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  1. Here's another one of those clippings that need to be transcribed since I can't figure out a good way to cut and paste the thing to make sense. So, read the article below the pic. The headline reads: Improvements taking shape at San Antonio Speedway The article reads: One of the first promises made to the racing community after buying the pace was that he would make "a bunch of improvements." And evidently he wasn't kidding, because San Antonio International Speedway President and General Manager Bill Cravens has more than lived up his promise. "We've invested more than a quarter-million dollars in improvements so far," Cravens said during a recent media tour of the 10 year-old stock car racing facility he purchased late last year from local used-car dealer and auctioneer Joe Horne. "And we still have some major projects planned, including paving the whole parking lot and resurfacing the track itself." As we walked through the pit area, many of the changes were clearly evident. Down both straightaways, where less than adequate metal fences existed before - particularly on the front straight - huge concrete barriers are in place, designed to prevent errant race cars from ever entering the pits. Over the years several drivers have torn down, flattened or otherwise destroyed the front pit wall, as new SAIS chief tech inspector Terry Barden can personally testify. So the thick concrete barrier will be a most welcome safety feature that everyone in the pits, especially crew members busy working on pit road, will appreciate. And racers will be glad to see a fresh, new, hard-packed gravel base thought the entire pit area. In days past, anyone unfortunate enough to spend the evening in the pits, or even in the stands downwind from the pits, could count on choking on clouds of thick dust. It was a special kind of dust which started life as a mixture of good old dried Texas mud and a few truck loads of coal dust. It would kick up whenever a race car crawled through the pits, no matter how slowly. Spectators will be delighted to learn that the unpaved area between the pit road and the front straight which, in years gone by, has (with the help of out-of-control race cars) produced dust clouds big enough to engulf the entire grandstands, has been completely paved over and will now serve as a dust-free victory circle. The PA system sounded crisp, clean and audible from anywhere on the premises. It was turned to a local AM country radio station by one of the many workers busy on a wide variety of projects under way a the time of my visit. The sharp sound was evident even though only a couple of speakers were turned on. "Our new sound equipment is all first-class," Cravens said. "We've added several more speakers and there's a room full of amplifiers, mixers and electronics to go with them, and it all sounds great. Hopefully, there'll be no complaints this year that the sound system is no good." The system was designed by, and will be maintained by, cigar-chomping Davey Schonert, who was a familiar sight at Pan American Speedway for several years. There, he took care of everything electrical for owner / promoter Ricci Ware Sr. If you couldn't see or hear at Pan Am you were either deaf or blind. Schonert knows how to make it all work as it should. Schonert also has been working on the lighting system and had added new lights in the pit area where they were badly needed. And although only about half the race fans will directly benefit, all the women's rooms have been redone, complete with upgraded floors, all new fixtures and fresh paint. This year the women will not have to 'rough it' should nature call just before the main event. One improvement that really isn't too evident, but one which will benefit everyone in the stands, is the addition of several huge support beams anchored in 16 feet of concrete under the grandstands. "The grandstands were actually falling over, leaning backwards about seven degrees. We had to completely redesign the support system," Cravens said, shaking his head. "I'd hate to think of what might have happened if there were a capacity crowd on opening night and we hadn't taken the time to check the grandstands out." And while they were pouring concrete, Cravens poured ton after ton under the grandstands where once mud ruled. Going for a cool brew or a hamburger will not longer be an exercise in tip-toeing around mud holes. But to us media types, the biggest and best news is the new two-story press box, VIP suite and scoring tower perched high above the racing surface. The tower features wraparound tinted glass, indoor plumbing, wall-to-wall carpeting and enough electrical outlets and phone jacks to handle a room full of eager reporters. The San Antonio International Speedway racing season fires up next Saturday at 8 p.m., featuring the Super Stocks, Modified Stocks (Street Stocks) and Hobby Stocks. There will also be one or two of the new open-wheel Super Modifieds on hand to give the opening night crowd a glimpse of what SAIS officials hope will become there premier racing class. For ticket information and directions to the track call the SAIS office at 666-5300. NICK'S NOTEBOOK Following a trend set by Chevy and Porsche in recent years, Italian manufacturer Alfa Romero will enter the Cart/PPG Indy Car World Series this year. Technicians at Alfa's facility in Milan are hard at work mating an updated version of and old Ferrari V-8 to a brand new March 89CE chassis. Look for the project to run into development problems similar to those experienced by Porsche. The Alamo Region of the SCCA will host a Regional Solo II event at Blossom Stadium on April 30. If you've ever wondered how you wand you trusty vehicle would fare at an autocross event, get the ball rolling by attending the SCCA meeting this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Maggie's Restaurant, 9715 San Pedro, or call John Turner at 826-5568. Victor Pell, track manager for the San Antonio 4X4 Mud Races, says the track, located three miles south of Loop 410 on 281 South (Roosevelt Avenue), is back in operation after a winter lay-off. Modified and stock classes of trucks take on the mud every other Saturday night at 8 p.m. Call the track office at 921-0237 for more information. It's no secret that Dick Conole, owner of Texas world Speedway in College Station, is selling off as many of the new aluminum seats as he can from the huge grandstands that stretch for what seems like miles down the front straightaway. In fact, Conole has been placing ads recently in major racing publications, complete with a photo of the offering. But what is a secret is what he intends to ultimately do with the 2-mile high-banked super speedway which was once billed as the world's fastest, but which in recent years has seen only limited use. Conole has indicated that one of his options might be to convert the place into a Class 2 horse track, but he is still hoping that major stock car racing can be brought back to Texas. Of course, major auto racing events take major money and good sponsorship deals to become a reality these days, and in light of the current Texas economy, the future of TWS as Texas' foremost racing facility looks dim.
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