A few steps are still required before reopening Hub City Dragway in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but Garrett Rudd is moving forward at a healthy pace, and he’s confident that major hurdles have been crossed and the track will see life again.
Rudd, who also owns Battlefield Dragstrip, a 1/8-mile ‘strip in Collinsville, Mississippi, is no stranger to all of the necessary crossed T’s and dotted I’s to create a viable racing facility. Rudd explains how a whim started the process to open his second Mississippi dragstrip.
“Honestly, on this past Thanksgiving eve, I think I did a little too much partying, and a topic of conversation concerning Hattiesburg came up,” remembers Rudd. “I got a wild hair and made a Facebook post about the track, and one of the three owners called me on Thanksgiving Day.”
The dragstrip operated for 18 years and closed in 2018. One of the key sticking points right now has been achieving county and city approvals, the most prominent concern being a noise ordinance currently in place. Rudd adds, “The county green light has taken quite a bit of effort to get all these ducks lined up properly. I got all the county approvals, which is a big hurdle out of the way.”
The levels of disrepair are not huge since the track has been dormant only since 2018, but Rudd will still have update challenges ahead of him. “A construction company that used the property did quite a bit of damage with their machinery to the pit area and access roads that will demand a lot of work,” adds Rudd.
The final key hurdle is signing lease documents, which Rudd is confident will happen in just a few weeks. Once that last green light turns on, Rudd has aspirations to move ahead with improvements above and beyond basic repairs.
“I have the goal of raising the safety standards of the track,” offers Rudd. “The guardrails will be removed, and concrete walls installed; the track surface will be resurfaced or repaired. We will base that decision on further inspection. We still want it to be a 1/4-mile track. We will definitely be reworking the track to accommodate today’s larger rigs,” Rudd laughs.
The ultimate motivator for Rudd is his desire “to bring back bigger events that include hosting the NHRA-type racers,” he finishes.
The Hub City Dragstrip Facebook page will be racer’s key information source for updates on their progress on the timing of final signatures and the winter weather breaking to begin construction. It will be another win for the drag racing world as Rudd works to bring another dragstrip back to life.