Process has begun to build a dirt track in Clanton

Frank Cooper (standing) leads the discussion during a meeting on Saturday to gauge the perspectives of local racers about the idea of a dirt track being built in Clanton. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

Frank Cooper (standing) leads the discussion during a meeting on Saturday to gauge the perspectives of local racers about the idea of a dirt track being built in Clanton. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

Race fans in Clanton will soon have a track to call their own once again, as plans for the construction of Peach Valley Motorsports Park are in the process of be being worked out.

Frank Cooper and Derek Ellis are managing partners of the project, which includes creating a dirt track at 1000 County Road 76 in Clanton.

The two have seen the need for a track and have been exploring the possibility of opening up one for years, as established local business owners. Ellis owns Big Daddy D’s Tees in Verbena, while Cooper owns One of a Kind Customs in Clanton.

A meeting was held on Saturday in an attempt to gauge input and receive feedback from local drivers prior to the construction of the track.

“We’re all racing junkies here,” Ellis said. “We want what’s best to see the racing community grow here in Chilton County.”

The main message consistent throughout the meeting was the importance of safety as a top priority.

The initial plan is to have roughly 22 degrees of banking in the turns in order to showcase a variety of racing series.

“If we bank it too much, you can’t get sprint and open wheel cars in there,” Cooper said. “We want to be able to bring in the ‘big boys.’”

However, Cooper and Ellis both expressed that the interest of the majority of drivers will be the eventual deciding factor in the track design.

Live entertainment is expected to be a common theme on race nights, as Cooper and Ellis want the track to become a spectacle for the entire county can enjoy.

As well as the music, the track will have a rule prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in the pit area.

“We’re trying to get families involved in racing again,” Cooper said. “We want to have fun with some clean and fast racing.”

After discussion was tossed around, the driver’s expressed interest in a hybrid between Shelby County Speedway in Wilsonville and Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, both of which are dirt tracks.

The governing rules that the track will abide by will be decided based on a majority vote of the driver feedback received. Opinions must be submitted by Oct. 31.

Drivers interested in offering their perspective about the track design or rules can visit the Peach Valley Racing Facebook page or email suggestions to derek@peachvalleyracing.com or frank@peachvalleyracing.com.

The dirt track is the first step of a five-year plan that Cooper and Ellis have devised that will eventually include a drag strip and an area for lawn mower racing.

“We’re asking everybody to give us a chance and be patient,” Ellis said. “We may have to makes some changes early on, but the goal is to find what works for everyone.”

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