The Lanier National Speedway will host its final race for the foreseeable future Saturday with the 2012 Ice Cold Shriners Bowl, track owner Donnie Clack said.
Clack, who has owned the track for nearly 10 years, cited the struggling economy and the lack of financial return on the races as reasons for finally shutting it down for business.
“You finally just decide it’s time to shut it down,” Clack said. “It takes a lot of people to make the wheels turn around here. It takes participation from drivers, crews and everyone to make it work, and unfortunately we don’t have the outside income to subsidize the racing.”
The speedway’s schedule had been limited to Saturday’s race and Independence Day weekend, but the latter was called off when Clack decided the cost of putting on the event would be more than the money it would bring in.
While he would not definitively say that there wasn’t a scenario that the event could resume, he said, for now, he can’t see that happening.
“I can’t see it,” he said. “If you don’t have more events, the cost of insurance is that much higher for the individual races. The cost just becomes too much.
“Some things are just out of your control.”
The facility has been on the market, and Clack had hoped to announce its sale rather than the end of races.
However, Clack said that, for the time being, no sale is imminent.
“If guys can come up with the money and buy the track or come up with a good rental agreement, then we might see things pick back up,” he said. “But, as of right now, we just don’t have anybody with a plan.”
Stan Narrison, the former general manager of the track, is one person who is trying to take control of the track’s future.
He said he is hoping he can get a group of individuals together to either buy the track or, at least, commit to a long-term lease.
“We’d love to be able to do that, get the Independence Day event back on and maybe pull off four or five races,” he said. “We want to keep the excitement there. The goal would be to get this thing back on track.”
He said, while no transaction is imminent, he does hope to have an answer “fairly soon.”
For now, however, Clack said they would treat Saturday’s as the track’s final race under current ownership.
“I hate to use the term ‘last race,’ because people would love to see it continue,” he said. “But it’s going to have to continue under new ownership.”
For today’s races, tickets have been reduced from their normal $20 to $15, and kids under 12 years old get in free.
“It’s our way of saying thanks for 30 years of support,” Clack said.
And the track will continue to be open to other events such as concerts. Or, as was the case Thursday, a location to shoot a music video.
“We’re still here,” Clack said. “We just won’t be racing.”