By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Tommy Best
BASTROP, Louisiana — It's no secret that leasing and promoting a race track these days, particularly in this pandemic-shortened 2020 season, is nothing short of a high-stress nightmare. Gone are the days when track operators simply posted their schedules and laughed all the way to the bank on Monday.
For 29-year-old track operator Dylan Scott, promoting a dirt track falls within his wheelhouse. The popular country music singer/songwriter operates Dirt On The Rev, a 3/8-mile oval in Monroe, La., not far from his hometown of Bastrop. Scott has totally rejuvenated the former paved oval in 2020.
“Nobody knew how this was going to work out,” Scott said. “The place had been sitting idle for the past seven years. Bringing in the dirt, putting it on top of concrete, it was a roll of the dice. We had high hopes for it, of course, but there were still a lot of unknown factors. It could have gone either way.”
The down-home singer and longtime race fan has a man he can trust at the helm on race day.
“Nick Brown, the partner I have in this whole deal, runs the show ever Saturday night,” Scott added. “He does the hard work while I promote the place. We're very proud and honored with the way things are going. The City of Monroe, all the fans and local drivers have supported us. I'm truly blessed.”
Scott leased the former Revolution Speed Park in early July of this year. As a 25-year fan of dirt track racing, he had the desire to see the sport prosper in his beloved home state. He felt that locals would respond by turning out to support the races in Monroe, and once they opened the gates, he was right.
This year's pandemic had varying effects on race tracks around the country, depending upon state and county regulations. For Scott and his Dirt on the Rev facility, it really wasn't that big of a setback.
“It actually helped the situation in my case,” Scott explained. “As a touring country music entertainer, this pandemic forced me off the road completely. That opened up my schedule this summer, which was a bonus. That allowed me to focus more on getting Dirt on the Rev up and running.”
What's almost ironic in this noteworthy successful effort is the fact their early plans were quite modest.
“This whole 'Dirt on the Rev' thing originally was just going to be two races; the first on Sept. 12 and the second on Sept. 18-19,” Scott said. “When the pandemic hit, I called Nick and told him we may as well put our dirt on there and get started now. So my free schedule allowed us to run all those races.”
Once we all move past this rather uncertain and often confusing period in time, Scott will return to his normal life of performing for his legion of fans across the country and recording music. He's been off the road since April, with plenty of home time to get caught up with family.
“The cool thing about what I do is the fact I get to choose when I go out to perform, or when I'm home with my family,” Scott said. “When we get going again next year, I'll hand-pick my tour dates and set aside the dates when I want to be back home and at the racetrack. I'm very lucky to have that option.”
When Scott's self-titled album came out in 2016, the song “My Girl” did extremely well on the country music charts. It thrust him onto the national stage, and changed his life forever. Yet this down-home country boy says he's still the same kid inside, loving a simple life with family and his racing friends.
“I'm honestly just a big fan of dirt track racing,” Scott explained. “I love it, and I love watching it. I really enjoyed the battle that BJ Robinson and Jon Mitchell had at our place the other night. I hope we have a few more exciting shows like that left in us during the balance of this season.”
Always one to look at his fan base and how to expand it, Scott feels the crossover between race fans and country music enthusiasts is significant. His popularity in music doesn't hurt the race track at all.
“I'm seeing exactly the same type of good folks at the track as I do at my shows,” Scott added. “If I play a show on a Friday or Saturday night, the people there know all about dirt track racing. What's cool about being a part of Dirt on the Rev is when people walk up to me and say they love my music.
“Some tell me they had no idea I was a dirt track fan. It just makes it cool to interact with race fans, to see them enjoying the races and get such great response from the community in general. I'm thrilled.”
Zach Clark handles the announcing duties for Scott at Dirt on the Rev, and says the place is special.
“I've been announcing races around the Ark-La-Tex region and beyond for 12 years, and the fans over there in Monroe have been the most fun to keep informed, maybe even the best fans out there. They're engaged into what's happening on-track, or anything else I may gear them towards.”
Clark is one of the sharpest announcers in the entire deep south. He is funny, quick-witted, and knows the sport better than most. Fans who attend Dirt on the Rev are fortunate to have him on the Mic.
“It really creates an electric atmosphere and a great overall experience,” Clark added. “It makes my job much more enjoyable. Those fans in Monroe are also very consistent. You can count on them. As for working with Dylan, he is about as down-home as they come. He's done such a great job at The Rev.
“I am surely proud and appreciative to be a small part of something that I love so dearly in my home state of Louisiana. I often tell folks I'm just an avid race fan armed with a microphone.”
As the 2020 season starts to wind down and points titles come into focus, Scott says fans can expect more of the same quality racing as they've witnessed all summer.
“We've got the open-wheel Modifieds coming in on Saturday, August 22,” he explained. “I just nailed down the ASCS Sprint Cars for September 5th as well. The last weekend for us will be Sept. 18-19 with a $3,000-to-win Super Late Model race on Friday night, and a $7,000-to-win A Main on Saturday.
“We'll also have a Factory Stock race and a Limited Modified race. So we're hoping for a strong close to what really has been an amazing season for us.”