CONCORD, N.C. – The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series season opener at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., is familiar terrain for Georgia natives Shane Clanton and Brandon Overton.
The track is nearly a stone’s throw away from the drivers’ hometowns when considering the number of fans who traveled from 42 states last year to see the first green flag of the season at the red clay oval.
Overton grew up nearly two hours away in Evans, Ga., and began racing at Screven Motorsports Complex long before he or the track ever thought about running Late Models.
“The second time I ever drove a Late Model was at Screven,” said Overton. “Screven started out as a go-kart track, and I grew up racing go-karts there. I’ve been racing there since I was seven.”
James “Redd” Griffin began carving the complex out of a cotton field outside of Savanna, Ga., in 1996. Since then, Griffin has constructed one of the most diverse racing facilities in the country.
“It shows how much Redd really cares about racing,” explained Overton. “It started out as a go-kart track. Now you’ve seen what it’s grown into. They have one of the best concession stands in the country, and it’s one of the nicest places. It really is pretty cool for everyone to come watch. You pay one ticket price and you can go watch the drag cars, the race cars, the go-karts; it’s a neat deal.”
Screven Motorsports Complex is known as the “Action Track of the South,” boasting a competitive red-clay oval, a quarter-mile Savannah River Dragway, a mud bog, a nearly quarter-mile dirt go-kart track, a paved rental kart track, a concert stage and a concession stand. Having such a large complex on the outskirts of the city has helped to boost the local economy in Sylvania, Ga.
“I employ most of the town,” laughed Griffin. “I hire a lot of police deputies, and all of my cooks, almost all of my people come from Screven County, and let me tell you, those southern ladies know how to cook the best fried chicken you’ll ever put in your mouth. Some people joke around and say, ‘Redd has a race track next to his restaurant.'”