BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Don’t fret, Volusia County race fans … the final checkered flag may not have dropped on Volusia Speedway Park’s weekly racing program just yet.
World Racing Group CEO Brian Carter is optimistic that Volusia’s weekly racing program will have a chance to return for the 2017 season, despite having to be unexpectedly shuttered in a surprise announcement Monday night.
The half-mile dirt track in Barberville, Florida is owned by WRG and was operated by promoter Wendi Underwood this year, serving as a weekly racing venue for the last four seasons in addition to hosting the highly-successful DIRTcar Nationals event each February during Florida Speedweeks.
In an appearance on the Performance Motorsports Network’s Turn 5 Live radio show on Tuesday night, Carter said that the goal now is to find a new partner with whom WRG can work with, that would be willing and ready to take on the task of operating the speedway once DIRTcar Nationals concludes this coming February.
“It is to be determined (what the plans for the track are), but we’ve got a tremendous amount of interest in Volusia,” Carter said. “It’s a great race track. … We’ve invested a lot of energy into that property in order to make it right for [DIRTcar Nationals] and to give the operators there a great facility for the rest of the year, as well.”
Carter added that in light of Monday’s announcement, WRG has already had a healthy amount of interest from parties looking to keep Volusia’s regular racing action driving into the future.
“We haven’t operated the track as World Racing Group on a weekly basis for almost five years now, so we just have to find the right partner that understands the dynamics of that marketplace and can make it successful. We’ve gotten … if the last 24 hours is any indication, we’re not going to have any problem renting it. It’s just about getting the right people onboard.”
“There’s a lot of people that think they might understand [what to do] and it’s my job to make sure that it’s [a good situation] for the racers and the promoter, as well as for World Racing Group, so that’s just something we have to evaluate.”
While he would not confirm whether a deal was already in place for 2017, Carter did say that finding a new promoter or promoters was “on the list” of things for DIRTcar to evaluate and accomplish going forward into the new year.
He also explained that the task of promoting the track as a weekly racing facility was a job much better tailored for someone in the Volusia County business environment, rather than World Racing Group’s own workforce.
“When we take on the challenges of DIRTcar Nationals, or a place like [Las] Vegas, or Devil’s Bowl (Texas) Speedway … even Oswego and Charlotte, it’s hard for us to focus a lot of energy on the weekly racing,” Carter admitted. “It really is something that’s more suited for a local businessperson to take on, someone who can do that much more successfully and make it better for the racers than we can (from higher up).”
“It’s too early to say a lot for certain, given the timing of the announcement and everything else we have going on, but we should be able to get things sorted out. I’m excited and optimistic that the guys down there at Volusia will have some racing during the week … or every other week, whatever it may be … we’ll figure out something that’s best for them and have a plan in 2017. That’s definitely something that’s on our list to do.”
Regardless of what happens with the Volusia weekly racing program in 2017, the 46th annual DIRTcar Nationals will run as scheduled, kicking off Feb. 14 and continuing through Feb. 25.
The blockbuster two-week extravaganza features the DIRTcar Modifieds, DIRTcar Late Models and DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds among the headline divisions. The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars and Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions also traditionally race during the marathon of speed.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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