Nestled just outside the city limits of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, is what may be the most hidden gem that Arkansas Motorsports has to offer. And it’s waiting your arrival. Travel down Sulphur Springs road a few miles and then turn onto Huntley Trail road where without warning, you will arrive at none other than the Wild Man Race Track.
Wild Man Race Track is Arkansas most premier mud racing facility. It features a horseshoe style mud dragstrip, with lots of mud, turns, and deep holes of water that keeps the racing action close and exciting.
Wild Man Race Track is owned and operated by Eddie and Kristi Huntley and is currently in its seventh racing season. Kristi Huntley stated, “Our race track is permitted by the State of Arkansas through the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. We are permitted for one race per month from March until October. And we usually schedule those on the second Saturday of the month. Which helps with working with other tracks in Louisiana, and Mississippi.”
While talking with Eddie Huntley about the race track and how it got started, he becomes somewhat reserved and takes a few deep breaths and proceeds with the story. Several years ago he and his best friend W.W. Cummins had decided to build a mud racing truck. Tragically Cummins whose nickname was “Wildman” was killed on the eve of what would have been their first race.
“I went on to race the truck for a while. Then as a need for a mud racing track in Arkansas developed I decided to build one. And I decided to name the track in honor of my friend Wildman.”
“The competition here at Wild Man is some of the best in the south. It’s tough for me to do but the competition here is why I make the three and one half hour trip over here. The track here is very fast and is also very well run. “It gets very competitive out there on the track, just like last month. I was in a very close race and ended up rolling over in one of the turns. But that’s just part of the sport.” race at the speeds we are running.””
Arkansas Motorsports Magazine spoke with Wade Beck of Monticello, Arkansas, and a driver in the super modified division. Beck who started mud racing in 1980, has had a long and successful career in the sport. “It’s a great form of motorsports. It’s very competitive and entertaining for the fans. During my days of racing I’ve had at least twenty rollovers in my career. You never knows what going to happen during a race at the speeds we are running.”
Beck was driving a highly modified Ford race truck, named the Mud Duck, which is sponsored by Ryburn Ford of Monticello, Arkansas. The truck is powered by a 504 cubic inch big block Ford engine assembled by Wade Beck.
“I have the machine work done by someone else. But I do all the assembly on the engines myself. It’s just another form of the sport that I enjoy.”
Also while visiting through the pit area at Wildman Race Track, it was hard to pass up a visit with David Parr Sr., the owner of the super modified truck Stroker Ace. “I just love this sport,” said Parr. “Getting to compete with people like my good friend Wade Beck over there. That’s what it’s all about.”
Parr who has many stories about his career in the sport of mud racing, and he told Arkansas Motorsports Magazine about what got him started in the sport. “My wife told me one day that she wanted us to have a mud race truck.”
“Now being busy with business, I’ve owned the Bumper to Bumper auto parts store in McGhee, Arkansas for fifty years. I’m also the largest Wix filter dealer in the state.” An achievement in business that Parr takes great pride in.
“I didn’t get around to building the truck until after she passed away. It was something she wanted. So I took the time to build one. And it’s something me and my son David Jr have enjoyed doing together ever since.”
Wild Man Race track draws racers not only from Arkansas but from surrounding states as well. Racers like Justin Allard from Flora, Mississippi. Allard whose mud racing career expands over fifteen years, races a Chevrolet truck which is equipped for the sport. The truck is powered by a big block Chevrolet engine, and a specialty built two speed power glide transmission.
“The competition here at Wild Man is some of the best in the south. It’s tough for me to do but the competition here is why I make the three and one half hour trip over here. The track here is very fast, and is also very well run. “It gets very competitive out there one the track, just like last month. I was in a very close race and ended up rolling over in one of the turns. But that’s just part of the sport.”
And the racing isn’t just for the men either. At Wild Man you will find seventeen-year-old Gracie Duncan in action. Duncan who is from Rison, Arkansas and attends high school at Rison, is in her first season behind the wheel of a mud truck. Duncan said she started coming to the race sometime back, and thought it would be fun to try.r and the engines are evening louder. Often times contact between the two racing trucks is made as a result of hard racing. It’s not uncommon at this point for one of the contestants to get upside down. Then from the center of the turn off both trucks are digging for all the forward traction that can be found. Oftentimes both trucks are still sided by side as they start down the backstretch as they exit off the turn. It’s at this point the rpm’s of the engines once again climb to dangerous levels until the one of the trucks reaches the finish line. And when that race is over two more trucks are staged at the starting line and the excitement starts all over again.
Also at Wild Man you will find some racers like Andy Scott of Star City, Arkansas doing double driving duty in multiple classes. Scott drives one truck in the Stock class called the “Funky Monkey” and another truck in the Super Modified class called “Its Tricky.” “The thing about this type of racing is you never know what’s going to happen out there on the track during a race,” Scott said.
The other thing about Wild Man Race Track that is impressive is the community involvement away from the track. Their last race of the season which is on October 10th, 2020, is a race to support and bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness. Also recently the Huntley’s, staff, and racers at Wild Man Race Track raised money to show their appreciation to front-line employees of Jefferson County. By doing this, they provided gift cards to those employee’s redeemable at Sonic, Burger King, Little Ceasars, and Subway in recognition for what they do for the community.
“I talked to my dad about me going mud racing. He seemed to like the idea, so now I’m out here racing and he is teaching me. I have to be honest, I’m having a blast.”
Also competing that day was Glen Wright of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Wright who maybe young in age but while talking to him you find that he is very serious about his sport of mud racing. Wright was late getting to the track because he and his crew were busy that morning putting an engine in the truck for the race that day.
Wright who races at Wild Man Race Track, also does his share of traveling in the sport. Wright races at a lot of tracks across the southeast all the way to the state of Florida. As a matter of fact, Wright holds the record for the fastest pass with a small block engine in the state of Alabama.
“It been a lot of work on all of us. Between maintaining the truck and the traveling. But we enjoy the sport and right now I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. We do travel and race but the competition here at Wildman is pretty tough.”
The other thing about Wild Man Race Track that is impressive is the community involvement away from the track. Their last race of the season which is on October 10th, 2020, is a race to support and bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness. Also recently the Huntley’s, staff, and racers at Wild Man Race Track raised money to show their appreciation to front line employees of Jefferson County. By doing this, they provided gift cards to those employee’s redeemable at Sonic, Burger King, Little Ceasars, and Subway in recognition for what they do for the community.
All in all the staff of Arkansas Motorsports Magazine had a great time on our visit to Wild Man Race Track. We met a lot of great people, and took in some fantastic racing action. Just the kind of stuff that we want to be about. We recommend that if your schedule allows, take in their race on October 10th. If not, put a race or two of theirs on your 2021 racing schedule. We can promise that we are.