Nearly three weeks clearing the rubble from the May 20th EF5 Tornado that cut a 17 mile swath of devastation through portions of Newcastle, Oklahoma City, and Moore; I44 Riverside Speedway now launches a critical campaign in the determined battle to restore the final dirt racing facility in the greater Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

For those who may not know of our plight, I44 Riverside Speedway is a 1/6th high banked red dirt oval located in the far southwest reaches of Oklahoma City. Established in 1999, I44 Riverside features Midget and Micro racing and has been the sole remaining dirt racing facility operating in the greater OKC area since the unfortunate dismantling of State Fair Speedway (formerly Fairgrounds Speedway) in early 2010.
On May 20th, an EF5 tornado devastated the speedway nearly six minutes after first touching down in nearby Newcastle. The tornado grew to nearly 1.3 miles in width as it decimated parts of Oklahoma City and Moore, killing 24 and injuring 377. The tornado destroyed nearly 1,150 homes and inflicted an estimated $2 billion on damages.

Minutes after the tornado left their business in ruins, the tornado laid waste to Mark and Gloria’s home on SW 147th and Santa Fe near the Briar Wood Elementary School. Gloria’s daughter, nearly seven months pregnant, was miraculously pulled from the debris with only minor injuries.

Among the thousands displaced since the tragic storm, with somber happiness we can share that the family has finally found more permanent accomodations as they eagerly await the bundled arrival to the family.

Efforts to restore their business began on Memorial Holiday Weekend as over 100 volunteers came to help clean up the debris, spawning the movement to #Restore44. The following week, Norman, Oklahoma resident Kathy Bell brought her hard work and dedication to the speedway, joined by Flat Out Magazine contributor and Orwell, California native Stephanie Odom and Factor One Racing’s Kristy McDougal as the trio brought several truckloads of various items donated to victims of the disaster. Shortly thereafter, dozens more volunteers came out to conclude the cleanup phase of the mission to #Restore44.

The countdown officially begins today and the effort unfolding in fever pitch – 44 days until our scheduled reopening with our annual blockbuster – the 14th Annual Mini Sprint Nationals. This is our most crucial phase in restoring the final dirt track in OKC as we raise the funds to replace the speedway lighting, track equipment, and seating that were completely obliterated by the tornado.

Much of the wall paneling surrounding the speedway surface was destroyed, In effort to replace the panels sponsors can purchase a ten foot section with logo/writing of their choice for $70 (direct cost of each panel).
Panels can be purchased online via PayPal by visiting www.i44riversidespeedway.com, or contacting the speedway at 405.633.1583. Sponsor notice can also be sent to the speedway at 4100 SW 149th St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73170

Perhaps even more crucial, especially in the plight to restore track lighting and replace the track equipment, sponsors can purchase 10 ft. X 3.5 ft. billboards that ring around the speedway on the catch fence for $550. Billboards can be purchased online via PayPal by visiting www.i44riversidespeedway.com, or contacting the speedway at 405.633.1583. Sponsor notice can also be sent to the speedway at 4100 SW 149th St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73170

Each sponsorship dollar will be heavily documented and all sponsors acknowledged not only at their displays at the speedway, but also in each widely circulated press release for the remainder of the season. We will feature a press release at the start of each week until we reopen with our highly anticipated 14th Annual Mini Sprint Nationals on August 1-3, which will ignite our final ten events for the 2013 campaign.

These releases will celebrate those who have joined the cause to #Restore44 and keep dirt oval racing alive in Oklahoma City, as well as announce updates and details to upcoming events, while also heavily documenting the fierce and intricate battle the I44 Riverside family is fighting to restore the speedway.

Over the weekend, Mark and his workers cleared the final remaining debris piles in the infield, which is now entirely free of debris. They began the final repairs to the catch fence as well. Pictures of the speedway will be shared and distributed later this week as we heighten the fight to Restore44.

In the opening days of this widespread, international campaign, already many have stepped forward to help #Restore44.

Wall Panel Sponsors

1 – 2J Wehkamp Racing (Wehkamp Racing – Cimarron, Kansas)
2 – 2J Wehkamp Racing (Wehkamp Racing – Cimarron, Kansas)
3 – 3J Wehkamp Racing (Wehkamp Racing – Cimarron, Kansas)
4 – 3J Wehkamp Racing (Wehkamp Racing, Cimarron, Kansas)
5 – Jennings Powder Coating (Brandon Jennings – Oklahoma City)
6 – Jack Hall #37 (Jack Hall)
7 – 2B Brandon Boggs (Boggs Racing – Lawton, Oklahoma)
8 – Bobby Brewer #1 (Bobby Brewer – Cabot, Arkansas)
9 – TBA (Matthew Rainey – Choctaw, Oklahoma)
10 – Lyndon Harvey 99H (Harvey Racing – Decatur, Texas)
11 – TBA (Kinnison Racing – Mansfield, Texas)
12 – TBA (Kinnison Racing – Mansfield, Texas)

Current total: $840
Panels remaining: 102

Billboards

1 – Barnum’s Plumbing, Inc. (Oklahoma City)

Current total: $550
Billboards remaining: 37

Mark Banister, Gloria Olexa, and the entire I44 Riverside Speedway would like to extend our most gracious thanks and gratitude to those that support the cause to #Restore44. We humbly ask the many communities of which we are part, the regional, state, national, international, business and racing community to be a part of something truly special in joining us to keep dirt track racing alive in Oklahoma City and bring some happiness to thousands of hearts burdened by the May 20th storm.

We will feature another official release later this week announcing details to a huge gathering and fundraiser for I44 Riverside Speedway at Oklahoma City’s Pole Position Raceway. Event details, track progress, and sponsor updates will all be featured.

To announce your support for I44 Riverside Speedway, simply visit our track website at www.i44riversidespeedway.com to purchase either wall panels or billboards.

For further sponsorship opportunities please contact the following:
I44 Riverside Speedway at 405.633.1583
i44riversidespeedway@gmail.com.
or Like, Follow, and message I44 Riverside Speedway on Facebook and Twitter

by Cody Morris

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