It’s a season of lasts for Columbus Motor Speedway (OH) as the track plans to close its doors at the conclusion of the 2016 season. This weekend marks not only the final Bud St. Amant Memorial race at the Columbus, OH track, but also the final Super Late Model touring series event as the ARCA/CRA Super Series hits the track for the final time.
“You know, everything we do this season; being our final year is historic and special,” Columbus Motor Speedway Owner Jeff Nuckles told Speed51.com. “At the same time it’s sad to think about the incredible history and most importantly the people we’ve met and who have competed here over the years. As for CRA, specifically, I recall fondly a great 2011 race where Ross Kenseth and Tim Curry went at it for the entire race battling much of it side-by-side. I recall an event a year earlier where my son, Tyler, led 105 of 125 laps before he and Johnny VanDoorn tried to occupy the same spot on the race track. Of course, Brian Campbell went on to win that event. It’s been a great relationship we’ve had with Glenn and R.J. and we will certainly miss the racers.”
Started in 2014, the Bud. St Amant Memorial honors the late, legendary driver Bud St. Amant, who passed away that year after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was considered one of the nicest guys in the pits and incredibly dedicated to the sport of racing and family. Amant also made a huge impact at Columbus Motor Speedway and his willingness to lend a hand didn’t go unnoticed.
“Bud was an incredible friend and help to Columbus Motor Speedway but more importantly the Nuckles’ family,” said Nuckles. “Keeping up with a facility built so long ago requires a lot of maintenance and updates and Bud was there anytime we needed him. Of course, his business was excavating and if we needed to bury wire or dig a footer or anything else Bud would be there. As a matter of fact, the backhoe we use here week in, and week out, was left here by Bud some twenty years ago.”
Travis Braden won the Inaugural Bud St. Amant Memorial. It was a special night as Bud’s son, Gary, served as Braden’s crew chief. Last year Brian Campbell took the checkered flag on his way to four series wins. While Braden and Campbell will look for their second Bud St, Amant Memorial win, there’s one driver who would like to add his name to that list of winners, it’s current ARCA/CRA Super Series point leader Cody Coughlin.
“I’ve grown up with the whole St. Amant family,” said Coughlin. “Gary is like an uncle, Jordan and I are great friends, and Bud and I were very close to, so to be able to honor him with a win in the last year of this track would be huge.”
The Bud St. Amant Memorial 125 weekend will kick off with open practice on Friday, June 24th and the 125-lap event will take place on Saturday, June 25th.
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo Credit: St. Amant family