pensacola (FL) area. The area was ravaged by the storm, as was Pensacola's race track, Five Flags Speedway.
Five Flags annually hosts one of the biggest and most prestigious events anywhere in Short Track racing, the Snowball Derby for Super Late Models.
The Five Flags track took a direct hit from Ivan, causing extensive damage. While the damage is horrible, it could have been a lot worse by looking at the other parts of Pensacola that were literally destroyed.
"The speedway appears to have taken a pretty hit. The track office trailer is gone with just shards of the trailer remaining. Most of the facilities fencing is blown in as well with the lights along the front straight being bent inwards
towards the track and pits. The billboards across the back stretch are gone as well, scattered into the trees and who know where else. The concrete ticket booth is also gone."
The lights and fencing at Five Flags took quite a beating. (Joe Culpepper / PensacolaNewsJournal.com Photos)
Hurricane Ivan, nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible," impacted much of the Southeast last weekend and this past weekend, putting hardships on many in the racing community. Granted, these hardships are minor compared to the tremendous damage and loss of life suffered elsewhere, but the racing community was affected nonetheless.
The Five Flags Speedway ticket booths (top) and track office (bottom) was destroyed by Ivan.
Tim Bryant, the Five Flags Speedway promoter, posted this on the Five Flags Speedway website.
"The Racetrack took a pretty hard hit. Assessments continue and clean-up will begin soon. Regrettably, the final two regular season race dates are very doubtful at this point. Top priority must be given to continuing the tradition of the Snowball Derby. Further information available as soon as possible."
Florida Panhandle Racing also gave reports on the following tracks.
"Mobile International Speedway (Information provided by Nancy) - At Mobile International we had a roof come off a building and land in the grandstands taking out some of the top rail and several of the boards. Several roofs came off and we have power wires down and we will have to re-aim our lights, we got power back on 9-18-04. The roof of the tower was peeled back some, but it still stands. We started our cleanup immediately but are not yet sure of our date for The Lee Fields, Coolie Barnett Bob Harmon Memorial which had been scheduled for September 18th.
South Alabama Speedway (Information provided by MaLeah Hill) - No Major Damage to Report: Lights in the pits were turned; Speaker wires and lights on front stretch were twisted and messed up. The tech building roof was torn a little, and other than clean-up work and time everything is ok. Racing will resume Sat Sept 25th"
While the future of this year's Snowball Derby will remain in question, the real story is the pure devastation of the entire Pensacola area. At a time like this, racing seems all but trivial. For more info and photos on the Pensacola area and the devastation, please visit the Pensacola News Journal
Speed51.com would like to send our condolences and prayers of support out to anyone whose lives were affected by Hurricane Ivan and all of the hurricanes to hit Florida over the last month. We would suggest that everyone do anything they can to help those in need, from donating money to donating supplies and time. Visit Pensacola News Journal or call your local Red Cross center for more information.