Mt. Juliet's Roger Cunningham, co-owner of Highland Rim Speedway, made news from Ridgetop to California this past season, and hopes to build on that success in the coming year.
"This past season didn't just meet expectations, it exceeded them in every way," says Cunningham, who owns and operates the Ridgetop racetrack with partner Jerry Crisswell.
"What we want to do now is carry that momentum over into next season and keep building on it."
Cunningham and Crisswell have been tireless promoters of the historical little quarter-mile track -- from taking race cars to area schools for displays, to attracting attention from California documentary film crews.
One such crew came in to film a segment called "Faster Pastor Races" -- races that match area ministers in just-for-run competition. Stories about the off-beat "pastor" races went nation-wide.
"That's the kind of positive publicity the track needs," Cunningham says. "It helps spread the word about Highland Rim Speedway, that it's a fun place to go and take your family, and it has some exciting racing."
Several Wilson County racers did well at the track this season. Mt. Juliet's Jesse Walker was the highest-finishing local driver in any of Highland Rim's six divisions, finishing 2nd in the Legends Division.
Lebanon's Scott Fetcho and his son Dylan Fetcho finished 4th and 7th, respectively, in the Legends standings. Two other Lebanon racers, siblings Preston Young and Randall Young, were 9th and 10th.
Shannon Donathan of Mt. Juliet was 6th in the Baby Grands, and Hannah Garrett, also of Mt. Juliet, finished 6th in the Pro-4s.
Lebanon's Eddie Moore was 9th in the Baby Grand standings.
"It's very encouraging to see so many local drivers going to the Rim," Cunningham says. "There was a time when the track drew most of its drivers and fans from Robertson County (in which it is located) but in recent years it has drawn a broader audience."
Some competing tracks around Middle Tennessee have closed in recent years, and Nashville Speedway this season drastically reduced its schedule, running fewer races. Their losses were Highland Rim's gain.
"We want drivers and fans throughout the area to know that they've got a place to race at Highland Rim," Cunningham says. "We're working hard to get the word out. We made great progress this year, and I can't wait to get started on a new season."
The track's awards banquet will be held Jan. 11. Drivers meeting are scheduled Dec. 17-21. Details about both are available on the track's website.
No Superspeedway movement: Nashville Superspeedway appears destined for a third season of silence. NASCAR's 2014 schedules have been announced for its three touring series, and the Gladeville track is not included.
NASCAR recently bought a track in Iowa where it plans to run Nationwide, truck and IndyCar races -- a lineup similar to the one at the Superspeedway during most of its decade of operation. That fanned hope that a similar purchase of the Superspeedway might be forthcoming. But so far there is no word of any negotiations between the track's owner, Dover Motorsports, and any prospective buyer.