A newly adopted noise curfew in Catoosa County was recently tested by Boyd's Speedway, and at least one resident in the area wants to make sure the owners follow the new rules.
In December, the Catoosa County Commission voted to amend the county's motor speedway ordinance, allowing those businesses to extend activities until midnight instead of from 11:30 p.m.
The previous ordinance allowed speedways to go over the 11:30 p.m. limit in "certain scenarios" up to midnight. The new version extends that latest curfew to 12:30 a.m.
Around the same time last year, Chattanooga businessman Emerson Russell purchased Boyd's Speedway in Ringgold.
Russell, who raced stock cars himself on the quarter-mile oval dirt track in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, previously told the Times Free Press he has always been interested in racing and hopes to upgrade and expand racing at the 67-year-old facility.
Russell closed on the business in February, and the speedway has since run two races, with a packed schedule for the rest of 2021.
On March 13, Russell said the drivers had a particularly tough time when a piece of the siding on one edge of the track fell off at least three times, delaying several races.
"That Saturday was an unusual Saturday night," Russell said. "If something was going to go wrong, it did go wrong. It seemed like that night it was one thing after another that caused us to run over."
Russell said he and his team will work hard to avoid another one of those situations but admitted sometimes it's part of the experience.
He added that in the speedway's debut under new ownership there were more races that night than on subsequent nights.
Lewis Meadows lives in East Ridge, right across the state line, and his home is near the speedway. Meadows is in his 80s and told the Times Free Press he didn't appreciate how late the races went, saying he still heard the races going on around 1:30 a.m.
Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk said his office was called that night for a noise complaint and told management at the speedway to wrap it up without incident.
"It was one of those unfortunate days where it seemed like everything went wrong," Russell said. "The fans there, fortunately, weren't upset about it, and hopefully we'll get back on track. Those situations are always going to happen, but we'll be better about planning for them."
Contact Patrick Filbin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.
Long bus rides, lack of role models: Panel discussion reconsiders integration of schools in Walker County