Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Breaking News --- Merced Speedway To Reopen Under New Management

Two rumors have been circulating for about two months now regarding Merced Speedway. One was that John Prentice was going after the track. Prentice went online at the Late Model Racer web page on the forums there and denied he had the track, though he went there by helicopter to visit it.

The second involved John Soares Jr. from Antioch Speedway and that possibly that a respected local racer would be involved in running the track. The name of that person I have intentionally left out for a variety of reasons. I still have not received confirmation on that person's involvement, but I suspect he may be there. It would be a good thing if he were involved, but I will leave it out for now and let John reveal things as he does.

I very much hope this all works out and Merced Speedway can get back into action. The fans and racers deserve it.

According to Antioch Speedway Publicist Jack Menges, who broke the story today in an article on the Contra Costa Times website:

Promoter John Soares Jr. announced that all mothers attending the races (at Antioch Speedway) on Mother's Day weekend will be admitted for half price. He also said that he will take over and re-open the Merced Speedway.

This is not the first time a Soares has promoted Merced Speedway. After Bert Moreland stepped down at Merced in 1977, "Dr. Dirt" Jim Soares took over and guided the track through the transition of Sportsman track to Stock Car track.

It has not been made clear as of yet when Merced Speedway will reopen, though I've heard through sources it could be as soon as the Annual County Fair. If that is the case, an announcement will likely be made soon. I'd also expect to hear who will be working with John on this, though if it is who I expect it to be, racers n the area will NOT be disappointed. It will be a good thing.

As reported on the DCRR Racing Radio Show last week, the previous management voluntarily pulled their web page down. I surmised it was to make way for the new management. I would also anticipate a new website to premiere in the not too distant future.

As to divisions racing, I don't anticipate much of a change. Dirt Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks will probably continue to be the focus. I'm sure if enough indication of support is offered from the Sportsman drivers, they will continue to run them as well.

If I may editorialize a little folks, I know some people will say "that damned Soares" and be negative. They did it with his dad too, but I'd hold Sr. up against anybody in the sport as one of the greatest promoters in the area. As to Jr., I can only say that you don't go after places like Merced and Hanford because you hate the sport. John loves auto racing. It's his life. He and Donna put hours into Antioch every week, not to mention the money.

I haven't always seen eye to eye with John, but he is the real deal. I have always respected the Soares family and I always will. So, I hope the racers come out and race. Give it a chance. You won't be disappointed, and it certainly will be better at Merced than it has been in recent years.

Oh, and I hope they bring Johnny Sass in to be a part of restarting it. It was to be his 60th season at the track. The man is a Merced Speedway icon and somebody I have a great deal of respect for.

Anyway, if I hear more, I'll post more. I'm hoping the other name is revealed as soon as possible, because if it is who I think it is, it will be a good thing.