Two California short tracks back in biz: Two paved circle tracks in Southern California should be up and racing by spring, planning to cooperate in order to maximize the chances of success. Irwindale Speedway, now officially to be referred to as The Irwindale Event Center, had no races on its oval tracks in 2012 after the former track operators filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February. New operators 211 Entertainment Company were granted a full operational lease on Dec. 14 by property owners Nu-Way Industries. The speedway is all set, physically, to hold races again. Grandstands, garages, parking lots, lights and everything you need to race on the track's half- and third-mile circuits is still in place from the last time cars roared around the ovals in November 2011. Exactly which classes will run is one of the things being sorted out, but expect Late and Super Late model stock cars in addition to other classes "to be determined." The Late Models and Super Late Models will not run every Saturday night, as they had in the past. But there will be some kind of racing or entertainment at Irwindale every Saturday, including events at the facility's 1/8-mile drag strip, which never stopped featuring racing.
Irwindale stock cars will likely alternate Saturday nights with the other soon-to-be-opened half-mile paved oval in Southern California, Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield. Work originally got underway on the all-new Kern County Raceway Park's half-mile D-shaped paved oval in 2006, but the project foundered amid the housing bust. The unfinished track sat dormant for three years from 2007 to 2010 until a new set of investors took over. Now work is nearly finished on the 500-acre facility. The track is paved, and some cars have done test laps on it and the four-story hospitality tower will be done soon. The two facilities had the good sense to realize they were competing for the same racers, fans and sponsors and so they met to see what they could work out. That's where the alternate Saturdays idea came from.
“Our talks also included ideas for co-promotion and cross-promotions of special attractions and events, publishing a unified set of competition rules and classes, as well as considering the idea of establishing a highly trained stock car racing tech inspection team that would serve both tracks,” said Jim Cohan, president and CEO of Irwindale's Team 211 Entertainment. “…with the sort of teams that we have in place, and the sort of support we've been offered from our fans, sponsors, racers, suppliers, and even the sanctioning bodies, we know that we're teamed up and embarking on an exciting new era in motorsports entertainment. We want to invite everyone to come and join us."
While specifics are still to be announced, look for an early April or even late March opening date.(AutoWeek)(12-30-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing invests in auto research center: The opportunity to be part of the racetrack and automotive-research center being built on the site of Cooper Stadium [in Columbus, OH] was just too tempting for NASCAR team owner and driver Michael Waltrip to pass up. Waltrip announced that he and his racing team will be investors in the Sports Pavilion & Automotive Research Complex, or SPARC, being developed on the stadium site. "He had me from racetrack," the two-time Daytona 500 winner said of his initial discussions with Bill Schottenstein, principal of Arshot Investment Corp., developer of the complex. "Having my hands on designing and helping to build a racetrack is very exciting." Waltrip and Schottenstein both declined to say how much the team invested. The SPARC complex will include a half-mile racetrack with 8,500 seats, a 50,000-square-foot office building for the research center, 1,900 parking spaces, a hotel and meeting center, and four or five sites for restaurants or stores along Mound Street. It's unlikely, but possible an actual NASCAR race could take place at SPARC, Waltrip said. Waltrip Racing is based in Cornelius, N.C., and will use SPARC as a satellite operation and test center. Most tracks of the quality of SPARC, Waltrip said, are already connected to an existing NASCAR race, which means teams can't test their cars there. Cooper Stadium closed in 2008, and one of the goals of the new project is to spark the revitalization of the Franklinton area just west of Downtown.(Columbus Dispatch)(12-5-2012)
Another new track in 2013 - Greenville Pickens; possibly heat races? NASCAR tentatively plans to add Eldora Speedway in Ohio and Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina to the Truck Series schedule in 2013, NASCAR officials confirmed on Friday. The series is looking to move to Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina in 2014. NASCAR executive Steve O'Donnell said on Saturday that experts from the University of Nebraska that developed the SAFER barriers used at all tracks in the top three series are scheduled to visit Eldora Speedway after Thanksgiving. O'Donnell said that if plans to design a barrier that can be anchored to dirt is financially feasible for track owner Tony Stewart, the series will schedule a race at the half-mile track next season. It will be the first time NASCAR has scheduled a race on dirt since 1970. O'Donnell said Nebraska officials already have visited Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a half-mile paved track in South Carolina, and plans are moving forward to add barriers. O'Donnell also said NASCAR is considering heat races in the Truck Series, another way for the sport to get back to its roots. O'Donnell said the Truck schedule should be released in the next week or two.(ESPN.com.)(11-17-2012)
Battle underway to save Nazareth Speedway: All over the United States, you can find historic but shuttered tracks, locales which once hosted all-out assaults of speed and sound but now sit abandoned, often gone to seed. Each of these tracks has its own hardy band of defenders and advocates who hope they can entice racing to return. Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania never hosted a Sprint Cup-level race, but did host lower series races (and IndyCar races) until 2004. Familiar names like Matt Kenseth, Dan Wheldon, Helio Castroneves and Greg Biffle notched Nationwide wins there; Martin Truex Jr. won the last race there in May 2004. The track is owned by ISC, but its role in the Northeast has been usurped by fellow ISC track Watkins Glen. Shoot, even the grandstands from Nazareth Speedway were removed and shipped over to Watkins Glen. For more about the speedway preservation effort, visit their Facebook page.(Yahoo Sports)(7-25-2012)
Childress may buy Bowman Gray Stadium: Winston-Salem State University's effort to buy Bowman Gray Stadium from the city was snuffed out Thursday when state lawmakers killed the university's request for permission to borrow $7.5 million to buy the stadium. The legislative move – sponsored by Sen. Don East, R-Surry, and pushed by Winston-Salem entrepreneur Harold Day – opens the door wider to another potential bidder: Richard Childress, the NASCAR icon from Winston-Salem who sold peanuts as a child at Bowman Gray and started his racing career there in the 1950s. Bill Patterson, an executive vice president at Richard Childress Racing, met with Martha Wheelock, an assistant city manager, recently to talk about costs related to the stadium, he said. Bowman Gray has sentimental value for Childress. It's a landmark stock-car racing stadium and more could be done with it, Patterson said, though he declined to provide further information about what else could be done. "We do have an interest in it," he said.(full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(6-15-2012)
Nu-Way Industries back in control of Irwindale Speedway : The first hurdle for racing to return to Irwindale Speedway has been cleared. Track owner Nu-Way Industries, Inc. has regained control of the track, considered by many the best short track in America, after a decision in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Jason Rund, the Chapter 7 trustee for Irwindale Speedway, LLC, ended the 33-year lease late last week. That frees Nu-Way to determine what it will do with the property, which includes state-of-the-art half- and third-mile gradually banked ovals and an eighth-mile drag strip. The lease was to expire on July 9, 2029. L.A. Racing, which operates a racing school on the property and is not affiliated with Irwindale Speedway, LLC, has continued running its classes and programs since track general manager Bob DeFazio filed bankruptcy papers on Feb. 13. "We're just trying to feel our way through," Nu-Way's Jay Garrett said. "We weren't able to do too much because the property was tied up with the bankruptcy. We can go ahead now." Garrett said that the pair have received hundreds of phone calls from parties interested in buying the property or entering into a new lease. "(Racing) will take a little longer to get re-geared back up," Garrett said. "But there are a couple of leading candidates. We'll have to see what it has to take to put it together."(more info at the Pasadena Star News)(3-23-2012)
Daytona International Speedway to add short track races in 2013: There will be no gap in the 2013 Speedweeks stock-car schedule. Beginning next year, Daytona International Speedway's "dark days," or the Monday and Tuesday before the Daytona 500, will be filled with a mega national event on a short track carved from the backstretch area fronting the Lund Grandstands. "When I think about adding a short track event here, it's just an opportunity to connect with that local racer supporting NASCAR," Speedway president Joie Chitwood III said. "Thinking about them, getting the chance to run at the World Center of Racing, it felt like the right thing to do. Whether it's a hobby or profession, everybody should have the chance to race at Daytona." The lineup includes drivers from NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East and West; Whelen Modified Tour North and South; and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I, or weekly track. While all the details are not known -- the official announcement is Friday -- The News-Journal has learned Daytona will create a defined, 0.4-mile, flat oval using the newly paved racetrack and skid pad surfaces. Removable concrete barriers will be used to identify the short track course. The two-day racing program will run under the lights. Any K&N or Whelen race winner throughout the 2012 season will get an automatic ticket to Daytona's event. NASCAR's top 10 weekly track drivers (the Whelan All-American Series) will also get a Daytona invitation. In addition NASCAR champions from Canada, Mexico and Europe will receive invites to this inaugural short track competition.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-16-2012)
Irwindale group files for bankruptcy: Irwindale Speedway LLC, the management group that runs the track, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday, the same day track management canceled the 2012 racing season. In the paperwork filed at the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District, it shows that Irwindale Speedway LLC owes creditors $331,773.11. The largest amount is $150,000 owed on a personal-injury claim. Irwindale Speedway LLC owes Nu-Way Industries Inc., the company that owns the property where the track and offices are built, $55,000 in rent. Irwindale Speedway LLC has two more outstanding personal injury claims with unknown values. There is also a debt of $8,093.51 owed to the city of Irwindale Police Department, $16,379.58 owed to the Golden State Water Company and $1,437.50 owed to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune for advertising. Irwindale Speedway vice president and general manager Bob DeFazio did not return a phone message. There are four buildings on the Irwindale Speedway property owned by Nu-Way Industries valued at an estimated $31 million, according to documents obtained from the Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector.(full story at ESPN LA)(2-16-2012)
Irwindale Speedway closing? UPDATE: On Saturday, workers appeared to be closing down the Irwindale Speedway facility, which has had the biggest NASCAR short track races on the West Coast for more than a decade. Workers were dismantling the pit grandstand, which is adjacent to the first turn. They were also taking apart storage areas. The large billboard bordering the San Gabriel Valley River Freeway was not lit up for the first time in its history, barring power outages, and the track's web site was taken off the Internet. "They went out of business," said a prominent Irwindale racer who did not want to be identified. Vice president and general manager Bob DeFazio and some staff members were in the locked administration building Saturday morning, a moving truck backed up to the office's side entrance and a moving box stacked outside. DeFazio, through track operations director Bob Klein, refused to comment. Klein would only say an announcement would be made Monday. Efforts to reach DeFazio were unsuccessful. The track's eighth-mile facility remained intact on Saturday, but according to a source, workers were given a final paycheck after last Thursday's regular street legal session. The elimination of the pit grandstand is significant because teams usually put their crews in those seats so that if there is a problem on the track, they could quickly get to their pit stall and fix the car and get it racing again. L.A. Racing, a school not owned by Irwindale Speedway LLC, the consortium of owners led by Jim Williams, has 12 schools planned within the next month. "They have not said a word," L.A. Racing's Ozzie Blackwell said. "We have no idea. We're assuming it's a go. We've been told it's a go." If only the racing operation is closed, the track could still be used for filming commercials, movies and television shows, an endeavor that has been very successful. Many racing commercials, with the likes of 1969 Indianapolis 500 champion and 1978 Formula One champion Mario Andretti and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, have been shot at the facility. Recently a Hyundai commercial viewed during the Super Bowl was shot. That shoot took three nights. Rumors have swirled for months about new ownership. Lucas Oil Products and Tony Stewart, who owns tracks including famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, were rumored to be interested in buying the facility.(in part from the Los Angeles Daily News)(2-13-2012)
UPDATE: Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, once hailed as perhaps the best short track for minor-league NASCAR racing, said Monday it has canceled its 2012 season. Amid speculation that the half-mile speedway might be closed or sold in the face of dwindling crowds, its management issued a one-sentence statement announcing the cancellation and providing no other details. Track officials could not immediately be reached to elaborate, but the speedway's website also had been taken down.(Loa Angeles Times)(2-13-2013)
Nominations for Promoters of the Year: Readers of Racing Promotion Monthly this year selected three first-time and three repeat nominees as Regional Auto Racing Promoters of the Year. They came from among 87 different short tracks in 33 states receiving votes. The nominees’ experience ranges from six years to over 30 years. For the first time in the history of the award, all the regional nominees operate dirt tracks. One is affiliated with UMP for weekly racing, one with ASA, one with IMCA, one with WISSOTA, and two operate independently. All the nominated tracks are 1/3-mile or shorter.
The nominees are: Region One, the Eastern Region, Andrew Harpell, Five-Mile Point (NY) Speedway; Region Two, the Southeastern Region, James “Redd” Griffin, Screven (GA) Motor Speedway; Region Three, the Central Region, Bob Sargent, Macon (IL) and Paducah (KY) Speedways; Region Four, the Northern Region, Wayne Anderson, Don & Linus Mack, and Darren Evavold, River Cities (ND) Speedway; Region Five, the Great Plains Region, Roger Hadan, Eagle (NE) Raceway; and the Rocky Mountain West Region, Steve Beitler, Skagit (WA) Speedway. Harpell received his third consecutive nomination, and Sargent his second, following a Prior 2002 nomination and Beitler his second nomination. The Griffin, Hadan, and the Grand Forks quartet are first time nominees. The Auto Racing Promoter of the Year ballot will soon reach promoters. The Thirty-Sixth ARPY will be revealed during the Thirty-Ninth Annual RPM Speedweek National Workshop at the Plaza Resort & Spa, Daytona Beach, FL; February 20, 2012.
The Auto Racing Promoter of the Year is short track racing’s most prestigious award. It is awarded each year after voting by promoters. The award was originated in 1976 by the editors of Racing Promotion Monthly. Voting is conducted in two phases: a preliminary ballot in the newsletter nominates candidates in six regions. The six candidates become Regional Promoters of the Year and then appear on a second ballot for final voting. The Queensland family, Deer Creek (MN) Speedway, received the award last year.(Racing Promotion Monthly)(1-2-2012)
Crawford takes reigns at Mobile International Speedway: UPDATE more info: NASCAR driver Rick Crawford has entered into a multi-year agreement to manage and promote Mobile International Speedway. Crawford's career began at MIS racing for owner's Lee and Ida Fields and has now come full circle with his return to the Speedway. "I am truly humbled that Ida Fields has chosen me to takeover her and Lee's baby. Growing up, I thought winning at Daytona was just a dream and that dream came true, today another dream has become a reality," said Crawford. "We've got a lot of work to do and I hope our fans and our racers will be patient with us as we get started." Ida Fields added the following: "I had a great partner in Lee and we were able to build the track into something special. I see a lot of Lee in Rick and Lee would be so proud that Rick has come back to Mobile International Speedway." Crawford's management team is in place as of today and are in the process of preparing for the Speedway's Annual Swap Meet this Saturday [March 19th] as well as the Miller Lite Super Late Model series season opener on March 26th. Known as the fastest half mile in Alabama, Mobile International Speedway hosts racing every other Saturday night. Six different classes of cars compete at MIS; Island Motors II Bombers, Bob's Speed Shop Sportsman, Praytor Realty Super Stocks, Alabama Pipe and Supply Modifieds, Midwest Cooling Towers Pro-Late Models and Miller Lite Super Late Models. The Winged Sprint cars are set to make a special appearance on July 9th. Rick Crawford Performance, L.L.C. is based out of Concord, North Carolina Rick Crawford Performance provides promotions, entertainment and racing performance consulting services from local racing to NASCAR. Currently, Rick Crawford Performance has an ARCA team, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in it's North Carolina facility.(Rick Crawford Performance PR)(3-15-2011)
UPDATE: Formal announcement was made at a luncheon at a local Mobile, Alabama restaurant today. Mobile International Speedway, has now become a Rick Crawford Performance Track. Crawford has a three-year agreement to run the Speedway, with an option for three more years, with the track's owner, Ida Fields. Crawford said that he would like to see Mobile International Speedway become a "full-blown entertainment facility" with outdoor summer concerts, defensive driving classes for kids and eventually something along the lines of the "Snowball Derby" at Mobile International Speedway. Crawford also said that he's not done racing yet; and hopes to run a few more truck races this year. He would like to run Talladega, possibly others if able to pick up a ride in a good truck. Crawford ended his remarks by saying that he's driven race cars all over the United States, but is glad to call Mobile home.(3-15-2011)
Tax-cut legislation includes benefits for NASCAR Tracks: A host of industries, from Caribbean distilleries to Hollywood producers, would gain billions in tax breaks and other subsidies under compromise tax-cut legislation now moving its way through Congress. The $858 billion package approved by the Senate is focused primarily on continuing the Bush administration tax cuts for two years, extending unemployment benefits and other large-scale expenditures. But buried inside the legislation are more than $55 billion in other giveaways and tax reductions for some of Washington's most influential industry groups. Owners of NASCAR tracks and other motor-sports facilities would benefit from two more years of a tax policy making it cheaper for them to fund capital projects. Estimated cost to taxpayers: $40 million. The motor-sports provision stems from an ongoing dispute between racetrack owners and the Internal Revenue Service, which concluded that racing facilities should be subject to longer depreciation schedules - thus decreasing tax benefits for owners. The motor-sports industry, including the popular NASCAR series, argues that a shorter, seven-year depreciation schedule used by amusement parks and similar facilities should apply instead. Congress has periodically approved the accelerated depreciation schedule since 2004; the tax-cuts bill would extend the provision again through 2011. The main beneficiaries of the provision would be large track owners such as International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports. But other racing organizations also support the change. "For us to be able to run our events at the track, you have to have quality facilities," said Ramsey Poston, managing director of corporate communications at NASCAR. "Being able to provide the track owners the opportunity to invest more in their tracks and make them better and safer is important for us and our fans."(in part from the Washingtom Post)(12-18-2010)
Racers Reunion – Occoneechee – Orange Speedway: On Friday and Saturday August 27th and 28th – The Historic Speedway Group will host the Fourth Annual Celebration of the Automobile Car Show & Racers Reunion. The Occoneechee-Orange Speedway is the only surviving dirt race track from NASCAR's inaugural season in 1948. Racers Reunion will feature guest appearances by prominent NASCAR drivers and Car Owners as well as celebrities of the racing fraternity. including:
*Cotton Owens – “King of the Modifieds” - famed racing driver and car owner of Junior Johnson, David Pearson – Grand National Championship, 1966
*Hoss Ellington – famous NASCAR racer & team owner (Donnie Allison & A.J. Foyt)
*Rex White – NASCAR Champion, 1960, Most popular Driver & Driver of the year (1960) and winner, Dixie 400 in 1962 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
*Marvin Panch – Superspeedway Winner, Daytona 500, Atlanta 500 & World 600 (Charlotte)
The history of the Occoneechee Speedway will be the primary focus on the event, and all in attendance will be invited to walk the historic .9 mile dirt track and ramble through miles of forested trails along the Eno River. Restoration of the Occoneechee-Orange Speedway includes a recently rebuilt Ticket Office that now houses a valuable collection of historic racing memorabilia. The Mens and Ladies Out Houses, the Flag Stand and a freshly refubished Concession Stand-Press Box provide glimpses of the historic racing era that brought NASCAR to life.
All events taking place during the Racers Reunion will be free and open to the general public - beginning with the Friday night Cruise-In with a Twist at the Shops at Daniel Boone, South Churton Street, Hillsborough. The two day event will be held at the Historic Occoneechee-Orange Speedway, Elizabeth Brady Road/Highway 70-A, Hillsborough, NC. More info at Historic Speedway Group.(8-26-2010)
California tragedies highlight dangers of racing: Safety concerns for both drivers and fans are swirling in California after two tragic accidents over the weekend that killed the driver of a racing big rig and eight spectators of an off-road race in the desert. In Marysville, about 40 miles north of Sacramento, Merle Shepard, the 56-year-old driver of a racing big rig, was killed when he overturned after becoming tangled with another truck. Shepard’s truck had no roll cage, and questions remained whether there should have been one. The racetrack announced it would cancel the rest of its racing season, which was to continue through Oct. 23. A message on the raceway's Facebook page Sunday said that due to the accident, "the track is closed for the rest of 2010." Earlier Sunday, race promoters Paul and Kathy Hawes said the racetrack would permanently close after 46 years. The Haweses said they made their decision to close the track after consulting with track owner Richard Sinnott. However, when reached later in the day Sunday, Sinnott would neither confirm nor deny the course's permanent shutdown.
AND At the California 200 off-road competition in Lucerne Valley, San Bernardino County, an off-road racing pickup went out of control coming off a jump and plowed into a crowd of spectators, killing eight people and injuring 12 others. On Saturday, when 28-year-old Brett M. Sloppy lost control of a modified Ford Ranger during the annual California 200 in Lucerne Valley, near Los Angeles. No barricades separate the track from spectators in the Mojave Desert race track, and the races there are infamous for fans’ ability to get so close to the action that you can literally reach out and touch the trucks as they race by. The California Highway Patrol estimates, Sloppy – who isn’t expected to face any charges in the incident – was going about 45 to 50 miles per hour when he flipped into the crowd.(in part from abcactionnews.com and Appeal-Democrat)(8-17-2010)
Lakewood Speedway Reunion: The third annual Lakewood Speedway Reunion, coming up Saturday, August 7th at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, located in the Dawsonville Municipal Complex at 415 HWY 53 E in Dawsonville, Georgia. This year, we plan to honor the Flock Brothers of NASCAR fame, Tim, Bob and Fonty, who were among the winningest drivers of record at Lakewood. Along with the three brothers, we plan to honor the other members of the Flock family that made them a unique group in the annals of Georgia Auto Racing. We're also anticipating a big turnout from the motorcycle community, as several former two-wheel racers have said they plan to come out to the event this year for the first time as we also prepare to induct our first champion motorcycle racer, Ted Edwards, into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in October. We're also planning to have a host of vintage dirt track racing motorcycles on hand to pay homage to the two-wheeled history that was written at Lakewood, along with all the four wheel history there.(Georgia Racing Hall of Fame)(7-29-2010)
Kansas race track celebrates 100 years: On July 4, 1910, three cars entered the first auto race held in Belleville, Kan. Auto racing was a relatively new sporting event in 1910, as was the automobile. Those three cars and their drivers that day were part of a much larger sporting contingency … horse racing. The only documentation that has been located about that first auto race in Belleville is buried in a newspaper story featuring the horse racing of July 4, 1910. The Belleville High Banks [a half mile circle dirt track] will hold the Belleville 100 in honor of the race that took place 100 years ago. More info at belleville100.com.(6-29-2010)
Jeff Gordon part of Ohio track plan: Jeff Gordon's name is being linked to a project to turn an old Ohio baseball stadium into a race track, Gordon's stepfather, John Bickford, who's also the vice president and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., says Gordon would help design the half-mile track at Cooper Stadium in Columbus, OH. Bickford says the project also could include a school for mechanics school and auto technology center similar to one Gordon is involved with in Charlotte, N.C. The developer says Gordon's company would become a partner in the track, which still requires several approvals. Bickford came to Columbus yesterday to meet with community leaders and residents and gauge their interest. Some residents have been concerned that the track would be too noisy. Gordon's involvement brings credibility to a project that's been discussed for almost two years, said officials who attended the meeting at Cooper Stadium. Gordon is involved in the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology at Central Piedmont Community College in suburban Charlotte, N.C. A similar program could be created at the Cooper Stadium track, dubbed Cooper Park, Bickford said. Bickford said there's been no decision on whether Gordon's company would directly invest in the track.(Columbus Dispatch)(1-30-2010)
Former Orange Speedway site could become highway: The N.C. Department of Transportation is considering a new road that would bisect the Occoneechee-Orange Speedway, NASCAR's third-ever dirt track. Built in 1948, it's now a natural area that attracts runners, dog-walkers, wild turkeys and dozens of racing preservationists. "This is sacred ground," said Apex resident and racer Gene Hobby, 72, touring the speedway on Wednesday. "DOT better not come through here."
Crossing the track is one of three DOT alternatives for routing traffic from N.C. 86 around downtown Hillsborough. All start near its junction with U.S. 70A and run north to U.S. 70 near St.Mary's Road. Boards oppose options The speedway route would also pass within 100 feet of the historic house at Ayr Mount, a plantation that turns 200 years old in 2015. Another route would knock out about 20 homes, and the third would pave Poplar Ridge overlooking the Eno River. The Hillsborough Town Board and the Orange County Board of Commissioners have opposed all three options. The boards prefer other means of relieving congestion along N.C. 86, the town's main north-south corridor, which passes directly through the quaint downtown. Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens calls DOT's alternatives "20th-century solutions for a 21st-century problem."
He wants to improve public transit and create multiple routes around downtown with minor realignments of existing roads. "They've got 100 ways to go around town without coming through here," Hobby said of the speedway. Vince Rhea, a DOT project planning engineer, said the Federal Highway Administration and the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office will scrutinize the speedway crossing because of its impact on the national landmarks. "If you've got another alternative that's feasible and prudent, you're going to have a hard time going through a protected property," he said. "They're not likely to do that." Rhea said the DOT and other state and federal agencies will decide by the end of March whether to proceed with the bypass. Construction would be unlikely to start for at least five years, he said.
Hobby and his partners in the Historic Speedway Group have spent the past two years restoring the track. They've cleared trees that had overgrown the dirt track and rebuilt the ticket booth, flag stand and corrugated metal fence around the grounds. Craig, now the group's president, figures they've spent about $70,000 and thousands of volunteer hours on the project. The Orange Speedway is one of three auto race tracks on the National Register of Historic Places. The others are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.(News and Observer)(12-28-2009)
National Speedway Directory Co-Founder Retires: Frost Motorsports, LLC, a financial advisory firm for the motorsports industry, has acquired “National Speedway Directory” from Allan E. Brown. The deal includes Speedwaysonline.com and “The History of America’s Speedways.” Allan E. Brown will remain as a consultant to the publication. He has been associated with National Speedway Directory for over 30 years. Widely recognized as an authoritarian on the history of auto racing, Allan E. Brown has visited over 2,000 auto racing facilities. He has received the RPM Promoters Workshops prestigious “Stew Reamer Award” for lifetime service to the weekly auto racing industry. Frost Motorsports, LLC President Timothy W. Frost said, “National Speedway Directory is a highly respected publication. It is considered as the authoritative source for racing facility information. We are excited to continue the tradition, while exploring opportunities for growth.” National Speedway Directory is an information source for the motorsports industry. It prints listings of oval tracks, dragstrips, road courses, sanctions, publications, museums and race schedules. National Speedway Directory has been published annually since 1975.(PR)(12-16-2009)
U.S. House Votes to Extend NASCAR Track Tax Breaks: Extending temporary tax breaks has become nearly routine for Congress, but pressure is building to review the provisions and perhaps send some to the trash heap. A tax break for NASCAR racetrack facilities has been singled out as suspect by some Democrats on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. "I questioned it. I have not seen its usefulness," said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D., N.J.). "I thought this would be a good example to get to the bigger question of do these things work anymore?" The NASCAR break, estimated to cost $45 million to extend for one year, is included in the bill passed by the House on Wednesday. It is important to race complex operators including Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. The provision allows a quicker, seven-year depreciation schedule for new construction and improvements to racetracks, grandstands, parking lots and other parts of track facilities. It was first enacted in 2004 tax legislation, after track operators argued they deserved similar depreciation treatment as theme-park rides and equipment, rather than the longer amortization periods used by operators of sports stadiums.(Wall Street Journal)(12-14-2009)
Bobby Hamilton Jr. buys race track: Nationwide driver and former Sprint Cup Series driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr. took over Highland Rim Speedway in Greenbrier TN on Wednesday, December 2nd. Hamilton immediately announced that the 2010 season will get underway on March 13th, with a complete schedule to be released soon. Hamilton also stated that he intends to refurbish the aging facility. Hitting the ground running, Hamilton announced 2010 rules meetings beginning Monday, December 7th. Fairgrounds Speedway competitors, now without a home, are invited to attend and race at Highland Rim. Highland Rim Speedway is a 1/3 mile high banked paved oval.(Middle Tennessee Racing Scene)(12-5-2009)
Bruton to build race tracks in the Mid East? Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., is in negotiations to build three race tracks in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar. It is not clear yet if Smith and SMI would assist in ownership and/or operation of the facilities, or simply construct them and hand over the keys to the Emir of Qatar and his royal family, but Smith said Friday that he hopes to have all the details worked out soon, perhaps within another week. Smith said he was approached about construction of the tracks by the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani -- and not the other way around. The Emir was in the international news recently for reportedly offering 400 million euros to purchase the former Elysee Palace Hotel in Paris. The Emir is said to be a great fan of all forms of auto racing, and several of his representatives met late last week with Smith and his associates to put the finishing touches on an agreement to have SMI build the three tracks in Qatar. That didn't quite come to pass, but Smith said the two parties are moving closer toward finalizing everything so construction can begin. Smith said the preliminary plan is to have each track seat no more than 40,000 and that he has been informed the Emir has a unique plan in mind for filling them.(NASCAR.com)(11-7-2009)
Scott Wimmer to purchase speedway: NASCAR driver and Wausau native Scott Wimmer along with Wausau area land developed Ron Wimmer announced their purchase of State Park Speedway. The Speedway, located in the Town of Rib Mountain, just outside of Wausau, WI was put up for sale at the end of the 2009 race season. “State Park Speedway has always been special to me,” says Scott Wimmer, “It’s where I got my start in racing, so to be able to keep SPS as a racetrack and support the racing community that supported me is pretty exciting.” More info at asamidwesttour.com.(11-7-2009)
- Eleven people hurt at race track UPDATE: At least three people were critically injured and eight others were taken to hospitals after two buses crashed into a wall in front of the grandstand at the Columbus Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The crash occurred at about 10:35 p.m. during a Crash-A-Rama event. Witnesses said that it did not seem that the buses were traveling fast at the time of the crash.
Firefighters said six of the injured were transported to Nationwide Children's Hospital, while three others were sent to Mount Carmel West Hospital. Two others were taken to Grant Medical Center. The occurred a little over a month after a platform collapsed at the speedway, injuring six people. The extent of injuries to those who were critically hurt was not immediately known. See more at wbns10tv.com and Columbus Dispatch.(5-24-2009)
UPDATE: SPEEDtv's Ray Dunlap drove the lead bus, before getting rammed by the other driver and is OK with no injuries.
AND A co-owner of the Columbus Motor Speedway said he is optimistic that the track will reopen for this weekend's races after a crash injured 12 spectators Saturday night. The wreck left a 5-foot-wide hole in a 4-foot-high concrete restraining wall ringing the speedway. Jeff Nuckles said he hoped a repair crew would fix it this week, in time for the track to host its normal Saturday night stock car races. Two school buses were racing as part of a "Crash-A-Rama" at the speedway in Obetz when one hit the other and both crashed into the wall in front of a grandstand. Flying chunks of the wall hit spectators, although most of the people injured were actually leaning on a fence in front of or at the side of the grandstand, Hamilton Township Fire Chief Jerry Lupfer said. There is a gap of several feet between the wall and the fence. A separate fence rises above the wall to protect spectators from debris flying from the track. Ten of the 12 injured spectators were taken to local hospitals with mostly minor injuries. Six were children. Two people were taken to Grant Medical Center as possible serious trauma cases, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Lupfer said. None of the spectators' names or conditions was available yesterday.(Columbus Dispatch.(5-25-2009)
- Evernham's Track debuts with Full House/Field: A record crowd packed East Lincoln Speedway Saturday night for the grand opening of the newly revamped 3/8 mile clay oval. RE Driver's MeetingUnder the new ownership of veteran NASCAR crew chief and team owner Ray Evernham along with his business partner Bob Mack, a capacity crowd flooded the facility to see the many upgrades and improvements made to the 20-year-old speedway. East Lincoln Victory LaneEast Lincoln Speedway will be back in action this Saturday night April 11 with a full racing program. East Lincoln Speedway is located at 1873 Mariposa Rd in Stanley, NC.(PR)(4-8-2009)
- ServiceMaster Clean Inks Deal with ISC & SMI Race Tracks: ServiceMaster Clean announced that it has signed a unique partnership agreement to be the first-ever official sponsor of the caution period during races at International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (SMI) race tracks across the nation. When there is a problem on the track, the ServiceMaster Clean Yellow Flag will wave, and the company’s familiar yellow trucks will be dispatched to clean the track. In racing, a yellow flag means cleaning. Restoration must be done quickly and professionally in order to get back to racing. In homes and businesses across North America, a yellow ServiceMaster Clean van means cleaning and restoration is being done quickly and professionally by America’s number one cleaning team. ServiceMaster Clean will have official and exclusive sponsorship of the Yellow Flag– now to be known as ServiceMaster Clean Caution periods – at all 19 ISC and SMI race tracks around the country. These racetracks feature 31 Sprint Cup, 24 Nationwide and 17 Camping World Truck Series races and hundreds of other racing events. In fact, there will hardly be a race for the next five years where ServiceMaster Clean does not have a large presence. All cleaning and drying vehicles and equipment will feature the ServiceMaster Clean logo and colors, and the clean-up teams will wear bright yellow ServiceMaster Clean jumpsuits. The multi-year agreement is not limited to what happens on the track, but also includes national coverage on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Performance Racing Network (PRN), hospitality events for franchise owners, the right to create and sell promotional merchandise and a host of other marketing opportunities designed to generate consistent visibility.(C4 Explosive Communications PR)(1-16-2009)
- Demolition begins at Birmingham International Raceway: The wrecking ball from Brasfield and Gorrie took a few swings -- mostly for the gathered crowd of city officials and others -- but the massive concrete structure that makes up the grandtsands at Birmingham International Raceway wasn't about to yield easily. When demolition of one of the oldest race tracks in America is complete, the new $55 million Fair Park project will include a natatorium with an Olympic-sized pool and an indoor track arena that will allow state high schools to once again hold indoor track competition. Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford took the controls of the crane briefly but didn't make much of a dent in the structure.(Alabama Live)(1-31-2009)
- Tucson Raceway Park in trouble: The operator of Tucson Raceway Park has pulled out of his agreement with the Southwestern Fair Commission, putting in doubt the future of stock-car racing at the 3/8-mile track southeast of Tucson. The fair commission and the leaseholder, Deery Sports West, are looking for a new operator and said they are optimistic they can find someone before the season starts in March. They said a number of groups have expressed interest in running the track, but they were not ready to name names and no deal is imminent. The track, which is owned by Pima County and leased along with the Pima County Fairgrounds to the Southwestern Fair Commission, is the only paved short track in Arizona. The fair commission leases the track to Deery Sports West, which ran the track for several years before subleasing it yet again to Innovative Racing LLC 2 1/2 years ago. It is Innovative Racing that has pulled out of the agreement, saying it can no longer operate the track. Deery Sports remains the primary leaseholder, but the family that runs it now is based in Illinois, running tracks there. Southwest Fair Commission Executive Director Jon Baker said Deery needs to either run the track or find someone to run it. "We do not intend to shut it down," Baker said.(Arizona Star)(1-4-2009)
- Elliott's brother named GM of speedway: Peachstate Speedway in Jefferson, Georgia was renamed Gresham Motorsports Park. Racetrack owners Jim Gresham, Dan Elliott of the famous Elliott family of Dawsonville, Georgia, has been named the General Manager of Gresham Motorsports Park. "We plan to do an Extreme Makeover Race Track Edition" Elliott said in a brief interview. He has been in racing almost all of his life, from short tracks to NASCAR, and he plans to use every resource available to make this the best racetrack in the country. "This track once hosted some of the most famous drivers that ever raced and if anyone can do that again I want to be the man to do it and I want this to be the track where new talent is discovered. I am excited and proud to be a part of the new Gresham Motorsports Park and highly praise the Greshams and Gene Roberts for this awesome opportunity." For further information see www.greshammotorsportspark.com.(Gresham Motorsports Park)(1-1-2009)
- New Smyrna track to get busy, not Disney and Texas World Speedway?: last week NASCAR banned testing at its sanctioned tracks, providing a small, silver lining to short tracks that can host NASCAR test sessions. As for Central Florida short tracks, New Smyrna Speedway is in position to gain the most. Orlando Speedworld, at 3/8 of a mile, is much too small to be useful for testing. The mile-long tri-oval at Disney World is the right size, but its surface makes it unlike any NASCAR track. Darrell Fry, sports media director for Walt Disney World, said they have neither received nor expect any requests from NASCAR teams.(Orlando Sentinel)
TEXAS? but what about Texas World Speedway a two mile "D" shaped oval with 22 degree banking turns with 8 degree banking in the front of the grandstands, it is still in operation.(11-22-2008)
- Trenton Speedway to be remembered: Trenton International Speedway which was located on the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds in the capital city and closed in 1980 will again be in the spotlight as one of the key attractions of the weekend of the Motorsports 2009 Race Car & Trade Show at the Atlantic City, NJ Convention Center, January 16 & 17th. “In my younger years I spent a lot of time at the speedway. My family operated the souvenir concession,” said Motorsports 2009 produced Len Sammons. “It is a shame that there has been little or nothing done to remember what a great speedway it was. We are going to try to change that with our trip down ‘memory lane’ at our show.” For the Motorsports 2009 weekend, many of the race cars that were seen in action at Trenton International Speedway will be on view. And, plans are in the works to have a number of the drivers and team members who participated there at the show to meet the fans. Originally a dirt oval, Trenton became a one-mile paved track in the mid-fifties. By the 1970s, until its final race, Trenton Speedway was a peanut shaped one and one-half mile track. Overall, it produced some exciting racing events throughout the years. Notable organizations such as NASCAR, USAC, ARDC and URC sanctioned the events. The final race run at Trenton was for the asphalt Modified stock cars, in June, 1980. That scheduled 134-lap event, which was called official after 79 circuits due to rain, was won by Geoff Bodine. The fairgrounds and speedway location has since been turned into an industrial complex and is also the site of the New Jersey Sculpture Gardens and the very classy Ratz Restaurant. The Motorsports 2009 Race Car & Trade Show will fill close to 300,000 square feet of the Atlantic City Convention Center and will offer just about everything imaginable in motorsports. Attendees will have the opportunity to collect autographs from a variety of national and regional racing figures. And as Motorsports 2009 takes place during the day on January 16th and 17th, the Gamblers Classic Indoor Auto Races will be take place at night at Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk Hall. Information on both events can be had at www.aarn.com. Ticket information is also available at the site or by telephoning (609) 888-3618.(AutoRacing1)(11-22-2008)
- Roush: No plans to build test track: Back in the day, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush had contemplated building his own test track. On Saturday, the day after NASCAR had announced that it was banning all testing on the tracks it sanctions, Roush was asked if he had revived the idea. “I have neither the money nor the inclination to build a test track,” Roush said. Roush also said he has no intention of circumventing NASCAR’s ban. “If we could organize a situation where all the established teams could hold hands and resolve not to test outside of the NASCAR mandated or approved testing, not go to the skid pads, not go to Canada, not go to Pikes Peak or any of the places they are checking on,” he said, “I’d be happier with that than to skirt around.” Roush said, however, that if other teams started skirting, he would be forced to as well.(Kansas City Star)(11-20-2008)
- Wall Turkey Derby XXXV on for Nov. 28-29: There will be a Turkey Derby XXXV at Wall Township Speedway Nov. 28-29. WTS's General Partners have made a agreement with its Operations Manager, Jim Morton, to reopen the 57-year-old banked paved one-third-mile oval for aa many as six dates in November. The first three dates are for practice sessions leading up to the post-Thanksgiving Day classic with Nov. 30 set aside as a rain date. Turkey Derby XXXV format, racing divisions and other details are to be posted on www.wallspeedway.com Sept. 7. The agreement allows a modified stock car racing tradition that Thomas and Jeannie Nicol started in 1974. Some of the best modified stock car drivers in the country have since competed against the local NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stars on the banked paved one-third mile oval. Turkey Derby XXXV is the first event on 'Big Wall' since Turkey Derby XXXIV was held Nov. 23-24, 2007. Justin Gumley, of Colts Neck, was crowned WAAS Turkey Derby Champion while James Civali, of Meridan, Conn. won the 100-lap Open Modified race. Details on wallspeedway.com.(PR)(10-4-2008)
- Bailout bill gives tax break to Racetracks: A tax break for NASCAR racetracks and other motor-sports facilities is among the "sweeteners" tucked inside a 450-page financial-services bailout bill to make the package more palatable to lawmakers. The Senate-passed bill includes an array of so-called "tax extenders." One extends for two years a tax policy that had been allowed to expire in December that lets motor-sports facilities be treated the same as amusement parks and other entertainment complexes for tax purposes. That allowed them to write off their capital investments over a seven-year period. The motor sports industry feared that without a specific legal clarification, motor sports facilities would be required to depreciate their capital over 15 years or longer because of a recent Internal Revenue Service inquiry into the matter. That would make repaved tracks and new concession stands more expensive in the short term. It isn't a new tax break, rather the way tax law historically has been interpreted, said Lauri Wilks, the vice president of communications for Speedway Motorsports, which owns the NASCAR tracks in Fort Worth, Texas; Sonoma, Calif.; Concord, N.C.; and elsewhere. "It gives us incentive to go ahead and invest in our facilities," she said. Wilks said she couldn't put a price tag on the measure because track owners would pay the same amount, just over a longer period. "Whether you pay all up front or depreciate them over time, the cash outlay is the same," she said.
A bill to extend the tax treatment had been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and co-sponsored by a number of North Carolina members including Reps. Robin Hayes, a Republican, and Melvin Watt, a Democrat. Thompson and Hayes voted against the original bank bailout bill Monday, which didn't include the tax extenders added by the Senate and passed Wednesday. Neither has said how he'll vote when the House takes up the new bill. In the Senate, the motor sports provision was sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Some watchdog groups oppose loading up the bill with unrelated items. "Unfortunately, it took a legitimately historic piece of legislation that lawmakers on principle could vote for or against it, and they just loaded it up with business as usual, a huge tax package not related at all to the bailout, and crammed it over to the House," said Steve Ellis, the vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan budget watchdog group. "And it's going to be interesting to see whether this turns any votes or not."(McClatchy Newspapers)(10-3-2008)
- USA Speedway in Lakeland to close: USA International Speedway in Lakeland, the largest and one of the better known short tracks in Florida, will close after Saturday night’s Florida Triple Crown race and be torn down. The site of the ¾-mile speedway will be converted into an industrial park. It opened in 1995 and hosted races for ARCA, ASA and the Hooters Pro Cup Series. It also was the site of testing by NASCAR teams throughout the years including those of two-time champion Tony Stewart, 2000 champion Bobby Labonte and Daytona Beach’s Mark Martin.(Florida Today)(7-31-2008)
- New Jersey Track Closes: Speculation that Wall Township Speedway would not open this season are fact, not fiction, a fax from managing partner Timothy H. Shinn of Manasquan said on Friday. Shinn's signature represented the four partners who own the speedways — Fred Archer, Joseph Sanzari and the Creamer brothers (Fletch, Glenn and Dale). "It is with an extremely heavy heart that I must, at this time, formally announce the closing of our beloved Wall Township Speedway, formerly known to the vast majority of us as Wall Stadium," the release said.(Asbury Park Press), the track held on Cup race back on July 26, 1958, won by Jim Reed.(Racing Reference)(3-15-2008)
More Misc Tracks News
Carolina Motorsports Park
- Carolina Motorsports Park back in biz: Carolina Motorsports Park is back better than ever after a brief period of closing its doors to undergo extensive improvements and track renovations, offering motorsports enthusiasts much to be excited about. The new management team, with their extensive expertise in racing, added alternate turn configurations, built twenty four day garages, added a 200 ft. x 50 ft. wet/dry skid pad, and repaved most of the corners, offering increased speeds, reduced tire wear, and better grip. And this is just the beginning of what is to be a multi-phase track overhaul.
Revisions have been made to turns 12, 13 & 14. Turns 12 and 13 now offer alternate configurations as well as increased speeds. Turn 14 has been permanently changed. The apex curbing has been removed and 16 ft. of pavement has been added to the inside of the corner, making it approximately 5 MPH faster. Most turns have been newly repaved. The previously sand paddock roads are also now paved. The new 200 ft wet/dry skidpad allows drivers to learn crucial car control skills in a safe controlled environment. The day garages guarantee guests the luxury of reserved spacious parking as well as their own paddock area with exclusive electrical access and shelter from the weather.
In addition to the physical renovations and additions being done, on January 1st CMP officially launched The Palmetto Motorsports Club. The club has been created to offer affordable and easy track access to anyone with a passion for speed. Novice drivers/riders will find the advice and instruction they want from a staff of professional drivers, while experienced drivers can test and tune.
Located just an hour from Charlotte in Kershaw, S.C., Carolina Motorsports Park is the only purpose-built road racing facility in the Carolinas. Sanctioned by The Sports Car Club of America and designed by famed track designer, Alan Wilson, the track offers a challenging 2.23 mile, 14-turn road course. It was built in 1999 by a small group of investors, led by driving enthusiasts Joe Hooker and Bob Humphreys. Teams competing in NASCAR, Champ Car, American Le Mans Series, Grand AM, Koni Challenge and World Challenge also utilize the track for testing. For more information and pictures about Carolina Motorsports Parks' expansion and The Palmetto Motorsports Club please go to www.carolinamotorsportspark.com.(3-1-2008)
- Greenville Track: Located about seven miles from Kershaw, the Carolina Motorsports Park is home to a 2.3-mile, 14-turn road course. Virtually unknown outside the auto racing industry, CMP is a privately owned motorsports facility that serves as both playground and profit center. NASCAR teams test at the track just as they rent Greenville-Pickens Speedway for short-track tests, they use CMP for preparation of their road-course cars(Greenville News)(6-1-2000)
- A South Carolina group will build and operate a motorsports complex in Kershaw, S.C., with a 2.5-mile road racing course at its core. The track will feature courses ranging from 1 mile to 2.5 miles and is designed to accommodate various kinds of cars and motorcycles for competition. Called Carolina Motorsports Park, construction on the complex is scheduled to begin later this month and the track is scheduled to open next spring. Its estimate cost is $1.5 million. Reservations for 1999 dates are now being accepted. Those interested can find out more by writing track manager Mickey Clyburn, Carolina Motorsports Park, P.O. Box 366, Kershaw, S.C., 29067. Or you can call (803) 475-2448.(Thatsracin)(10-4-1998)
Dale Jr's name off race track project: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s name has been dropped from the planned $640 million motorsports park off Interstate 65 in Prichard, whose investors now plan to use a new 5-cent sales tax to help develop the complex, according to investors in the project. "Dale is focusing on racing, and his sponsor demands have gone up incredibly," Bill Futterer of PSE-3 and Futterer Partners said Tuesday evening. Futterer's Raleigh, N.C., marketing firm is working on what had been called Alabama Motorsports Park, A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway. "We have agreed not to extend his personal services agreement," Futterer said. Also gone are agreements with Earnhardt's sister, Kelly Earnhardt Elledge, and his race-driver brother, Kerry Earnhardt, Futterer said. He added, "we're not upset, and they are not angry." An effort Tuesday evening to reach Earnhardt through his Hendrick Motorsports race team was unsuccessful. Gulf Coast Entertainment, the group of 30 or so investors in the project, want a name that will fit what they see as a total entertainment complex, not just a race venue, he said. The project includes three tracks — a seven-tenths-mile oval with 75,000 seats, a karting track, and a road course — plus an RV park and basic infrastructure at the 2,400-acre site along Ala. 158. But developers envision their project as a draw for hotels, entertainment and retail venues that others will develop on the property. When fully built out, developers estimate the complex could create 4,800 jobs.(Alabama Live)(8-13-2009)
- Dover Motorsports sells Memphis Motorsports Park: Dover Motorsports announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Memphis Motorsports Park to Gulf Coast Entertainment, L.L.C. Under the terms of the agreement, Dover Motorsports will sell all of the stock of its subsidiary Memphis International Motorsports Corporation, the owner of Memphis Motorsports Park, to Gulf Coast Entertainment for $10 million in cash. Gulf Coast Entertainment is the owner of a newly proposed multi-use entertainment complex in Mobile, AL which is projected to be operational in 2011. As additional consideration for the purchase, Dover Motorsports will receive a two percent non-dilutable interest in Gulf Coast Entertainment and will have an agreement to provide motorsports management services to Alabama Motorsports Park [A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway] when the facilities become operational. Closing is expected to take place on or about April 30, 2009 and is subject to financing and customary closing conditions. Memphis Motorsports Park does not contemplate any schedule changes in 2009 and will continue to host events in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. It will continue operations under the ownership of Gulf Coast Entertainment, but will operate under a management agreement with Dover Motorsports. In connection with securing NASCAR's approval of the transaction, Dover Motorsports is expected to guarantee the obligations of Memphis Motorsports Park under its sanction agreements with NASCAR for the 2009 season.(Dover Motorsports PR)(1-30-2009)
- Earnhardt Picks Location for Alabama Track: Gulf Coast Entertainment, L.L.C. announced Mobile County as the future home of Alabama Motorsports Park, A Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Speedway. The investor group controls approximately 3,000 acres in Mobile County, much of it located in the city of Prichard near Saraland and Chickasaw. The entertainment complex is planned to house four racing venues, retail shopping, hotels, restaurants, an RV resort, and other venues such as music theaters. The investors plan to open the complex for racing in the fall of 2009 and to be fully operational in 2010. (Alabama Motorsports Park PR)(12-15-2006)
- Alabama Track Complex Bears Name of Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Gulf Coast Entertainment announced plans to construct a major motorsports and entertainment park in southern Alabama. The investor group has narrowed its site choices to a location
in Mobile County in the area across from the University of Mobile and two potential sites in adjacent Baldwin County--one on the Foley Beach Express and the other in central Baldwin County. The project - which is to include an asphalt speedway, a road course, a
drag strip and a dirt track - will be named "Alabama Motorsports Park, A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway." Joining the motorsports star and a diverse group of investors from various southern states in participation in the project are Kelley Earnhardt Elledge and Kerry Earnhardt, marking the siblings' first professional collaboration. "Our family business is racing and it's been our business for three generations," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. "Kelley, Kerry and I want to continue the family business with hopes that the next generation of Earnhardts will want to be involved in the sport. This new venture with the Alabama Motorsports Park provides yet another avenue in which the Earnhardt family can participate. The site plan developed by HOK Sport of Kansas City includes parking, a
significant RV resort, multiple music theaters and an arena and reserves land for commercial, residential and light industrial activities. The schedule calls for the project to be completed in the fall of 2009. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has provided input on the lighted, 75,000-seat,
7/10-mile oval. Features will include pedestrian/vehicle tunnels and banking and multiple grooves to promote close racing with extensive passing opportunities. Kerry Earnhardt has provided input on both the track and on a freshwater lake that investors believe will attract national fishing events. The 3.5-mile road course will feature two distinct but connected segments to enhance testing on the track. The 1/4-mile drag strip and 3/8-mile dirt track will be designed to attract national events. The park's website, alabamamotorsportspark.com, will provide future project and construction updates.(PSE-3 PR)(9-12-2006)
- Dale Jr. to buy track with Schrader? UPDATE Official: A Kenny Schrader/Dale Earnhardt Junior owned Paducah Raceway would certainly focus a lot of attention on the area racing scene. Not only for PIR, but for Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway as well. Both run dirt track races and would be in direct competition. Eddie Jarvis, Tony Stewart's manager, says Kenny Schrader approached Stewart to purchase the Raceway. Stewart declined and Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed interest. "Dale Jr went out this morning before he left town. Hopefully he'll own something around here and that he'll have a chance to come back to Paducah quite a bit," Jarvis said.(News Channel 6)(10-7-2005)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Ken Schrader along with well known Midwestern promoter Bob Sargent are now the proud owners of Paducah International Raceway. The trio recently finalized their purchase of the popular McCracken County, KY, venue that boasts a 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval, 1/5-mile race track and a Motocross/TT run with grandstands that accommodate 5,000 spectators. In addition to PIR, Schrader is the co-owner of another dirt track - I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO. Located off of I-24 in Paducah, the track hosts the most popular touring sanctions from the AMA motorcycles to various 700+ horsepower super late model series. Paducah International Raceway will also host prominent special events including the Tri-Track Challenge, U.M.P. Summernationals and the track's annual banner event - "The Wayne Coakley/Bob Memmer Memorial 'World 50'". Racing action will take place at PIR every Friday night during a seven-month season from March through September and will feature U.M.P. Super Late Models, U.M.P. Modifieds, Crate Late Models and Pure Street Stocks. Additional divisions including quads, 4-cylinder hornets and mini-sprints will also compete on a limited schedule.(Paducah International Raceway site)(11-28-2005)
- More Mass. Track News: More than 2,000 people crowded the Southwick-Tolland Regional High School gymnasium Thursday for a sometimes heated meeting with the principal partners of the proposed Motorsports USA race track complex to be built on 230 acres of land near the Southwick-Westfield border.(National Speed Sports News)(7-25-2000)
- Massachusetts Racetrack: A new NASCAR quality raceway, replacing the one that closed at Agawam's Riverside Park last year, may be coming to Western Massachusetts. An informational hearing has been scheduled for July 20 at the Southwick-Tolland Regional High School. Promoters of a Motorplex Entertainment Center will outline plans then. In addition to Southwick, Hebert said promoters are looking at a site in Connecticut, between Hartford and Springfield along the Interstate-91 corridor. The motorplex will consist of a high-banked Ð-mile track and a 2-mile road course(Union News)(6-29-2000)
see my Minnesota Proposed Tracks page
- Memphis not threatened: The proposed $100 million Tunica Speedway [in Mississippi] has stirred excitement about a possible NASCAR race in the Mid-South, but with key races under contract for the next few years, officials at Memphis Motorsports Park don't feel threatened. Zoning for the proposed racetrack in Tunica was approved Dec. 8, but that doesn't give Tunica any pull with NASCAR to look at the site for a future Nextel Cup event. "They may build a track in Tunica, but that doesn't make it a NASCAR track; it's a motorsports facility," says Rob Stallins, director of media relations for Memphis Motorsports Park. The Memphis park hosts two NASCAR events a year, a NASCAR truck series race and the Busch Series Sam's Town 250, which are two of its biggest draws. The park also hosts the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals event for the NHRA, which draws 70,000-80,000 people over the course of four days. All of these events have been staples of the park and are under contract until at least 2005. NASCAR spokesman Andrew Giangola says NASCAR has not been involved in discussions with any developers about adding races in Tunica.(Memphis Business Journal)(1-6-2004)
- No Mississippi Track? A confidential Tunica County [Mississippi] planner's memo made public Thursday says developers of a proposed NASCAR race track need a more suitable site. Tunica County officials turned over the document two weeks after it was first requested by The Commercial Appeal, but after the county's planning commission voted unanimously Dec. 8 to recommend rezoning the land to accommodate the project. Gary M. Copeland, director of the county's office of planning and development, said Thursday that the critical memorandum, drafted by former planner Greg Hurley, was never given to planning commission members. Tunica Motorsports Inc., a Tennessee corporation created in May by Memphis attorney James O. Lockard, plans a one-mile paved oval race track, a two-mile road course, a drag strip, grandstands eventually accommodating 120,000 spectators, lakes, an RV park and commercial, high-rise residential and hospitality areas 1.6 miles north of the town of Tunica and several miles south of the casinos. Tunica Motorsports Inc. has an option to purchase the property, which is owned by the M.O. Carter Trust, according to the company's rezoning application. Lockard said he hadn't seen the memo, but disagreed that the proposed site for the racetrack was inappropriate. The Tunica County Board of Supervisors has scheduled a Dec. 31 public hearing to discuss the project. In the undated memo, Hurley points out that the 536-acre tract is not in the "resort" district set aside for outdoor recreation and other tourist-oriented land uses within the county's comprehensive land use plan. The six-page memo also points out that the application doesn't address the potential cost to the county for adequate fire protection, police services, water and sewer needs. Residents of the nearby Hambrick subdivision have raised noise and health issues at recent planning commission meetings. Perhaps the most significant finding in the memo is a potential safety concern about a natural gas pipeline that crosses the property.(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(12-20-2003)
- More on the proposed Miss. track: A proposed $100 million motorsports complex in Tunica County [Mississippi] could be built even without the promise of landing one of NASCAR's premier events, a Nextel Cup Series race. Memphis attorney Jim Lockard, president of Tunica Motorsports Inc., said NASCAR doesn't guarantee events to proposed tracks, "and that's something we all have to accept." But, he added, "With the facility we're building, it would be very surprising if we couldn't attract those type of events." Plans call for a concert venue that could seat 60,000 or more. "Its success is not going to totally rely on the exact nature of the race we get," he said. From a racing standpoint, a Nextel Cup event would be the ultimate coup for the planned one-mile oval with initial seating for up to 60,000 and eventual expansion to 150,000. The project faces many hurdles, from financial demands to the need for a zoning change on the proposed 536-acre site, on U.S. 61 about seven miles south of the casinos. But the biggest challenge may be landing a Nextel Cup event. Attempts to reach NASCAR officials Thursday were unsuccessful. However, there's a lack of event availability, and steep competition - if one were to become available - from the Memphis Motorsports Park, which already is host to lower-level NASCAR events, and from the much larger markets that NASCAR is thought to crave. "I don't want to appear like you can't get one of these superevents," said Don Naman, Alabama-based consultant for Tunica Motorsports, "but there'd have to be some dramatic changes on the scene before that would happen." Naman, former track manager at Talladega Superspeedway, and Lockard both said they considered the Memphis Motorsports Park to represent a separate market. The Memphis track is under contract for NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series events through 2006. Jason Rittenberry, MMP vice president and general manager, said his track's existing NASCAR races and NASCAR-connected owner Dover Motorsports made it more likely than Tunica County to land a Nextel Cup event. He said MMP could expand seating at its 3/4-mile oval from the current 35,000 to about 100,000. But Rittenberry said the odds could be long for either Mid-South track, given NASCAR's desire to move into New York and other major markets. The Tunica track saga continues Monday, when the Tunica County Planning Commission is scheduled to consider a zoning change for the track site.(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(12-8-2003)
- Track in Mississippi? If developers get their way, NASCAR racing could be headed to the Mid-South in a couple of years. Plans call for a race track to be built in Tunica County [MS]. But there could be some track troubles as residents wonder how the track would affect them. A race track would give the folks at the Visitors' bureau something to talk about. Right now it's slot machines that spin in Tunica County, but soon it could be race cars taking a spin around what's being called the race track of the future. The plans are ambitious, a NASCAR worthy, state of the art race track that would start out with minor races then move into the big leagues. Developers based in Memphis want to build the track on 550 acres in Tunica County between New Highway 61 and the future Interstate 69. Proposals say at least twenty races a year could bring in tens of million of dollars and more than a hundred jobs. Folks who live near the land like the money and the jobs but wonder what else a track could bring. Those who back the track say it's already being talked about in racing circles and a contract has been signed with the International Hot Rod Association. If built, project backers say the track would have the latest in noise reduction and safety features for drivers and spectators also it would feature fiber optic video and audio and would also be billed as an entertainment venue for concerts.(WMCTV)(11-21-2003)
- Plans for indy-style track west of Albuquerque have stalled over questions about water supply and the impact of race fans traveling on INTERSTATE 40. The first phase of the proposed N.M. Motor Speedway calls for 1.25 mile track, seating for 50,000, and parking for 17,000 cars.(8-29-1997)
see my New Orleans Proposed Tracks page
see my North Wilkesboro Speedway page
- Oklahoma Track? UPDATE: The U.S. Probation Office in Jackson, Miss., has initiated parole revocation proceedings against the promoter of a multimillion-dollar motor raceway and entertainment complex in Craig County. Charles D. Kelley of Wagoner, who has been promoting the supposed $730 million project west of Vinita, has been ordered to appear Thursday at an initial revocation hearing in U.S. District Court in Jackson. Kelley represents World Racing Association, headquartered in Wagoner. See the complete story at: Race backer may lose parole. For more info on the track project, see worldracingonline.com -- more info from Speedwords: Over the last year or so SPEEDWORDS has heard about a spectacular racing development reputed to include a 1 1/2 mile NASCAR style oval, a road course, a 1/2 mile dirt oval and a 1/4 mile covered drag strip. Sound impossible? Maybe not impossible but certainly expensive, reportedly around $730 million bucks. The complex was to be constructed not far from Vinita, Oklahoma. A few months ago I had a phone conversation with a representative of the World Racing Association that promised to keep me informed of all developments, except apparently this one. Charles D. Kelley, who has been promoting project, has been ordered to appear Thursday at an initial probation revocation hearing in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Mississippi. Kelley has been on three years probation (scheduled to end in late March) for a felony conviction on two counts of wire fraud in an U.S. District Court. Kelley was previously convicted of fraudulently obtaining money for a charity, obtaining money under false pretences and bail jumping in Oklahoma(Speedwords)(3-17-1999)
OLDER MISC NEWS
- Dolphin Stadium executives are interested in luring ROC to U.S.: [Miami] Dolphin Stadium executives are interested in luring Race of Champions to the United States. "When I went to [work for] Dolphin Stadium and the Miami Dolphins, part of my marching orders is to bring new events to the stadium," said Terry Bassett, Miami Dolphins vice president of business development and former executive at International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 tracks on which the Nextel Cup Series competes. "We did a big renovation, about $350 million, to our building and … how are you going to fill it up? "Anticipating the Marlins not being there when they get their new building, when you're dark, you need to fill it with dates. This is a perfect event: big names, international scope. We believe because of our South Florida location, proximity to Central America and South America, we've got a location not many places in the U.S. can compete with." If this were to come to fruition, it would mark the first time ROC was held outside of Europe. Among the past locations are Paris, the Canary Islands, Madrid, Barcelona, Nurburgring and Monthlery. This was London's first time hosting the event. Johnnson said the current contract with Wembley Stadium is a one-year deal with "options in our favor for 2008 and/or 2009." He said the event is likely to return to Wembley next year. After that, it's anybody's ball game. Event founder Fredrik Johnnson said there are some seven or eight renowned venues worldwide in contention to secure the event in the future, Miami being one of them. Johnnson said ROC officials chose Wembley in 2007 over other venues such as Berlin's Olympic Stadium, which hosted the FIFA World Cup soccer final in 2006, and Dolphin Stadium, home to last season's Super Bowl. Along with those two venues, Beijing's Olympic Stadium, home to the 2008 Olympic Games, and Stade de France in Paris, where the event was run from 2004 to 2006, are interested in hosting ROC in the future. Bassett and the Dolphins want a piece of that dream. Bassett has American racing ties. He once worked for NASCAR and IRL team owner Roger Penske, helping manage Penske's former ring of oval racetracks in Brooklyn, Mich.; Rockingham, N.C.; Fontana, Calif.; and Nazareth, Pa. When Penske sold those tracks to International Speedway Corp., Bassett went with them to ISC. He said he'd love to re-enter the racing realm by securing ROC for Dolphin Stadium. The event has drawn more than 50,000 fans every time out, Johnnson said, and has drawn as many as 62,500.(see full story at ESPN.com)(12-20-2007)
- City approves NC track: on August 9th the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Town of Spencer, NC, unanimously approved High Rock Raceway’s Conditional Use Permit to operate a Country Club Racetrack, as well as all of the requested variances. For most of the four hour session, the five person Board, led by T. Jefferson Morris, meticulously laid out, agreed on and approved “findings of fact” that supported approval of the Permit. The Board on several occasions made note of the overwhelming public support that had been demonstrated for the project. An initial release of fifty individual memberships is being offered at $25,000.00 each. Members will have the exclusive use of the entire 2.15 mile road course on sixty pre-scheduled dates throughout the year. This membership is perpetual, meaning that it does not expire.(High Rock Raceway PR)(8-12-2007)
- Lowe's to be the primary building material supplier for High Rock Raceway: High Rock Raceway announced that Lowe's will be the primary building material supplier for High Rock Raceway. High Rock Raceway which is a $30 Million dollar motorsport road course will purchase material from Lowe's product vendors and raw materials to construct the 126 "Race Condo" units and other support buildings on its 2.2 mile course which is set to open in February 2008.(PR) More info at racehighrock.com.(5-19-2007)
- New road course track planned in NC: High Rock Raceway is being developed on a 200+ Acre Parcel a 2.25 mile world-class road racing track and 120 trackside garage/ town home condominiums (“Race Condos”). Because these will be town home units, Race Condo owners will own the land beneath their Race Condo. The property is located adjacent to Interstate 85, approximately forty minutes drive north of Charlotte, NC and forty minutes drive south of Greensboro, NC. The track will be forty feet in width with a 2,400+ foot front straight, a 1,600+ foot back straight and a 10+ acre paved paddock. Throughout the twelve-turn course there will be ten separate rolling changes in elevation of between thirty and sixty feet. The Race Condos will be 1,400+ square feet on two floors. Condo owners can keep their performance vehicles in their own garage and enjoy exclusive access to the track on sixty pre-scheduled dates each race season. More info at racehighrock.com.(4-4-2007)
- NASCAR looking at Missouri to build track? While researching ideas on what draws people to the region, we [Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Staff] ran across several folks talking about a possible future attraction. Word is NASCAR has been shopping around for land in southwest Missouri to build a new racetrack. Sources in McDonald County have confirmed this and even said NASCAR has identified about 1,200 acres of property near Anderson, Mo., a few miles north of the state line. There is a caution flag, though. The land includes about eight separate farms and not all of the farmers are on the same track. In fact, we’ve been told there are a few not willing to sell, regardless of the price. Calls to NASCAR, based in Daytona, Fla., were not returned, but it sounds like this deal has a roadblock or two to get through before it reaches the finish line.(Northwest Arkansas Business Journal), if this is for a NASCAR track, it would have to be for a short track and not for Truck, Busch or Cup Series as Anderson, MO is within 2-3 hours of Kansas Speedway.(3-3-2007)
- Texas World Speedway for sale: Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas has been listed for sale, for $10.5 million. According to real estate listings, the speedway cost over $17 million to build in 1969 and sits on 563 acres of land. The listing follows the death of TWS Managing Partner Dick Conole on January 3.(roadracingworld.com)(2-3-2007)
- Stewart, Schrader and Kenny Wallace buy into Macon track: One of the oldest race tracks in Illinois gets new life with new owners. Macon Speedway revealed the new ownership team Sunday as part of the Racing Expo at the State Fairgrounds. Past track owner-operator Macon's Bob Sargent and NASCAR stars Tony Stewart, Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader make up the team.
Racing on the dirt track ended ahead of schedule last season because of financial hard times. The track was built back in 1946 in Macon.(wandtv.com)(1-22-2007)
- Shower Power: Maui Shower Co. has made its Bristol debut, at Farmer Bob’s Campground off Tenn. Highway 394. The colorful trailer holds 11 shower “pods” that can accommodate up to 1,000 showers a day. “It’s a state-of-the-art, premier, multishower unit,” said Pamela Withage, who is running Maui Shower with her husband, Mike. Each private pod consists of a stainless steel shower — cleaned with hospital sanitizer after every use — and a changing area. Maui Shower’s generator is continuously running so hot water is always available. Towels can be purchased for $4 each, soap and shampoo for $1. The showers operate on tokens, bought at the trailer, that are worth $1 each. It costs two tokens to start a shower and one for each additional minute. Withage said she encourages patrons to buy $20 worth, since most people don’t know how long it will take them to shower and leftover tokens can be used any time. This is Maui Shower’s fourth stop since inception — the first three were at races and a “bike week” in Florida. Withage said they are following the NASCAR circuit, and have about 28 weeks booked this year. The company tries to set up at multiple-day events that draw no less than 5,000 people.(Johnson City Press)(4-2-2005)
- Senate Passes Corporate Tax Bill, NASCAR Tracks Included: The Senate passed a far-reaching, $136 billion corporate tax package Monday that cuts taxes for businesses ranging from film companies to bow and arrow makers while closing tax loopholes and bringing U.S. exporters in line with international trade rules. The corporate tax bill grew out of the need for Congress to respond to a World Trade Organization (news - web sites) ruling that a $5 billion annual subsidy for U.S. exporters was illegal. As a result, 1,600 American exports to Europe are being hit by penalty tariffs that now stand at 12 percent and are rising by one percentage point a month. The bill became the vehicle for the most significant overhaul of corporate tax law in nearly two decades. It includes $76.5 billion in new tax relief for the manufacturing sector, which was broadly defined to include oil and gas producers, architectural and engineering firms and film and music companies. The package also provides benefits for a wide range of groups, from native Alaskan whalers, importers of Chinese ceiling fans, NASCAR race track owners [note: or any race track owner] and residents of states without state income taxes, who would be able to deduct state and local sales taxes from their federal tax returns. The measure includes a $10.1 billion buyout for tobacco farmers. Several senators from both parties objected strenuously that the final version of the bill drops Senate-approved language that would give the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) the power to regulate tobacco.(Yahoo News)(10-12-2004)
- Dedication of Augusta International Raceway: On Saturday, September 11th, a Memorial Dedication remembering the Augusta International Raceway, was held at the Diamond Lakes Regional Park in Augusta, Ga. What was unusual about this Memorial is that it honors a track that has been closed for over 40 years. Augusta International Raceway was a three mile road course that opened in November of 1963. The first race was a 510 mile NASCAR event that was won by Fireball Roberts. The last races at A.I.R. were held on March1st of 1964 and were USRRC sports car races and won by Dave MacDonald and Ken Miles In an eerie twist of fate all three drivers would lose their lives in racing accidents within the next two years. Two drivers that participated in those events, 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White and Ted Tidwell were present at the dedication and were awarded plaques to commemorate the occasion.(Georgia Drag Racing News with links to photos of the event)(9-15-2004)
- The 'Gate' being used in Victory Lane UPDATE 2 - No More Gate: many readers noticed the while 'gate or fence' Winston Cup Officials held above Jeff Gordon so he couldn't get on the roof of the car in the winners circle/victory lane. On CNN/SI's NASCAR Plus, Benny Parsons was asked about the 'gate' and said he wasn't sure why, but that it was probably to keep the driver off the top of the car so a proper insepction could be done. Last year at California, the #12 Team was penalized for having a car that was too low and it was caused by Mayfield jumping on the roof of the car, denting the spot that the inspectors measure. Otherwise have seen nothing official on the reason for the gate(10-2-2001)
UPDATE: sources have confirmed that NASCAR doesnt want the drivers on the roof tops after the race for saftey and technical reasons(10-3/8-2001)
UPDATE 2: Benny Parsons confirmed on CNN/SI's NASCAR Plus that NASCAR took so much heat from everyone about the PVC Pipe fence they decided not to use it anymore. Ironic they stop using it and the #8 is too low, the thing they were trying to avoid, but Earnhardt Jr did not get on top of the car, so it is a moot point, but the 'gate' is gone(10-23-2001)
- Aircraft Ban at Stadiums UPDATE: Effective as of noon yesterday (9-20-01) the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has banned all aircraft from flying within 3 miles of major professional and college sporting events and any other large open air gathering. This protected "no-fly zone'' extends up to an altitude of 3,000 feet above such facilities, which by definition, include race tracks. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown, said the regulation applies to all types of aircraft including small planes, blimps, balloons and gliders. "We issued this to cover everything,'' Brown said. ``It's a blanket order so that it would include a state fair, a high school football game.'' This ban could change how we view races on TV if the helicopter that relays in-car camera signals would be out of effective signal range above the 3000-foot ceiling or prevented from remaining in the air space at that height by conflicts with scheduled air traffic. It appears blimps will also be prevented from providing their normal overhead views as well. Radio traffic between NASCAR, teams, track officials, spotters and drivers is direct and will not be impacted.(Speedway Illustrated)(9-21-2001)
UPDATE: Dover Track president Denis McGlynn said a no-fly zone will be in effect for today's race, no aircraft within 3,000 feet or three miles laterally, but said NBC's in-car camera relays should be fine as long as its helicopter stays at least 3,000 feet above the speedway(AJC)(9-23-2001)