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Racing returns to Newport with new track

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 7:51 PM CDT
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NEWPORT, Ark. (KAIT) - When the old Speedy’s Dragstrip closed a couple of years ago, many thought Newport’s racing tradition had stalled out.

Until one man decided to shift motorsports in Jackson County to the next gear.

Scott Cooper spent much of his early life racing in Newport.

“I guess it comes from my passion of racing,” Cooper said. “I’ve worked at the drag strip before when I was growing up with the Newport Optimus Club.”

So when his home track in Newport shut down in 2019, he felt like he lost something special.

“With it being idle, it’s hard to bring something back,” Cooper said. “The place was run down, it was very much an eyesore.”

Cooper stepped up and invested his own money to bring the track back, working on upgrades like a new timing tower, return track and a future concession stand.

He’s been able to do this with help from the community and the city.

“The Newport Economic Development Commission actually owns the property, so we made some improvements on our property that would allow racing here and we will turn back and lease the property to him,” said Jon Chadwell, the director of the NEDC.

Cooper said the donations of materials and labor from the community has saved him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Helping him rekindle an old tradition, and make it an integral part of the city’s bright future.

“So that we can have a place that not just for me, hopefully for my grandchildren and all the people around the county,” Cooper said.

Cooper added that he hopes that racing can begin as early as next month, but will continue working to make the raceway one of the premier tracks in the state.

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