The program — with adult grandstand admission discounted to $10 — includes a full slate of races, and there will also be a series of children’s bicycle races, in which the first three racers of each age division will take home a trophy.
Track spokeswoman Mia Green said that while the night promises plenty of excitement, the week leading up to fan appreciation night provides a much-needed break for the staff.
“As far as preparation through the week, it’s lighter,” Green said. “But when our employees come (tonight), it will be the same amount of work for them. For us in the office, it’s nice because we have been planning for the sprint cars for weeks now.”
Next Saturday, the USCS Winged Outlaws Sprint Cars and Winged Mini Sprints will be at the track. A week later, there will be a demolition derby at the end of the night.
“Those are always big events,” Green said.
The demolition derby will coincide with the opening of The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, a new shopping mall a few miles north of the Woodstock dirt track. Green said Dixie’s fan base has grown over the season and could get another boost with the opening of the outlets.
“We are hoping to draw some new fans to the track, and maybe they will stay in the area for the night,” Green said. “We had a lot of new fans (June 29). We can tell based on how many brochures and the amount of questions and schedules we give out. We probably gave away 2,500 to 3,000 schedules and track programs just telling people about the facility and concessions. When we have to keep refilling our boxes, we know that we have some new people.”
Over the years, Green has learned that if someone comes to Dixie for the first time, they usually return.
“Just from what we hear and the emails that we get, I think most of them come back,” she said. “They email us or get on Facebook and tell us they enjoyed it.”
Green said the track received favorable reviews from Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques and the Georgia Tourism Board. Both parties attended the Independence Day celebration.
“Several of them had never been to a dirt track or heard of Dixie Speedway,” Greens aid. “They just went on and on about it and how nice it is to have this unique tourist attraction so close to Atlanta. It is something they can offer, along with Stone Mountain, Six Flags and White Water. It’s just something else to bring people in. They didn’t know it was that large and that there were 150 acres there. I don’t know what they were expecting, but they were just really impressed.”
Dixie brings in approximately 150,000 fans each year. In recent weeks, Green has noticed families camping on Lake Allatoona, spending their Saturday evenings at the track after a day on the lake.
“Now, we have an opportunity that people can stay in this area for the night with the hotels,” Green said. “It’s exciting for all of Cherokee County.”
As one of the tourism board members pointed out to Green last week, Dixie Speedway isn’t just for race fans.
“It’s entertainment,” she said. “You don’t have to be a race fan to enjoy a night out at Dixie, and I really think that’s true. It’s the excitement of a live show. You never know what is going to happen, the personalities that are racing, and it’s so competitive. It’s just exciting seeing the thrill of the race.”
As for tonight’s schedule, Green said rain throughout the week has made the track soggy, but as of Friday night, the races would continue as planned.
“Most likely, it’s going to be pretty muddy,” Green said. “We usually have a really good crowd on the fan appreciation nights, and the kids come out for the bike races. Usually, we can count over 30 elementary schools that are represented.
“We’ll be racing until the weather doesn’t allow.”