The Crossville Dragway began life as an IHRA-sanctioned track, known originally as Crossville Dragstrip, back in the late 1970s. Over the years the facility changed names and hands before getting a hefty set of upgrades and then being shuttered. Now, the track is getting a new lease on life for the 2018 season thanks to Michael Newcome and Rick Wetherbee, with the goal of returning it to its glory days.
In 2015, the Crossville Dragway was purchased by Nick Bresaw and Tommy Fitzgerald after the previous owners decided to retire. Right away the pair started making big changes, including a fresh 800-foot concrete racing surface, poured concrete walls, a brand new timing tower, and many other upgrades. After the track was rebuilt at a cost of three million dollars, racing began — but ultimately the track was closed again with an uncertain future.
According to Wetherbee, he and Newcome wanted to bring the track back to make sure people had a place to race.
“Michael and I went to Tommy to see what could be done with the track. We decided to do a lease-to-purchase deal and that took about five months to finalize. It was pretty sad seeing it sit there empty after all the money and time that was put into it. I love drag racing and really wanted to bring the track back from the dead,” Wetherbee says.
Having the heart of a racer, Wetherbee knows what those who come to the track to compete would want to see, so there are more plans on the docket for Crossville. The goal is to keep improving the track and bring in even bigger events in the near future.
“One thing we’re going to do is put a walking bridge in over the lanes. We also want to add more lighting to the pits, and hopefully do some paving in the pit area, as well, to make it better for the racers,” Wetherbee says.
It’s always great to see a track saved from the brink of being lost, especially one like Crossville Dragway with this much history. With plans of bringing in heads-up racing, expanding the bracket program, and other big events on the horizon, the future of drag racing in Tennessee is looking pretty good.
Official Press Release:
Crossville Dragway has provided 40 years of drag racing action for racers and automotive enthusiasts in Central and Eastern Tennessee. The eighth-mile drag strip, founded in 1978, recently underwent a ground-up renovation. This enormous investment brings the track to modern standards with a new all-concrete racing surface, up-to-date equipment and many new features to attract racers and fans alike. Crossville Dragway announces that it will be open for business in 2018 with new ownership and a strong desire to provide exciting drag racing action with a safe and family-friendly environment every Friday and Saturday during the racing season.
Michael Newcome and Rick Wetherbee signed an agreement with the right to purchase the Crossville Dragway effective Friday, February 10, 2018. Newcome and Wetherbee have been drag racers for many years, often attending races at Crossville Dragway under its previous ownership. They have hired Charlie Patterson as Race Director for all bracket racing in 2018, and there will be a points program, offering benefits to regular racers. Newcome and Wetherbee also plan to host a monthly heads up racing program, to bring in some of the fastest door slammers in the country.
Other special events are planned, including a special race featuring “Boosted GT” and “Kayla” popular racers on the show “Street Outlaws”. Special events like this offer fans an exclusive opportunity to meet famous racers, and watch their cars blast down the eighth-mile drag strip. Later in the year, the Rocky Top Diesel Shootout will make its return to Crossville Dragway. It is a national event for diesel-powered vehicles, and draws hundreds of racers and thousands of spectators.
In regard to the recent announcement, Crossville Dragway co-owners offer an invitation to all racers and fans to join them when the gates open for 2018. “We are excited for this opportunity and look forward to creating some great racing events for years to come”, said Rick Wetherbee. “We are going to put on some awesome events in 2018 for fans and racers alike”, said Michael Newcome.
Crossville Dragway will remain a family-oriented facility, and both Newcome and Wetherbee’s families will be working at the track to make the 2018 racing season fun for everyone. Crossville Dragway will begin its season in March with Test and Tune sessions and grudge racing, as weather permits. A full racing schedule is published at www.crossvilledragway.com. For more information about the new and improved Crossville Dragway, please call 931-210-6607.