by Michael Lowrey
At the local level, as in fewer and fewer fans at local speedways (short ovals). The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel offers up an interest look at the decline of local race tracks in Indiana. A highlight:
A few years ago while flying to Florida on business, Baer Field Speedway Program Director Bob Koorsen noticed a pair of racing fans a few seats away dressed head-to-toe in Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., gear. They were heading to Daytona for Speed Week.
“You guys ever go to the local track?” Koorsen asked. “They didn’t even know there was one. They worked at the (General Motors) plant six miles away and had no idea the track was there.”
To the layman, that might seem extremely odd, but Koorsen suggests that NASCAR fans and short-track fans are not the same people any more. That might be one of many reasons why so many short-tracks in northern Indiana are struggling.
Baer Field closed July 2, and Gas City I-69 Speedway shut down last Monday. South Bend Motor Speedway is for sale, as is Angola Motor Speedway, though owner Kurt Henry will operate next year if he can’t find a buyer.