Friday night’s racing program at Ace Speedway, which re-opened on July 24th, will be headlined by a 125 lap, $2,500-to-win Late Model Stock Car race.
Brad Allen, who came on board in July to save the track once more, hopes the $2,500-to-win payout will attract competitors from the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) and other nearby racetracks. Allen is confident in the racing program at Ace Speedway, which has become a favorite track among many Late Model Stock Car fans and drivers, and hopes to see growth.
“It’s part of our theme, restore the roar,” Allen said. “We felt like we had one of the better Late Model programs going at area tracks and really wanted to remind people how great a racetrack Ace Speedway is and this time of year with everybody in a points battle or not in a points battle or racing CARS Tour or jumping around, it made sense just to, here’s an opportunity to have a big race on a weekend that not a lot is going on and see if we can get guys to reacquaint themselves with our facility.”
Ace Speedway has adopted the rules packaged used in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and now, with the series switching to Hoosier tires, Allen feels he should be able to attract their drivers to race at Ace.
“I’ve got people behind me who want to see the car counts go back up,” Allen remarked. “We’ve adopted the CARS Tour rules package. With them changing to Hoosier tires, that’s going to help us attract some of those guys along with our solid local count. We have the chance to have one of the biggest field of cars all year long.”
CARS Tour regular RD Smith, who races for David Gilliland Racing, won the July 24th race at Ace Speedway. The July 24th race was the first race since the track closed back in June when Bill Catania ran the track. While Allen felt the first race was a success, he said there was a lot of work to do leading up to that race and still work to do before Friday night.
“In my opinion, it couldn’t have been much better,” Allen stated. “We basically had two weeks to get three months worth of work done. Car counts were solid. We’d like to have more but we were thankful for what we did have. Racing was great in all division, great crowds. I knew my facility wasn’t ready and it compounded the problems we had. Everything looked good in front of the curtains. We got through it. We know what we need to get fixed and addressed and we’ve taken these two weeks to do that and we’ll be ready to roll Friday night.”
When asked about the condition of the facility when he came back, Allen said it simply was not to the standards he has set during his previous tenure at Ace Speedway.
“I mean, we’ve gotten it to a level of performance that, to say our standards are a little higher than some who have been here, I’d like to look at it as it performs,” Allen explained. “Running a racetrack is not far off from running a racecar. You prepare all week preparing it to perform on race night. There are things you have to have in place for it to function preoperly. If you work on a car just to get to the track, it won’t perform at an optimal performance level. Same with the track. We’ve addressed issues that popped up last race. It didn’t stop the show. It gave us a reminder that it’s not as easy as it looks. A month in and we’re close to where I would like to have it but there’s always stuff you can improve on.”
When Allen re-assumed his position at the helm of Ace Speedway’s operation, he made immediate changes to improve what, in previous years, has been highly regarded as one of the best racetracks in the Southeast. He brought in Greg Harvey as his head technical inspector, Danny Willard as the race director and Danny Willard’s son, Brandon, as the flagman.
“Really pleased with the changes we’ve made with our staff which includes race director, flagman and head tech,” Allen commented. “Those three positions have been a cause for concern in the past but those guys are very qualified and know what it takes to make a show happen and that takes a lot of pressure off of me not having to be over their shoulder all the time.”
Harvey and Danny Willard both work with Allen in the CARS Tour and came to Ace Speedway to work with Allen bringing years of experience. Harvey was a tech inspector in the UARA-STARS tour, Danny Willard is a former racer who worked with UARA as a flagman and has served as the race director at Ace Speedway and at Franklin County Speedway in Virginia.
Friday night’s race at Ace Speedway will get underway at 8pm with racing in the Late Model division and will also showcase the USAC Midgets, Allison Legacy Series and the track’s U-CAR division.