Columbus Motor Speedway attempted to hold its final night of points racing Saturday night, marking the end of asphalt racing in the Columbus, OH suburb of Obetz.
The speedway, which has hosted racing in some form since 1946, has been owned by the Nuckles family since its inception. But following the announcement of a sale to the City of Obetz earlier this year, fans and drivers have been honoring “One Final Lap” of Columbus Motor Speedway.
Five divisions arrived to determine the final race winners and points champions in Columbus Motor Speedway history, including Late Models, Modifieds, Street Stocks, “Crazy Compacts”, and U.S. Legend Cars. Eventually, the only winner crowned would be Mother Nature.
Rain started at the third-mile oval asphalt track around 5:30 p.m. and continued through 8 p.m.. Track officials had previously stated on social media they would wait out the rain and attempt to dry the facility, as long as the sun was still out. But with the front stalling out and the sun going down, Columbus Motor Speedway made the difficult decision to cancel the finale.
With rain flowing down the track’s banking, so too did the memories of drivers in the pits.
For Devin Stansbury, who led a tight points battle in the “Crazy Compact” division coming into the night, the finale meant a lot.
“I used to come here as a little kid, and watch all my uncles and cousins race and everything, so I figured when I was old enough I would try it out and here I am. I’m really going to miss this place.”
While Stansbury was hoping to secure his first championship in his first full season of racing, Donnie Hill was wrapping up his 30th season of racing at Columbus. The six-time track champion was 10 points behind Kyle Purvis in the Late Model Championship entering the night.
Hill, when asked about his greatest memory, found it difficult to choose just one.
“I don’t know, I have a lot of them. All the races we have won here and everything. Winning my first Kunckles Memorial and Bud St. Amant Memorial.”
For Shane Shirk, the Modified division points leader entering the night, his memories related to personal accomplishments at Columbus. Despite favoring his track record and championship, the Columbus Motor Speedway community meant the most to him.
“It’s going to be really upsetting. I love this track, I love the people that run it, I love the people that I race against. They are rivals but they are good racers, good competition. I’m really going to miss that.”
Columbus Motor Speedway’s last scheduled event is a “Crash-A-Rama” on September 24. Saturday night’s racing was the last weekly racing event before the track closes for good.
-By Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com State Editor (IN, MI & OH)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com