The green light has been given for the return of stock car racing in Columbia County.
Silver Eagle Speedway near Grovetown - which recently closed because of a loan default - will reopen March 30 under a different name and a new owner.
"I'm planning on retiring and running that full-time," said Bill "Catfish" Reese, who owns Catfish Used Cars on Gordon Highway and who recently purchased the track from Edward Dinkins of Evans. "I love racing better than a hog loves slop."
Jimmy Carter of Carter Realty helped negotiate the sale and said Reese placed a $50,000 down payment on the track. Reese will purchase the track for $410,000 and pay interest on financing being provided by Dinkins.
Reese said he intends on hosting the same type of racing events at the speedway as before, but he will change the track's name back to its previous moniker, Gordon Park Speedway.
"It sounds better because it's right there at Fort Gordon, and the name just rings a bell with everybody in the country," he said.
Reese said the March 30 reopening will be an open house event and will include racing. Pit gates will open at 4 p.m. Grand stand gates will open an hour later.
"I'm going to have the same racing, same rules," Reese said.
The track was formerly owned and operated by George Bryan, who improved the track with more than $1 million. It went up on the auction block in early February and was later purchased by Dinkins.
Dinkins couldn't run the track and was looking for someone to purchase it from him. Carter said several people were interested in the property, but Reese was given the opportunity to purchase the speedway because of his background in racing.
Reese owned the speedway from 1991 to 1994 and leased it for two years prior to that, he said.
Now, Reese said, he's looking to the future.
"We appreciate everything that Mr. George Bryan and the other owner contributed to this race track," he said. "And Mr. Bryan is welcome anytime to come see me and be involved a little bit with the racing."
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