Cotton Bowl Speedway: Local Racing In The Texas Heat

Texas summers are hot enough to keep the big name racing series away, but the locals still play in the dirt at Cotton Bowl Speedway. 

© Richard (Rip) Shaub. All Rights reserved

There's a reason there isn't much major racing in Texas in the summer. Circuit Of The Americas goes from IMSA in May to Pirelli World Challenge in September. Texas Motor Speedway goes from IndyCar in June to NASCAR in November. That's because it's brutally hot and races head north for cooler climes. But the locals don't seem to mind the heat one bit.

It hit 105º in Paige, Texas on Saturday but it was business as usual at Cotton Bowl Speedway. Dozens of racers turned out for heats and features in five classes on the 3/8 mile clay oval. Small-town dirt-track racing, under the lights, is about as pure as racing gets. Pride and bragging rights trump big purses and fame. Everybody knows everybody, and they all pitch in to keep the thrill of racing alive. And despite the fact that Texas loses a couple local tracks a year to closures, the community at Cotton Bowl seems as strong as can be.

CBS was kind enough to host me for an evening to capture some of the racing action and I couldn't have had more fun.

The track at Cotton Bowl Speedway is a great little 3/8 mile high-banked clay oval. It's open enough to carry some speed without being a demolition derby, but tight enough to insure some close racing action.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
First order of business is packing the clay. Drivers take to the track clockwise to compact the clay and prep the surface for the evening.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Mike Nuby, in his NeSmith Street Stock car, tests the surface during the pre-heats hot laps session.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Tim Sikorski, in his NeSmith, glides through turns 3/4 during the warmup. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Bryan Mayeux, of the CBS Stock class, has a hood pin mount break early in the evening. Some quick repairs put him right back on the track in no time. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Joe O'Bryan heading for the front straight. O'Bryan would start the feature in the 10th spot and end on the podium with a 3rd place finish.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Terry Tschoerner, on the inside, and O'Bryan chase down John Frydrych in the IMCA Stock class. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
IMCA Stock winner Zach Riley slides into turn 2 as the sun sets on Cotton Bowl Speedway.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Trent Miller comes to a rest on his side after a dust up in the second IMCA Stock heat. Miller was fine but his racing for the evening was over. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
A crash duing heats took out a sizable chunk of catch fence, leading to an hour plus delay for repairs. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Driver Jeremy Petty prepares to make some repairs on the catch fence during the extended red flag.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Jeremy Petty again, wedding the catch fence posts to the top support. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Cars sit on the track as drivers adn fans wait ou tthe extended red flag during fence repairs.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Sikorski takes the inside and puts the move on Bryan Meredith. Meredith would finish 4th, and Sikorski 6th.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Rob Slott's front wheel locks up as it lifts off the track in turn 4.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
The IMCA Modified class runs in a tight pack down the main straight. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Bruce Hinson's IMCA SportMod burps flame as he rolls off the throttle heading into turn 2. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Steve Sims (58), Aaron Brungot (50) and Ed Hall (98) Finished 1-2-3 in the CBS Stock Car feature race.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Sims in the spotlight as he enters turn 2.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
David Shed on the main straight with a glowing red engine and a blue smoke trail. © Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
DArk pockets in the corners and endless dust make for some dramatic images.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved
Race winner Pat McGuire shows how tight the racing is in the IMCA Modifieds class.© Rip Shaub. All Rights reserved