Track offers radio-controlled recreation

Published 1:10 pm Thursday, October 6, 2011

The 2011 Fall Brawl winners were (left to right) Doc, 5th place; Ben Buckingham, 3rd place; Andrew Smolnik, 1st place; Alan Burton, 2nd place; Drew Cassidy, 4th place; and Shannon Amos, Top Qualifier (TQ).

Small wheels keep on turning at the Snake Pit Raceway in Maplesville as radio-controlled car fanatics flock to the track for events such as the annual Fall Brawl race.

This year’s Fall Brawl was held Sept. 29-Oct. 1, and Snake Pit owner and manager Bradly Seales said about 75 racers attended.

Seales said the turnout wasn’t as large as he had expected, considering his track has hosted as many as 200 racers in a single race weekend.

Radio-controlled cars go airborne during the "Truggy" main event of the 2011 Fall Brawl at Snake Pit Raceway in Maplesville.

“This particular event was a three-day event because we were expecting a lot more people,” Seales said. “We had a really good time. It’s set up to be a clean, family-fun environment.”

Club races, or the smaller races, usually occur every other weekend from April to November, and no races are scheduled on Sundays.

“The nitro-powered cars are very, very sensitive to temperature change,” Seales said. “The winter time is not a good time to race nitro cars, so we end our season around Nov. 1 and start back up around April.”

The Snake Pit Raceway was named after Seales’ father, Terry, who owns Terry’s Small Engines right in front of the track. His nickname growing up was “Snake,” and he raced dirt bikes. Naming the track for him seemed fitting, Seales said.

“We decided to open the track and accommodate the racers in the state,” Seales said. “We probably have 150-200 racers who live in Alabama who come.”

A track in Wilsonville was the state’s only one for years, Seales said, but it eventually shut down.

Enter Seales, who officially opened his off-road “RC car” racetrack in the summer of 2006.

Designed for both nitro and electric radio-controlled vehicles, the dirt track is 100 feet by 60 feet—one of the largest tracks in the Southeast—with lights for night racing, a 16-foot elevated drivers’ stand, an elevated pit road where cars in longer race events can re-fuel like NASCAR, Seales said.

“It’s a really good, friendly environment compared to most racing scenes,” Seales said. “People are competitive, but everybody for the most part comes to have a good time.”

All racers must bring their own cars, but no age limit exists for racing.

Seales said winners of the club races receive “bragging rights,” but winners of the big races, like the Fall Brawl, get trophies or plaques and sometimes cash money payouts.

“We actually had a cash money payout this past weekend,” Seales said. “We usually base the payout on how many races we have (and) how many people show up.”

Seales said he has sponsors for the larger races to provide or pay for car parts, fuel and other supplies. A list of sponsors are available on the track’s website.

For more information on the track, race schedules and results, visit

The Snake Pit Raceway is located 8199 Alabama Highway 22 in Maplesville.