Texas Mile settles into new home in Beeville

May 29, 2011 at 12:29 a.m.

Mariah Clark, 16, and Travis Mitchell, 18, both of Corpus Christi, talk in front of his NASCAR truck as they wait for Mitchell's turn to drive down the Texas Mile Saturday at Chase Field Naval Air Station in Beeville. Mitchell's car reached a speed of 121 mph on his run.

Mariah Clark, 16, and Travis Mitchell, 18, both of Corpus Christi, talk in front of his NASCAR truck as they wait for Mitchell's turn to drive down the Texas Mile Saturday at Chase Field Naval Air Station in Beeville. Mitchell's car reached a speed of 121 mph on his run.

BEEVILLE - For the Texas Mile, Memorial Day weekend was the beginning of a new era.

Despite the move from the Goliad Industrial Airpark to the Chase Field Naval Air Station in Beeville, the event kept the same feel that attracted racers and spectators alike.

"They (city of Beeville) really became a partner with us, welcomed us and really took on the heart and the spirit of what the event was about," said Shannon Matus, the coordinator for the Texas Mile.

"It's been surreal," Matus said. "I'm humbled by it simply because our participants who really enjoy it and the people that come out and continue to enjoy it."

From it's inception until March, the Texas Mile was run at the Goliad Industrial Airpark, but the events future at that location became uncertain because of a legal conflict between Goliad County and the U.S. Navy.

Matus said it took about two months to make the move to Beeville possible.

Not only did the change in venue mean Texas Mile organizers had to adjust, but also a new track meant a new challenge for drivers.

Although a windy weekend meant drivers had to cut down on speed, the new track was a hit.

"I've heard a lot of great compliments in reference to what people feel about the facility and the track," Matus said.

Matus added that the May event with fewer spectators gives organizers a chance to adjust to the new facility before the next Texas Mile run in October.

Word of mouth and experience has helped the event grow as the Barten family found out.

Mark Barten, 56, attended the last Texas Mile and told his son Jordan, a 29-year-old Halliburton employee in Laredo, about the event.

Two months later, both father and son participated.

"It's a lot of adrenaline," Jordan said about his first run in an orange 2010 Camaro SS. "I've never really been at 160 mph before, but it was exciting,"

The elder Barten said that driving his Black 2008 Corvette ZO6 is a cure for the aches and pains that come with his age.

"When you start up there and you finish out there, you don't feel any of them," Mark said.

The move to Beeville also gives businesses an opportunity to develop brand recognition.

Nathan Alhades, an Austin-based distributor for Poly's Clear Tech System cleaners, used the Texas Mile as a means to expose people to the product three previous times.

Alhades said the move to a bigger facility is a win-win both the Texas Mile and Poly Clear.

"They will help spread the word beyond what it could have staying there, so it helps us grow," Alhades said.

Drivers don't win money for their posted speed, they get in their cars for bragging rights and for some it's the friendly environment stands out among the competition.

"It's cool," Jordan said. "Everyone cheers on everyone. They all want to see someone go fast."

The Texas Mile is now three times a year, and allows speed-racing enthusiasts gather to compete for the best in-class and high-speed land racing records.

Since it's inception in 2003, the Texas Mile has grown as people from all over North America flock to South Texas.


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