By Valerie Baldowski
There is a new race track in Henry County, but the cars that run on it are really small in size.
The county recently opened a remote control race track, at Windy Hill Park, which is located at 100 Ronnie Stewart Drive, in McDonough.
Also at the park is a paintball complex, and a track for lawn mower racing.
The new race track was designed carefully, said Julie Hoover-Ernst, Henry County's communications director.
"The red clay track is 860 feet long, with sharp, winding curves, jumps that enable the cars to shoot 20 feet through the air and reach heights of 10 feet, and a 40-foot pit lane for refueling the gasoline-powered vehicles," Hoover-Ernst said.
"It was built using donated materials and labor, as well as recycled lumber from the dugouts that used to stand where the track now [stands]," she said. "The remote control vehicles zooming around the track can complete a lap in 34 seconds."
She said racers can have a clear view of the action. "Overlooking the track is an elevated drivers' stand/observation tower, giving participants unobstructed views of the entire track," she added.
The money to build the track, according to Hoover-Ernst, came from the county's 1-cent sales tax. "It cost approximately $24,000, and was constructed using funds from the Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) II, Windy Hill Park renovation budget," she said.
The miniature track was first used on Sept. 18, she added, where it made its debut "hosting the Georgia State Championship Race, which attracted 93 teams from across the Southeast region."
The new track has gotten the approval of at least one national organization with an interest in mini-car racing, according to Henry County Parks and Recreation Department Director Tim Coley.
"We had some of the national representatives from the RC [Remote Control] Car Club that were here," Coley said, in a written statement. "They were very impressed with the facility, and they have guaranteed that we will get some regional and national races here, which will bring tourism into Henry County.
"We're just proud to have this facility on our asset list, where we're not only serving the citizens of Henry County, but also [are] able to bring tourism dollars to help offset the cost of activities that we do."
He said the facility is the result of creative thinking on the part of county officials.
"We've tried to think outside the box and find activities that citizens are traveling to many other places to do, and combine it all here at Windy Hill Park," he said.