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Miscellaneous / Other Race Track News

  • Mansfield track returns to dirt and an old/new name: The long history of racing in Mansfield Ohio is deep, rich and dates back to 1959 when the original track (Mansfield Raceway) first opened as a 3/8 mile dirt track. It was converted to an asphalt track in 1999, renamed (Mansfield Motorsports Speedway) and has remained asphalt ever since. The speedway saw its pinnacle moments from 2004-2008 where it held NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events and drew standing room only crowds of over 20,000 in attendance (was known as Mansfield Motorsports Park 2007 until 2010 and Spitzer Motor Speedway since 2015). Although there has been many ups and downs at the facility, different promoters, different names and major changes, no group has ever transformed the venue back to its original roots as a dirt track racing facility...until now. Mansfield Motor Speedway announced it will be transforming the .44 Mile oval into a full blown dirt racing track and will host some of the biggest short track events across the country, amongst other entertainment for the Mid-Ohio region. In 2013, local business man Grant Milliron bought the race track in hopes of allowing it to become what it once was, a motorsports fan destination, local economic powerhouse and for the hope to live up to the name it created "The Racing Capitol of Ohio". Since 2013, the speedway has tried several different routes, of which have not been able to stabilize themselves into long-term success stories. Mansfield Motor Speedway will transform to dirt with many changes and upgrades and open in the spring. Sommer has agreed to terms with the speedway's owner Grant Milliron for a 3 year deal, which includes a purchase option of the Mansfield Ohio property.(more info at mansfieldmotorspeedway.com)(1-7-2017)

  • NASCAR returning to Memphis: NASCAR will resurrect its relationship with Memphis International Raceway in 2017 as the NASCAR K&N Series has confirmed a date to run at the famed -mile tri-oval short track on June 3, 2017. The monumental announcement brings a NASCAR sanctioned event back to MIR after an eight-year absence from the Mid-South region. NASCAR and MIR have a storied history that dates back to September 1998 when the facility hosted its first-ever NASCAR event. A sold-out crowd and a national television audience, witnessed the NASCAR Truck Series Memphis 200 on that day. NASCAR returned every year since the inaugural event with two races-the Truck Series in the summer, and the Xfinity Series in the fall. Brad Keselowski won the October 24, 2009 event at the oval by holding off Kyle Busch to the finish line on the 11th and final annual racing event at MIR. Former owners, Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced the closure of the Memphis track, a week after that race. IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE), a TPG Specialty Lending company, purchased the track formerly named Memphis Motorsports Park in 2010 and has been running a full-time schedule at its championship drag strip throughout the reopening of the facility. The tri-oval has hosted various sanctioned events on a limited basis since it reopened and is home to the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. With the return of NASCAR to MIR, the facility will undergo some minor renovations and safety updates to prepare for the NASCAR K&N Series debut in 2017.(Memphis International Raceway)(12-20-2016)

  • Dover Motorsports announces agreement to sell Nashville Superspeedway: Dover Motorsports announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Nashville Superspeedway facility to an entity owned by Panattoni Development Company, an international commercial real estate development company specializing in industrial, office and build-to-suit projects. Under the terms of the agreement, Dover Motorsports and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nashville Speedway U.S.A., Inc., will sell the Nashville Superspeedway facility along with some related equipment and assets for $27.5 million in cash and the assumption by the purchaser of obligations of Dover Motorsports under certain Variable Rate Tax Exempt Infrastructure Revenue Bonds. Closing is subject to customary due diligence and closing conditions, including zoning approvals, and is anticipated to take place in the first quarter of 2017. (Dover International Speedway)(8-25-2016)

  • Nazareth Speedway sold: For more than a decade, the Nazareth Speedway has set idle. But around town, people still remember this was the place to be in its glory days. "We used to go to the races there and see Mario Andretti," Bob Kline remembers. The big names rolling down the track, boasted big speed. But the engines were silenced in 2004, when the track closed. Since then, there have been reports here and there that something was in the works, but nothing ever came of it - until now. Jaindl Real Estate has purchased the land and developer David Jaindl says his company will farm the agricultural lands around the speedway this Spring. It's not clear their plans for the actual track, but some say they'd just like to see something done with it. Time will tell what the new owner does, but people have already been waiting a dozen years. "It's been so long that it hasn't been in use," Kline says. They might be willing to wait a little more, to see if the road for this speedway will ever re-open again, or if it'll be done away with completely - and mark the true finish line for the old track.(WFMZ)(4-8-2016)

  • Gary Baker says Nashville Superspeedway could be saved: Gary Baker, one-time operator of some of NASCAR's most successful racetracks, says Nashville Superspeedway could be revived and turned into a successful venue - and he might be interested in doing it himself. "If someone wanted to call and discuss it, I'd listen," Baker said in discussing the prospects of the Gladeville facility that is entering its fifth season of idleness. "Could the track be successful under the right conditions? The short answer is 'Yes.'" Baker said. "The question is, can those conditions be met?"
    The Franklin resident said he was contacted by Dover Motorsports five years ago when the parent company decided to sell the track after a decade of declining attendance. "I had some discussions with Denis (Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn) at the time, but shortly afterwards it was announced that someone else had bought the track," Baker said. That "someone else" was global technology company NeXovation, whose CEO Rob Sexton lives in Hendersonville. On May 29, 2014 it was announced that NeXovation was buying the track for $46 million, which included $18 million in Wilson County bond obligations. However, repeated deadlines for closing the sale came and went, and finally last fall Dover said it would entertain new offers.
    In addition to the purchase price, Baker said about $4 million needs to be invested in a "reconfiguration" of the 1.3-mile track. "You basically need to tear it up and start over," he said. Baker, who has owned/operated NASCAR Cup-racing tracks in Nashville, Bristol and Atlanta, said from the start that the Superspeedway design was all wrong. While Baker is convinced the track could succeed under the right circumstances, he added that the "challenge is greater now ever." "It's a much more challenging environment," he said, referring to declining NASCAR attendance and withering corporate sponsorships. "There are a lot of uses for a racetrack besides racing," he said. "To be successful it would need to be a multi-use facility with other revenue sources in addition to racing." In addition to the main track, the original design of the Gladeville facility included a road-racing course, drag strip, dirt track and short track. The latter three were never completed.(Lebanon Democrat)(1-17-2016)

  • ISC declines to make proposal on managing Laguna Seca: The International Speedway Corporation has declined to make a proposal on managing Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca according to Monterey County Supervisor Dave Potter. The county, which owns Laguna Seca, had been in a 90-day due diligence phase with the Daytona Beach-based ISC, a precursor to any potential management agreement. The Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula has managed the track since it's inception in 1957. But the nonprofit organization has struggled financially in recent years, losing its MotoGP motorcycle race. County officials said SCRAMP had been managing the raceway on a monthly renewal basis since early last year while the county considered the facility's long-term future. Potter says he supports suggestion that a request for proposals be issued for the Laguna Seca raceway management/concession contract.(Monterey Herald)(9-17-2015)

  • Hialeah Speedway Reunion: Hialeah Speedway closed its doors for the final time in August of 2005. Since then there has been two reunions, the first being in 2010 with over 500+ in attendance. The second in 2012 with the numbers down a tiny bit to just shy of 400. The next reunion marks 10 years since the closing of the famed 1/3 mile flat oval, while the track is gone the memories live on. In 2010 some of the tracks greatest names were inducted in the Hall of Fame. Amongst the drivers were several car owners and a track employee. The names were all iconic and well deserved. Gary Balough, Bobby Brack, Herb Tillman(Won first ever race at speedway), Larry Rogero, Bobby Coyle, Robert Hamke, Buddy Griffin, Billy Barnwell, Dick Anderson, Bill Flingos, Marty Handshaw(Car Owner) and the late Marty Little (Track announcer and track historian). The recognition list was continued at the 2012 reunion and consisted of more of Hialeah Speedways greatest legends. L.N. Dodd, H.C. Wilcox, Hank Pollard, Marion Edwards Sr, Pee Wee Griffin, Pete Willoughby, Randy Tissot, Ernie Reeves Jr., Mike McCrary, Tommy Mottle, Bobby Henry, Teddy Barnwell, Danny Maddox, Joe Winchell and Track Scorer Janet Little.
    Mark the date of November 28th, 2015 for the Hialeah Speedway Reunion; the reunion is going back to where it all began. The 2015 Hialeah Speedway Reunion will be held in Hialeah, Florida at the Five Star Milander Center located at 4800 Palm Avenue. Owners, drivers, fans and sponsors are encouraged to plan to attend this huge event. A discounted rate for lodging at the Grand Palms Resort in Pembroke Pines, FL.(PR)(9-13-2015)

  • ISC sees attendance increase at some tracks: International Speedway Corp., saw attendance up for its NASCAR Sprint Cup races during the second quarter of this year compared to the same time a year ago, the company stated this week. The company reported a 9% increase in attendance at Talladega Superspeedway in May and a second consecutive sellout for its Cup race at Auto Club Speedway (capacity 68,000) in March. John Saunders, president of International Speedway Corp., said Martinsville Speedway's Cup race in March also saw an increase in attendance but didn't reveal by how much. He said attendance was down 3 percent for the June 14 Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. Saunders said ticket sales were trending up until forecasts of rain for the race. Saunders said attendance was down for Cup races at Richmond and Kansas, citing the weather but did not say by how much. Saunders also said that Sunday night's Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway, the August Cup race at Watkins Glen and the August Cup race Michigan race, are on track to meet or exceed attendance expectations. Daytona's grandstand renovation continues and there will be 52,000 seats available for the Cup race. Once the project is completed - in time for next year's Daytona 500, the seating capacity will be 101,000. Preliminary plans are being made for renovations at Phoenix International Raceway, Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway once the Daytona project is complete, Saunders said. During the second quarter, ISC saw retention rates for ticket sales go from 55% to 58%. "So, we're getting a significant number of first timers,'' Saunders said. "And I will tell you that in our consumer strategies, we very much segment how we promote to those first timers versus returning guests, or tenured guests. But we're seeing the retention rate grow which is good, but we are seeing new entrants into the sport.''(NBC Sports), see full ISC report at internationalspeedwaycorporation.com,(7-5-2015)

  • Stabenow Seeks Tax Sweeteners for NASCAR Track Operators: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is teaming with Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and other senior Republicans in pressing for a permanent extension of faster tax write-offs for operators of motor racetracks, including 29 venues used for NASCAR events. A new Stabenow bill (S 1624) and a similar House measure (HR 1549) by Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., would make permanent the accelerated seven-year time frame for writing off improvements to racetracks. The incentive was renewed in the two-year tax break extension (PL 113-295) that expired at the end of last year. In coming weeks, Stabenow has signaled that she and other lawmakers will press to add her proposal in a tax overhaul plan and will insist on at least a temporary extension of the sweetener as part of a possible year-end tax break extension package.(Roll Call)(7-4-2015)

  • Industry asks fans to refrain from displaying Confederate flag: Statement from NASCAR Industry Members: "As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment. To do that, we are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events. This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events. We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols. This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing."(NASCAR with signatories of ALL race tracks of ISC & SMI and many others)(7-2-2015)

  • Racing will return to Mansfield Speedway: Racing in Mansfield will resurrect this summer. Mansfield Speedway will host six events starting Sunday, June 21, after a lease agreement was struck between track owner Grant Milliron and Sandusky-based K&B Promotions. The half-mile paved oval on the north side last hosted a race in 2010. It's last full season of racing came in 2008. The facility that used to welcome the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA as well as other national touring series fell out of use when previous owner Michael Dzurilla ran into financial and tax problems. Milliron, who has no background in racing but is a successful Richland County businessman with Milliron Industries, bought the track for $800,000 at a sheriff's sale in January, 2013. Last fall it was announced that northern Ohio racing promoter Kevin Ruic would bring events to the track for 2015, but the deal was nixed by Milliron after racist Facebook postings by Ruic were revealed this spring. K&B, which owns regional touring series as well as operates Sandusky Speedway, was scheduled to bring the Midwest Supermodified Association, Buckeye Super Sprints Series and Main Event Racing Series for late models to Mansfield this summer.(Mansfield News Journal)(5-30-2015)

  • 2015 National Speedway Directory at Race Tracks: The highly anticipated source for race tracks will be on shelves in early April. The 2015 National Speedway Directory lists a total of over 1,300 auto racing facilities. It is the most comprehensive publication of active tracks in the United States and Canada available anywhere. This book lists detailed information on oval tracks, dragstrips and road courses. The phone numbers, addresses, exact directions, nights of operation and type of racing are included in this handy 592-page paper-back book.
    Listings for approximately 300 sanctions, 60 racing publications, and 70 racing related museums, pushes the total to over 1,730 motorsports related listings. The 2015 schedules for over 175 racing series with 3,000 events are also included.
    The new edition is essential for planning vacations, track days and race outings. Race fans and industry professionals can depend on the National Speedway Directory for the most accurate and updated directory of race tracks in North America.
    The price for one copy is $15.00 (includes postage) or two copies for $25.00. Orders can be placed online at www.speedwaysonline.com or emailing orders@speedwaysonline.com . Checks or money orders can be sent to: National Speedway Directory - 909 Seneca Road - Wilmette, IL - 60091.
    About National Speedway Directory and Track Guide National Speedway Directory (www.speedwaysonline.com) is the trusted 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. The book is also available as a digital edition for iPhone and Android devices. Track Guide is the new iPhone and Android app, which puts race track and event information and directions right in the palm of your hand. Users can locate their favorite tracks or events, anywhere, anytime.(5-13-2015)

  • Tracks could lose more seats: Executives from Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns eight tracks that host NASCAR Sprint Cup races, suggested Wednesday that they might reduce seating capacity at some of their facilities. SMI reduced seating capacity last year by 41,000 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 17,000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. When asked during a conference call with investor analysts about any further reductions, SMI hinted more could be made. "In my thoughts, we probably have two or three or maybe even four of our speedways where we have some extra seats, and we are working on some plans to adjust that excess capacity,'' said William Brooks, vice chairman and chief financial officer and treasurer for SMI.(NBC Sports)(4-30-2015)

  • Passenger dies at Richard Petty driving experience UPDATE: A 36-year-old Davenport man died [Sunday] after a Lamborghini in which he was riding lost control at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver failed to maneuver the high-powered sports car through one of the course's curves, and the vehicle's right side struck a guardrail. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, according to FHP's Sgt. Kim Montes. The male driver was taken to Celebration Hospital with minor injuries. Neither the driver nor the passenger were identified. The incident took place at about 3:30pm at the Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Speedway, according to the FHP report. The track is operated by Petty Holdings, which has other Exotic Driving Experience attractions at speedways in Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Charlotte, New Jersey, Kansas, New Hampshire and Texas. The Richard Petty Driving Experience, where fans can drive NASCAR cars or ride shotgun at speeds up to 165 mph, opened in 1997. Four years ago, Petty Holdings introduced the exotic-car experience, where people can drive Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches. The crash remains under investigation, according to the FHP.(Examiner)
    AND The Florida Highway Patrol said that Tavon Watson, 24, of Kissimmee, failed to maneuver the sports car through one of the road course's curves. The car's right side struck a guardrail. His passenger, Gary Terry, was pronounced dead at the scene. Terry was the operations manager for the track. Terry competed in NASCAR's Southeast, Southwest and Midwest Series from 1999-2002. In 36 starts he scored two top-5 finishes. He was the head driving instructor for the RPDE at the Walt Disney World Speedway from 2001 to 2013 when he became the operations manager.(Examiner)(4-13-2015)
    UPDATE Comments from Richard Petty, "The entire Petty family, and everyone associated with Petty, is deeply saddened by the passing of Gary Terry yesterday. Our prayers go out to his family and everyone affected by this tragedy. We are all thinking about the family and friends of Gary and all the employees of the Exotic Driving Experience."(Richard Petty Motorsports)(4-13-2015)

  • Future of of Mansfield Raceway unsure: Even at 80, even after a lifetime of distinction, even after a successful career, Grant Milliron learned a lesson. He bought his way into a business he did not know, trusted the wrong guy and last week found his reputation was in jeopardy. That's not what one of Richland County's best businessmen set out to do on a cold day in January of 2013 when he bought Mansfield Motorsports Park at a sheriff's sale for $800,000. "The last thing I want to do is hurt this community," Milliron said. But that's what threatened to happen. Milliron is from the old-school where handshakes mean something. To break an agreement with a partner is unthinkable. A deal is a deal - good ones and even the bad ones. However, Milliron had never done business with someone like Kevin Ruic. The 71-year-old motorsports promoter from Avon Lake held events and ran shows for 50 years. He had contacts in the industry, and he proposed to Milliron a win-win proposition for the newest property in the portfolio. So the future of the track goes back to being uncertain. "Maybe I was foolish and naive to even think we could even bring this thing back. Maybe I should have dismantled it the day I bought it to tell you the truth," Milliron said. See much more at Mansfield News Journal.(3-25-2015)

  • Irwindale Speedway likely to be demolished for outlet mall: City officials Wednesday will likely approve plans to demolish the iconic Irwindale Speedway to pave way for a 700,000-square-foot outlet mall. City Council will hold a public hearing about the project at a meeting where officials are also expected to approve a development agreement with Irwindale Outlets Partners, LLC, change the site's zoning code to commercial and certify the final Environmental Impact Report. The Irwindale Outlet Center project, which includes design plans for an outdoor shopping center, entertainment stage, a central plaza and dining courtyard, is expected to generate thousands of jobs and bring a new heartbeat to the community. The 63-acre site, bordered by the San Gabriel Valley Freeway and Live Oak Avenue, has changed uses several times since the 1960s, when it was a quarry, mined for sand and gravel by Pacific Rock. When the mining operation ended in the mid '70s, it was converted into a 200-foot deep landfill of mainly construction waste for nearly 20 years. It later became home to the Irwindale Speedway in 1999. When Irwindale Outlet Partners, LLC purchased the property for $22 million in September 2013, the owner extended the lease with 211 Enterprises, which operates the Irwindale Event Center, on a year-by-year basis.(Pasadena Star News)(3-24-2015)

  • Texas World Speedway set to be closed for housing development: College Station and Bryan is growing everyday with more than 200,000 people living in the area... and counting. Texas World Speedway will shutdown in mid-June to make way for a multi-million dollar housing development. CEO Bill Mather is also the housing developer who will convert the 400 acre speedway into driveways and into what will be known as the "Southern Point" community. The $55 million dollar development will be constructed in five phases to include 1400 homes, a commercial development, nature trails, and space for a new elementary school. The development will be the first municipal utility district, or MUD, in College Station. Developers like Mather will absorb the costs of building the infrastructure, and bonds will be used to reimburse the developers quicker than waiting for the lots to be sold. Mather hopes to break ground shortly after the track closes in mid-June with the first homeowner possibly moving in by the Summer of 2016.(KBTX)(3-18-2015)

  • Financial reports provide insight into seating capacities for tracks that host NASCAR races: Each year, publicly traded companies that own race tracks must list their grandstand seating capacities. International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 tracks that NASCAR races, issued its report in January. Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns eight tracks NASCAR races, and Dover Motorsports Inc., which owns one track with Sprint Cup races, issued their reports last week. With those reports, a list of seating capacities can be compiled for the NASCAR circuit. Only Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway - both privately owned - do not release such information. The Indianapolis Star has reported the seating capacity at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as 235,000. Among tracks that report seating capacity, Daytona International Speedway remains the largest at 147,000 - but that won't last much longer. Once the Daytona Rising project is completed, Daytona will have about 101,000 seats. That project is set to be completed in time for next year's Daytona 500. Six of the top 10 tracks that report seating capacities are owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., including Bristol Motor Speedway, which is set to take over the No. 1 spot next year with its seating capacity of 146,000.(see more at NBC Sports)(3-10-2015)

  • Disney Speedway to close: Walt Disney World Speedway will close in late June to make way for transportation improvements. The Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Exotic Driving Experience will no longer operate at at WDWS. "Disney has other uses for the property, and they have the right to do that, and we respect that," said Bill Scott, executive vice president of attractions operator Petty Holdings LLC. "It's not without some sadness that we leave Walt Disney World Speedway. We had a great home here." Disney would not provide details on what transportation projects would require the speedway's closure. The speedway lies south of the Magic Kingdom parking lot and west of World Drive. Petty Holdings informed employees Wednesday afternoon about the closure. It has about 70 people working at the speedway, including instructors, photographers and people who check in visitors. The target date for closure is June 28.(Orlando Sentinel)
    Petty Holdings Statement: Petty Holdings, operator of Richard Petty Driving Experience and Exotic Driving Experience, confirmed that starting July 1, they will no longer operate their experiences out of the Walt Disney World Speedway. Walt Disney World has plans to use the land to make transportation improvements. "Our main focus at this moment is taking care of our staff and preparing them for the upcoming transition," said Petty Holdings Vice President Bill Scott. "Any reserved guests prior to July 1 will have the same fantastic experience that we have delivered since 1997 at Walt Disney World Speedway." Anyone booked after June 30 for Richard Petty Driving Experience or Exotic Driving Experience can call 1.800.237.3889 to reschedule their experience at any of their 14 locations nationwide - including the location at Daytona International Speedway. Petty Holdings currently has plans in process for exotics and stock car programs in Orlando.(2-12-2015)

  • Motorsports facilities get tax break: Track operators got the tax break they've been waiting for all year when the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a tax extenders package for the remainder of 2014. Included in the extensive list of tax breaks to be continued was a provision that allows motorsports facilities to depreciate new construction over seven years instead of the life of the project, which typically is 25 years or more. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the provision will result in an $11 million tax break for motorsports facilities in 2015, a total $32 million from 2015 to 2019 and $33 million from 2015 to 2024. It was part of an estimated $41.6 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years that were approved by the House of Representatives 378-46 earlier this month and then by the Senate 76-16 (60 votes need for passage) on Tuesday. All that awaits now is the expected signature of President Barack Obama. The provision is similar to those granted to amusement parks, and track operators felt that the same break should apply to their facilities. After arguing the issue with the Internal Revenue Service, the issue became moot when Congress, as part of the Jobs Creation Act of 2004, granted the seven-year depreciation provision for new motorsports construction. The provision covers all motorsports facilities, not just NASCAR facilities.(Sporting News)(12-18-2014)

  • Atlanta removing 17,000 seats, Charlotte 41,000 UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway's parent company, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., announced Tuesday that they will remove 17,000 seats from the track's grandstands. The company anticipates using those areas for premium hospitality, advertising and other facility purposes. Their sister track, Charlotte Motor Speedway, is losing 41,000 seats.(wgxa.tv), see image of the CMS construction at Slugger Labbe's Twitter.(12-10-2014)
    UPDATE: Alterations announced this week are in line with a trend of tracks removing seats. Charlotte, after removing 41,000 seats this winter, will be down to permanent seating of 89,000 in 2015, a startlingly low capacity considering its location in NASCAR's epicenter. But it's par for the course. Atlanta is removing 17,000 seats to get down to 75,000; Dover is removing 17,500 seats to get down to 95,500; and Daytona is removing its backstretch grandstands of 46,500 next spring to go to 101,500 seats. Other tracks on the circuit have made similar changes.
    At its peak in 2007, International Speedway Corp.'s 12 major tracks had 1.1 million grandstand seats (not including suites). After the Daytona renovation, ISC will be down 30 percent to approximately 761,000 seats.
    In 2013 alone, the following ISC tracks cut seats: Talladega (from 108,000 to 78,000), Richmond (91,000 to 71,000), Chicagoland (69,000 to 55,500), Michigan (84,000 to 71,000), California (81,000 to 68,000), Darlington (60,000 to 58,000) and Homestead (56,000 to 46,000). Any additional cuts likely will be revealed when its annual report comes out in January.
    With the current Charlotte and Atlanta reductions, Speedway Motorsports has cut 101,000 seats (12 percent) across seven of its tracks since 2009, although it added 38,000 at Kentucky when it moved a Cup race to that track. SMI, which includes suites in its capacity estimates, cut capacity in 2013 at Atlanta (from 98,000 to 92,000), Bristol (158,000 to 153,000) and New Hampshire (96,000 to 95,000).
    Dover listed 135,000 seats in 2009, so its reduction in recent years is 29 percent. At one point, it reduced 20,000 seats by replacing the current seats with wider ones for more fan comfort, a move done by many racetracks. Indianapolis and Pocono, privately owned, do not have to report their capacities, but Indianapolis also has removed seats.(see full article at the Sporting News)(12-11-2014)

  • Racing returning to Mansfield: It took Kevin Ruic five years, but the longtime motor sports showman will finally promote events at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Racing will return to the half-mile oval in 2015. The Avon Lake businessman said he reached a deal in principal with MMP owner Grant Milliron to bring up to six special events to track. Attempts to reach Milliron were unsuccessful. The nature of those events is still to be determined, but Ruic said a three-day tractor pull, a monster truck and thrill show, a supermodified and sprint car event, a July 4 fireworks show and a rodeo could be possible for 2015. Bringing in major events such as NASCAR or ARCA are not in the plans.(full story at the Mansfield News Journal), Mansfield Motorsports Park held five Camping World Truck Series one each season from 2004-2008.(9-29-2014)

  • Mansfield Motorsports Park could open again: The track hasn't hosted a race since 2010, and it hasn't been home to multiple events since 2008. Mansfield Motorsports Park remains dormant, but owner Grant Milliron said there might be something in the works for next year for the half-mile paved oval on the north side of town. Milliron, who bought the track at a sheriff's sale in the winter of 2013, said he's had a discussion with a longtime promoter about bringing "five or six events" to the track. Those could be races, stunt shows or something else entirely, but the goal is that the events would attract 5,000 to 10,000 fans. If a deal cannot be struck, Milliron said he will look to market the track to sell. He bought it and 177 acres of land it sits on for $800,000, after former owner Mike Dzurilla lost it for owing $308,000 in taxes. If he does sell, Milliron said he wants the land to remain a motor sports facility and is hoping to sell it to someone who would keep it a race track.(Mansfield News Journal)(9-11-2014)

  • Texas World Speedway to be replaced by houses: The College Station City (Texas) Council unanimously gave conditional consent to create a new municipal utility district that will replace the Texas World Speedway just outside of College Station. The plan will now go to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for its approval, during which time a series of agreements will come before city council to ready services and sync up the development plans with the city's building standards. The developer is asking for the city to provide water and sewer services to the community. The concept plan for the development will span about 550 acres in College Station's extra-territorial jurisdiction, and add about 1,400 single-family homes, 27 acres of commercial development, 14 acres for a future College Station school district school and 73 acres of detention and greenways. The Brazos County Appraisal District values that land at $5.4 million, but the projected build out value is $514 million. Three of the public speakers spoke on behalf of the racing community that would miss the track. Mayor Pro Tem Karl Mooney said the speedway just hasn't been able to keep up with the times.(The Eagle)(4-2-2014)

  • Race Track tax break to expire: Every year, there are a raft of "temporary" tax breaks, credits, and deductions that expire on Dec. 31. Lawmakers usually plan on extending them. But they don't always get to it on time. This year, Congress let about 55 different tax breaks expire on Dec. 31. In theory, Congress could still extend these (retroactively) for 2014. One such tax break was: A tax break to help NASCAR build racetracks. This tax break allowed anyone who builds a racetrack to receive a small tax benefit through accelerated depreciation. (It was called the "NASCAR loophole," but it doesn't just help NASCAR.) Supporters claimed the break is necessary so that NASCAR can compete on a level playing field with other theme parks. But it's gone now, unless Congress decides to extend. Cost to extend: About $50 million per year.(in part from the Washington Post)(1-3-2014)

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