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Speedway upgrade opens in Highlands

HIGHLANDS – Just before Hurricane Ike struck the excavation of Battleground Speedway began, the racing-history making high-banked 3/8 mile dirt track had seen the passage of three years before being bought for rejuvenation, renewal and renovation.

Ike might have blown away the press box but strong effort has replaced that with a new four V.I.P. suite (each with a wet bar and restroom) press box. A renewed 4000 seat grandstand and a new state of the art audio system that adds voice clarity is new.

The track was bought last September by a true racing enthusiast to be a track owned by racers with the racers in mind to entertain ticket buyers. The track now encourages up to four abreast racing, sits on black clay with a unique hydration system and the high bank makes excellent traction and tire bite.

Mike Walling has been racing since he was old enough to walk. At age three Wallings uncle took the training wheels off his tiny motorcross bike and told him to go learn to ride it.

“We are trying to engineer this track as a pilot for the state of the art in dirt racing.” Walling said, “I intend to make Battleground Speedway the premier facility for dirt track racing in Southeast Texas.”

The new owner, nephew of the former Big H Racetrack owner, Red Walling stated, “I’ve raced in a lot of tracks and I’ve accumulated what I thought were better conditions that put up better results and make a better facility. I’m putting them to practice here.”

Last year the new owner won the Limited Modified Championship Series out of Cleveland, Texas; don’t worry, he promises he won’t race on his own track.

General admission is to be $10.00 for regular events, pit passes are to be available, permanent parking spaces will be made available for racers, more pit parking will be available to accommodate more drivers.

The track is intent to be as innovative for its guests as it is for racers and both Red and Mike talk much of making the facility family friendly. Mike said, “I’m all for a family pack. They can come out here for less than it takes to take in a movie and watch racing at its best for three and a half to four hours on a Saturday night. We are going to have activities for the kids. Fans can get here for chances on making a few laps before the flags each night, we will have kids nights just for kids, and various promotions will come about throughout the season.”

On the first weekend in February at the first try outs, 55 drivers and 150 spectators came out to experience the new track, that before about 2/3 of drivers are ready for the season. Walling got a lot of positive feedback from racers and fans that day.

A feature event coming March 20 and 21 is the World of Outlaws Late Model Lone Star 100 with a $100,000 purse, sure to bring the best from throughout the country.

The speed record for dirt track racing 147 m.p.h. was set at Battleground Speedway in the days of yesteryear. Years ago the best of the best raced in Highlands and the stands were packed to capacity. Many locals will remember the days when the track was the prime source of Saturday fun and many that have yet to experience dirt track racing are in for a thrilling spectacle.