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Evadale Raceway Brings Community Together in Good Times, Tough Times

Monday, 09 April 2018

The competition at Evadale Raceway is intense, but it is only part of what makes the East Texas track so special.

Located just minutes from the Louisiana border, Evadale is home to great on-track action with the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Summit SuperSeries and other racing events. But, it has also served as a place for the community to come together in the most difficult times.

Track owner Gary Peltier shared photos of some of the devastation left behind last year by Hurricane Harvey, the worst flooding disaster in American history. Although the track was spared much damage, many of its racers and employees suffered great losses. 

Peltier was glad the track staff was able to offer some assistance, although he added that months later, there is still more to be done.

evadale hurricane harvey

“Luckily, we were able to give back with all of our concessions going to the first responders,” he said. “We had other businesses and companies donating items and we were delivering them for weeks following the storm. We even had donations brought in that we were able to take to our volunteer fire department. But, some of our racers and our employees still haven’t recovered from the storm. Some of them lost everything.”

While it’s the most important example of the community bonding, they’ve also come together at Evadale in the good times. 

Since Peltier took over the former Ben Bruce Memorial Airpark, he has introduced new events like jambalaya and gumbo cook-out competitions to the facility. He has been able to attract new sponsors and they’ve made several upgrades to the track, which was converted from an air strip in 2002 and formerly known as Ben Bruce Memorial Airpark Raceway.

evadale raceway

The Evadale contingent made their presence known last year at the IHRA Division 4 (Renegades) Summit Team Finals last year when they finished runner-up to host Pine Valley Raceway. They also captured another prestigious award as Best Appearing Team.

“We decided we were going to make another run at it with the bracket program, and we’ve had really good support from the bracket racers,” Peltier said. “In fact, that was the largest group ever to go to team finals. Not only did we place very well, we won Best Appearing Team and we were very proud of that.”

evadale ihra team finals

In addition, Evadale driver Chris Gulitti won the award for Best Appearing Open Bodied Car and David Holloway was honored with the Best Appearing Full Bodied Car. Peltier feels his track, which featured Junior Dragster champion Dalton Lummus, could have an even stronger presence at the Summit Team Finals this year.

After all, there has been such enthusiastic support for the drag strip, drawing nice crowds throughout the year.

“We really have a hometown feel,” Peltier said. “We have such great support from both Texas and Louisiana. We have a really good fan base, week in and week out, even for our test-and-tunes.”

For more information about Evadale Raceway and its upcoming events, click here for the track’s website or visit its Facebook page.

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