Catfish has one more chance.
Columbia County commissioners agreed to loosen some restrictions on Gordon Park Speedway owner Bill "Catfish" Reese, but Board of Commissioners Chairman Ron Cross made the board's intent clear.
"We don't want to see you back here," Cross said.
Last week commissioners unanimously agreed to slightly change the racing season to begin the third weekend in March and end the third weekend in November. The old season began March 15 and ended Nov. 15. But the 15th fell on Fridays in both months in 2002 - cutting out the possibility for Saturday racing.
Commissioners also agreed to some Sunday racing - but only when racing Saturday was rained out. Plus, racing on Sunday can only include laps not completed Saturday night.
"Whatever's left undone on Saturday night is all you can do on Sunday," Cross said.
Commissioners, however, did hold fast to two restrictions: racing must be over at 11:30 p.m. on Saturdays and the noise level must remain below 60 decibels.
Reese said he's promised to keep the track as quiet as possible, even handing out his bright yellow rule book for the coming racing season. Nearly every page is stamped: "MUFFLERS are MANDATORY!!!"
"If I can't keep the noise down, we'll close it down," Reese said.
Georgia Samuelson hopes he'll keep his word. At her home in Liberty Hills subdivisionnear the racetrack, the engine noise rattles dishes.
"When my grandmother, who is about 90 years old, can hear the racetrack over the phone, it's loud," she said.
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