The wait has finally ended. After 16 months of idling, Langley Speedway owner Bill Mullis announced that he has purchased the track and plans on opening the facility for a full season starting in April.
In a press conference held earlier this afternoon by the City of Hampton, Mullis told spectators, “We’ve all been through a lot through these last 16 months, it’s been a very trying time.”
The track has been closed since the end of 2015 after a lease-deal was unable to be reached with the California-based owners of the land on which Langley Speedway sits. The last event held was the Day of Destruction at the end of October, which is the track’s demolition derby event that is used to cap off the track’s season.
In his speech, Mullis thanked a handful of individuals from the city of Hampton, Hammer Development Company, and Chesapeake Bank of Gloucester; however, he was sure to leave the most important to him for last when he said, “I’d like to thank my fans, sponsors, and particularly my race teams: they are my family.” Mullis continued, “I want to thank them for their thoughts and prayers during last year’s closure. It’s really been tough. They stood by the speedway and showed nothing but overwhelming support for the facility and what it means for them to race there. I really appreciate that.”
In an effort to not leave the fans hanging with suspense, Mullis also announced the date for the track’s return to Late Model racing for the first time in nearly a year and a half. “Our first green flag will drop April 1st, 2017 at Langley Speedway,” Mullis announced, with a roar of applause.
In regards to news about the track, there will be more where that came from. Mullis announced that he is leaving for Daytona Beach tomorrow to meet with NASCAR, and another special announcement will be made on Sunday with the full schedule being released next week.
As expected, social media roared with elatedness over the news. With 6,450 members to date, the “Support Langley Speedway” group has been filled with old photos, stories, and memories with hopes of the track opening. And finally it has.
On the drivers side, it was also anticipated that reactions would be energetic.
Five-time Late Model Track Champion and winner of the last two Track Championships, Poquoson’s Greg Edwards is ready to defend his crown. “I’m just very thankful to have the best short track on the planet opening back up,” Edwards told Race22.com. “Thank you Bill Mullis and everyone involved for bringing this grand old lady back. Let’s go racing!”
Two-time Track Champion Mark Wertz showed the same level of emotion. “I feel like I’ve been away on deployment and I’m now coming home,” Wertz commented. “This is real, it’s here, and it’s not going anywhere.”
Feature winner Tyler Hughes was also very excited about the announcement. “I’m just flat out thrilled,” Hughes commented. “It makes it a lot easier for us and other teams in the area by not having to travel as far tom compete for state points.”
Multi-time winner Matt Waltz of Newport News is ready to come back home. “This is really exciting, I really want to thank Bill for all he has done,” Waltz told Race22.com. “This means a lot for the racing community. It’s exciting for us to be able to put our team back together and get to work. It’s also great to be racing in my backyard again.”
For more information, follow Race22 on Twitter @Race22 and Langley Speedway @LangleySpeedway.