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July 01, 2014 10:45 PM

Rebuilding Rapid Speedway

Sioux Falls, SD

Two weeks ago, heavy rain fell, the Rock River rose rapidly, and parts of Rapid Speedway were literally washed away.  Today, efforts to piece the track back together are well underway.

"It rose so quick, and there was so much debris floating in the river.  I mean, it was just knocking things down," Rapid Speedway promoter Derek Van Der Brink said.

The Rock River rose to levels not seen since 1993, and climbed multiple feet after surpassing the former record mark.  Suddenly, Rapid Speedway was submerged.

"A ton of water just came flying through this area, and then it filled up the track back here full of sand.  We've got that gone now, but there's still a pile of sand off turn three," Van Der Brink said.

Van Der Brink says they pumped five-thousand gallons of water per minute for two consecutive days, and estimates they emptied the track of five-million gallons of water.  Once the water was gone, the cleanup began.

"There was probably three-quarters of an inch of silt and mud in here.  So, that was a big job to clean up," Van Der Brink said.

The flood destroyed fences, washed away tractor tires, and ruined refrigerators and coolers stocked with food and beverage.

"We had to reorder all our food, all our beer, all our pop, and we've got to fix our coolers, yet," Van Der Brink said.

Over the past two weeks, hundred of volunteers have donated time, tools, and machinery, while area businesses have provided numerous items, including lumber, countertops, and file cabinets.

"All the damage that's here.  The fences, the boards, the concession stands, the refrigerators, the stove.  All that equipment.  If you can get a little bit of a break here and there...that keeps you going, too," Van Der Brink said.

The cleanup has been a massive undertaking, but the finish line is in sight.

"We'll come back.  We'll be just as strong as we were the first two nights, and we'll finish the year out good," Van Der Brink said.

Rapid Speedway will not be ready for racing on Independence Day, but they are planning to resume their regular race schedule on July 11th.

 

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