The massive storms that ripped through Oklahoma yesterday are being blamed for the deaths of over 50 people. Sadly that total will probably rise. The massive tornado that ravaged the town of Moore, Oklahoma, also made it’s way through the tiny 1/4mile speedway of I-44 Riverside Speedway.
The track has posted some dramatic photos on their Facebook page showing just how devastating the destruction was to their speedway. The images absolutely took our breath away. The tornado at this time was only EF3, when it reached the town of Moore it had intensified to a EF5. The promoters also had their home completely destroyed in the tornado.
The track posted the following along with the photos:
I44 Riverside Speedway was hit very hard by an EF3 tornado. The tornado was about 1/4 to 1/2 mile wide as it hit the speedway. Promoters Mark Banister and Gloria Olexia also had their home completely destroyed a few miles east of the track as the tornado intensified to an EF5. Gloria’s daughter was at the home when the two mile wide tornado hit, she was pulled from the wreckage very shaken, but unharmed. They finally found refuge late last night, but are reunited and safe.
The pictures posted of the devastation were taken as Greg Moore and other I44 Riverside patrons were the first to arrive at what was left of the track.
To everyone in the racing community – I44 Riverside will be back THIS SEASON. Cleanup will be a monumental effort, thank you to all who have volunteered to help – we will need it and more.
Details of the debris are visible in photos, but main grandstand is in a heap in the infield, score tower somehow still standing, but ruined. The pit grandstand is in a wooden heap in turn 3. Track access structures have all been leveled, but the concession stand survived. All of the track equipment was lost, the lighting, PA, electrical, even the flagstand all ruined. Unfortunately, all track equipment also lost as well.
I spoke with I44 Riverside Speedway Promoter Mark Banister late last night – and while everything was insured – we still have a cleanup on our hands unlike anything seen before in this region’s racing. With the support of the best teams and fans in the nation, we can and will restore the only track in Oklahoma City so that we can put some happiness in hearts that today are so heavy. Together we will bring back and celebrate I44 Riverside Speedway.
But today is a time to grieve and pray for the victims of this horrific tragedy – for those who lost everything and those that lost even more. There are so many broken and heavy hearts, so many who are suffering – PLEASE do anything you can to help. The race track can wait, please do what you can for the families who are suffering.
Extremely well said by everyone at I-44. We know that you will be back racing this season, but our hearts still break for everyone in Oklahoma that has been affected by this tragedy.
From all of us at OneDirt.com our prayers are with you.
The Dramatic Photos