MainStreet hears about dirt track racing film
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Mar 18, 2014 | 1287 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Amusing images of a Cleveland past and a history of dirt track racing were the topic for historian Debbie Moore as she gave her presentation to MainStreet Cleveland members Monday.

Her and her husband, Ron Moore, have just completed “It’s a Dirt Track Life.”

The short historical feature film will premier Thursday at the Museum Center at Five Points.

MainStreet Cleveland Executive Director Sharon Marr said MainStreet is gearing up for this year’s downtown events, including the Relay for Life, which will move back into the MainStreet venue, the MainStreet Cruise-in and First Street Farmer’s Market.

Cruise-in representatives at the meeting also aided Moore with the dirt track project.

“I begged and borrowed projectors,” explained Moore, who received a great outpouring of historical films from the family of Jack Cunningham, who was an avid racer at Cleveland Speedway and other venues.

One of the film snippets included the first race at the Cleveland Speedway in April 1954.

There were no pit walls and “folks just brought their cars,” according to Moore.

Everyday cars would have been the proper term.

The evolution had begun and racers began building their performance machines.

Today, Cleveland Speedway is in jeopardy of being closed, due to ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

The Moores live near the race track and the roar of engines on Saturday nights has never bothered them, according to Debbie.

“It’s just a part of our life,” she said.

“We decided to research dirt track racing from Georgia to Gatlinburg,” Moore said.

Traveling to Georgia, they met with Charlie Mincey.

Mincey, like several other racers who contributed to the film’s content, began his racing career in Northwest Georgia — as a “moonshiner,” according to Moore.

After the word got out that there were people asking about the early days of racing, eight people showed up to tell their stories for the documentary — and all but two began with their beginnings as moonshiners.

The premier of “It’s a Dirt Track Life” begins at 6 p.m. at the museum.