Lightning strike cancels Cordova’s weekend

Bisci_SteveNichols_BruceLittonSteve Nichols (left) and Bruce Litton in Nostalgia Funny Car competition at the IHRA Nitro Jam earlier this month at the newly paved Cordova track. (John Bisci photo)

This has been a year full of challenges for the new management team led by General Manager Bobbi Jo Cox at Cordova International Raceway in Cordova, Ill. Mother Nature has shown her bad side almost every weekend since opening for the season. They started racing in April and have yet to get in a full weekend.

Mother Nature dealt Cordova another blow between Monday and Tuesday. The storms that crossed the Midwest that day definitely packed a punch with tornadoes, hail, strong winds, torrential rain and lightning.

“We were sitting in the office Monday afternoon when lightning struck right outside our window – it scared us so badly! The whole office turned blue,” said Office Manager, Brenda Stuart. “We had a feeling we weren’t going to be very lucky with that lightning.”

Along with losing some phone lines, electronic equipment and coolers, the entire racetrack timing system took a direct blow. Lightning struck the ground at CIR, where it continued through the timing system and entered the tower damaging several key components of the whole system.

“It was a gut-wrenching discovery,” Cox said, “all the time and effort we’ve put into this facility this year – to have the timing system taken out by lightning was the worst feeling.

“We consulted with JJ Koehler at FSS Inc, Rod Cady at Cady Electric and Bob Brockmeyer at Compulink to see if there was any way possible to fix the timing before this weekend, but there’s not. We finally have a good weekend weather-wise and we won’t even be able to race. We’re sorry to say that Cordova will not be open for racing on June 26-28. Friday Fun Night, Points Race #4, and the Battle of the High Schools have all been canceled for this weekend.”

While plans have been underway to install the fiber system in early August, the injured timing system created an opening sooner to replace the current timing system with the new fiber optic system this coming week. IRG staff, along with FSS, Compulink, and Cady Electric will begin the install over this weekend and complete it in time for racing on July 3.