New dirt track opening next weekend

The first race is set for June 23rd 2018; Short track racing fans are ready to pack the mountain!

UPDATE: The grand opening at Thunder Mountain Speedway has been postponed

Thunder Mountain Speedway started from a hole at the top of a mountain. Upon sight, the idea of a dirt track was sparked and soon after a purchase of the land was made.

In 2016, Dennis Barton and his wife Lori Crawford Barton didn’t need land and weren’t looking for any land. Yet, for curiosities sake, they decided to check out a piece of land that came up for sale in Corbin, KY at the top of a mountain.

At the top of said mountain, there was a giant hole in the ground. At the base of the hole, sat what already looked like a natural dirt track.

“It would make a nice race track wouldn’t it,” Dennis Barton asked his wife upon his first view of the area.

“Next thing I knew, we was inside signin’ paperwork to buy property we didn’t need,” Lori Barton stated.

In 2016, the plans formed. They purchased the mountain land and tractors rolled in to begin forming the track.

Thunder Mountain Speedway - Before construction
Thunder Mountain Speedway – Before construction

They ran a pipe from the middle of the track, under the banking and out the side of the mountain, drainage was in place. They installed grandstands on a natural hill that was already in place.

Every seat in the house has a view of the entire race track. It’s a dirt track set in a natural bowl. The crowd will look down on the track below from any viewing area of the track.

I went there to check out out last October as the rain fell. They were still shaping the track. It’s truly amazing and no photo can do the overlooking view any justice. This little race track has so much potential!

Since October, a very unique dirt track has been born. It’s somewhere between a D shaped oval and something else. A long sweeping turns 1-2 head into a very short back stretch then a tight turns 3-4. It’s a badass bullring race track with a mountain view as the backdrop.

The track features minimal banking. It’s a stark contrast to other tracks in the area. That’s an important characteristic for the local racer.

“If you put banking in a race track, which don’t get me wrong banking in race tracks is fun to watch, sometimes and it sometimes ain’t. But, they get away from each other and it’s too far away to catch somebody. It turns into a motor track. I’m just trying to take that out around here, a little bit,” track co-owner Dennis Barton told me last October.

Months after the purchase and lots of hard work from a small crew, Thunder Mountain Speedway was set to open on May 5th, 2018. However, the date was postponed as the weather failed to cooperate.

“It is with much consideration that we have to announce that Thunder Mountain Speedway will NOT be racing on May 5th as we had hoped. Mother nature has gotten the best of us this Spring. Please know that we have tried diligently to be prepared but this rain has made it impossible to reach our target date…,” a statement from the Thunder Mountain Speedway facebook page read.

“With that being said we hope to be ready in the next couple of weeks for some great racing.. Please be patient as we prepare to bring you the best racing facility that Kentucky has seen in a long time. Go out and support your other local tracks and we will keep you posted as to when we will be opening..”

Back at it…

A month has now passed. More massaging has gone into the race track and it’s ready for the green flag.

The lights are now up, the tire barriers are set, the scoreboard is up, VIP booths are installed, the track is watered and they are ready to bring race fans to the mountain view race track.

Thunder Mountain Speedway
Thunder Mountain Speedway

Why tire barriers? Well, for starters it’s a lot cheaper to crash into a tire barrier than a concrete wall. Cheap repairs will keep racers at the track instead of the shop. The short track racers will much appreciate the fact that they don’t need to replace a front clip upon impact.

In turns 3-4, there’s a large uphill climb for cars to reach any fans. Tires work just fine over there. In the turns 1-2 area, there’s the opposite, a cliff. Over there, a concrete wall has been installed to prevent any chance of launch.

“ANNOUNCEMENT that everyone has been patiently waiting on!!!!
Thunder Mountain Speedway will have their 1st time ever race on June 23rd!!!!,” Thunder Mountain Speedway stated on their facebook page.

“Of course this will be weather permitting.. Please spread the word and let’s Pack the Mountain..”

That day is almost here. On June 23rd, the track will officially open the gates to racers and race fans. All the way from Charlotte, NC… I’m going to try to make it there for opening weekend. If you’re anywhere within a few hours, I highly suggest you do the same.

Thunder Mountain Speedway Event Info

Super late models, Open wheel modifieds, KDRA super stocks, KDRA 4 cylinders and mini cups

Pits will open at 3:00pm. Hot laps are schedule for approximately 6:30.

Pit passes are $30 per person. Grandstand access is just $12 with children 12 and under free.

There’s a practice session scheduled for June 21st 2018.

Track address:
4999 HWY 26 Corbin, Kentucky

Thunder Mountain Speedway
Video Tour


Related: New dirt track on the way – Thunder Mountain Speedway (October)

Related: Bill Lupinos discusses his new dirt track – Richmond Raceway

Related: Isaiah Day details construction and costs of his new dirt track

Related: How does a dirt track get on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule?

Related: A new dirt track is set to open in Daisy, GA

Related: The Dirt Track at Edgewater – A new dirt track is on the way

Related: Cleveland Speedway sold


Thunder Mountain Speedway | Shane Walters