As the world watched Hurricane Harvey devastate the great state of Texas, track promoter Raymond Delahoussaye and the racers of Texas watched as their only pavement track was transformed into a small lake holding more wildlife than race cars.
Now, after a few weeks of warm weather, the race track is back to looking like a race track and ready to open its gates this weekend.
“The backstretch of the race track is the banking to the Bayou, so when they overflowed it flowed right into the race track. The water running through the property had nowhere to go so it filled the track up like a lake,” Delahoussaye told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
The actual racing surface wasn’t what got the worst of it though as the water overtook all the surrounding area and buildings creating a total loss in some circumstances.
“There was four feet of water in the office and it ruined everything in there. There was four feet of water in the tractor sheds, all the equipment rooms, the concession buildings. It was pretty devastating and it’s been work non-stop since Harvey.”
Despite the discouraging damage done to the property from the massive rains and flooding, Delahoussaye and the crew pulled together and worked around the clock to prepare the track for its upcoming race on September 23.
“We practiced on it last week and it went great. The track was actually a little dusty and it took some laps to knock the dust off of it, but before the end of the day you could set fast time on it and the track was really quick.”
It has been a complete team effort to get the facilities ready. From pumping water to restoration, and just basic clean up all hands were on deck for the job. The destruction and disaster the hurricane left behind made it difficult because although the rain lifted, there were still difficulties afterward.
“It’s pretty awesome that everybody here has pulled together in the complete devastation,” Delahoussaye stated. “Parts have been one of the biggest things because, with the hurricane, deliveries weren’t able to get in with the parts so we have all had to help each other out with what they need.”
With the track ready for action, it’s now up to the drivers to make their way back to Houston Motorsports Park for Speedfest this upcoming weekend. Unfortunately for some, they have to focus on rebuilding their lives instead of rebuilding race cars.
“The drivers have all done really well. There are some naturally that won’t be able to make it because of the situation they’re in at their homes but they’ve called and said they will be there as spectators or even come and help and work.”
Between the faculty and drivers, the upcoming race weekend is sure to help lift the spirits of those who need it the most. Partners of Houston Motorsports Park have come together to help get those people to the races who helped everyone when they needed the most.
“One of our premier sponsors, Redco Tool & Supply, stepped up as well and are really helping out. The first 500 first responders that took part in the hurricane will get in for free and Redco will pay for them to come watch,” Delahoussaye said. “Also, Advanced Auto Parts will be at the track as well offering service to people who may need it on their cars or need parts.”
The drag strip starts off the festivities at Houston Motorsports Park on Friday night for spectator drags. Then, on Saturday evening the oval track will open up as the Texas Asphalt Racing Series presents Speedfest. Gates open at 2 p.m. and racing starts at 5 p.m. with Pro Modifieds, Pro Trucks, Pro Late Models, Super Stocks, Eco-Stocks, NasKarts and Allison Legacy Cars.
Story by: Hannah Newhouse – Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @HannahNewhouse
Photo by: Houston Motorsports Park