Albany US 19 Dragway sees solid attendance despite high gas prices
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - At the US 19 Dragway, officials said safety is their number one priority.
That comes after multiple motorcycle accidents that WALB has reported on.
“It’s been in the news all the time, the dirt bike and four-wheeler unfortunate accidents,” said Rhonda Bethea, co-owner of the US 19 Dragway.
Bethea said she wants to avoid accidents that turn out to be serious.
“So, one of the things that we’ve started and will continue to maintain (is) before any dirtbike or four-wheeler can go down our track, they have to have safety equipment and we do have personnel that is in place to check to make sure that they have what they need,” she said.
This means riders have to wear all leather from head to toe and a certain style helmet to prevent head trauma.
Bethea said this helps safety both on and off the track.
“Those young adults can bring that activity here to the track because here at the track it’s equipped to handle in the event there is an emergency,”
Children as young as 6-years-old come to the track to race in events. Now that it’s summer, they are planning on hosting more events for younger kids.
Bethea said she wants to make sure they’re in a safe environment on the track while also keeping them from dangerous activity in the streets.
“They can get off the streets and running in between cars and things but just have the straight. It’s a one-eighth-mile concrete dragway,” she said.
Bethea also said that there have only been very minor injuries since they opened in March.
At the US-19 Dragway in Albany, racers now have to rethink how often they line up to race.
John Karrington said he came from Panama City Beach. So, he also has to factor in a multiple-hour drive just to get to the track.
“It’s a sport that we love to do, so we just make it happen. One week we won’t go racing,” he said. “We’ll work 2-3 days extra if we need to. 10-20 hours extra if we need to, so we can make up the gas money. It’s not a cheap sport, but it’s something we like to do and try to do it every weekend.”
Brandon Mitchell is from Bainbridge and is just getting back into drag racing after 15 years. He said the extra money for gas isn’t steering him away.
“An extra $10 to $15 bucks isn’t killing us,” he said
For some drivers, they tow their cars with trucks that require diesel. That’s something Bethea is conscious about, but she is confident that it won’t have a dramatic impact on attendance.
“People love racing. There are people that come every weekend. We just want them to continue to come out and see what we have to offer,” she said.
Bethea said they have gotten great attendance in recent months and they try to provide deals and discounts when they can.
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