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Highland Rim Speedway is Fun for All the Family

They start young at Highland Rim Speedway. Some of the top Legends race car drivers are 16 years old and began racing go-karts at 9 years old. No wonder the theme is family-friendly, encouraging people of all ages to hone their skills and hit the racing circuit. Legends on the start line

Every Saturday night from April to October, the thunder rolls at the Rim in Greenbrier as drivers compete for trophies or prize money, racing Late Models, Open Wheels, Sportman, Super Stocks, Pro 4S, Pure Stocks, Tuners, Rim Runners, Baby Grands, Dwarfs, and Legends.

When the track was built in 1969, the Rim became the fastest high-banked quarter-mile asphalt track in the region – and it still is.

The speedway faced a sad demise several years ago, but local businessmen and racing enthusiasts Roger Cunningham, Jerry Criswell and Buddy Williams bought the track in foreclosure and celebrated its 50th anniversary with a grand reopening on Sept. 29, 2012. DSC_0384

 

They have breathed new life into Highland Rim Speedway, upgrading the track and facilities, turning it into a family-friendly speedway. Volunteers and strong community involvement ensure a bright future for Highland Rim with the owners planning continual upgrades every year. Their enthusiasm is contagious when you find them at the track any Saturday night. DSC_0352

 

The drivers are preparing for a night of action in the pit while James “The King” Climer gives high-speed rides around the banked track in his 55 Chevy. They’ve put my name on the list (and anyone can sign up and pay for a ride, too) for a seven-lap thrill with the veteran driver who has won hundreds and hundreds of races at Highland Rim and all over the Southeast. Climer is a former stuntman, Golden Gloves boxer and teacher, and his son, Tommy Climer, is also a former track champion at Highland Rim and Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Dayle on door

 

This is also the site of Marty Robbins’ first racing win in the #777 Devil Woman car, and the track that served as a proving ground for NASCAR legends Bobby Hamilton Sr., Bobby and Donny Allison, and The Green Brothers. Hot stars like Casey Atwood and Bobby Hamilton Jr. got their stock car racing start at the Rim. DSC_0369

It soon becomes apparent that racing is very much a family affair. As the young drivers zip into their racing suits and helmets ready for the start of the Legends race, their eyes are on the $1,000 prize money tonight. The cars have motorcycle engines and are all hand-built on jigs, scaled down replicas of racing legends. Drivers range from 13-70, and two of the young drivers pose for a picture with four generations of racing car drivers.

Once a month Highland Rim hosts a Family Appreciation Night, with more entertainment for the kids, and competitions that include local groups such as a race for Faster Pastors. They compete for pole position by first racing a bucket of water in a shopping trolley around a series of pylons, seeing who can spill the least amount of water.

Highland Rim Kid’s Zone is a club for kids that love auto racing, offering them fun and activities when they come to the race track. Anyone can sign up their kids and join in! DSC_0380

There are very few hometown racetracks left in United States, setting Highland Rim apart as a legend in its own right. Pack up your family and head to the speedway for a night of thrilling entertainment, and you may find racing will get in your blood, too!

Who’s your favorite racing car driver? Share your favorite speedway story in the comments below.

Hi! I’m Dayle Fergusson. As a transplanted Aussie living in Middle Tennessee since 1986, I have been a freelance travel...Read on

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