ALTAMAHAW, NC :: In the ongoing saga that is Ace Speedway, we have seen a little bit of everything. The track has changed ownership, gone through numerous general managers, bounced checks, had guys running it with four different names and so much more. With the recent resignation of Brad Allen, who decided to go to Southern National Motorsports Park after he brought Ace back from the dead, it looked as if the track was once again going fall by the wayside with no schedule, no GM, bounced checks and the first race scheduled to roll off in a month from now. Once again the track looks to be rescued, and once again it’s a name that’s familiar. Enter Brad Allen for round two.
Allen had simply had enough with the owner Abraham Woidislawsky. There was b roken communication and a lack of funds. After the track had gotten out of the hole it was in, the necessary steps to bring it to the next level were never met. The outstanding job Allen had done with Ace Speedway was known across the region. With that known, Michael Diaz and his crew from Southern National wanted Allen. Allen was a hot commodity. It was a no-brainer; Southern National was a premier NASCAR sanctioned track with beautiful facilities, great car counts and most of all, it had plenty of capital to run the way it should. In the end it turned out it was missing something to Allen. It wasn’t his home track where he had history. However, Allen is not leaving Southern National either. He will be at both tracks.
“It all came down to one thing, my home track needs me and I need it,” said Allen. “Everything at Southern National is in place, that track sustains itself, they have good people in place and, while I will be opening Ace back up, I will still be involved in the race day activities at Southern National. I will wear my Ace shirt on Friday nights and my Southern National shirt on Saturdays, there will be no conflict between the two. Maybe, down the road, it can even work for the better for both facilities.”
So what was different this time? Brad Allen left for a reason. What is different now that will make it work out?
“This is basically him (the owner) fulfilling what was offered to him back in October,” Allen explained. “He just now understood what it really is I guess. The thing that is going to be different is that, instead of relying on him and him having a say in certain situations, he will just be a property owner. We will be the owners of the racing operations. I never had this chance before. Before it was under him, now this is all on us. We have the operation capital to do right. In years past, everything has been upside down and on edge. We don’t have that looking ahead. All these pieces finally came together, allowing us to move forward on what we had established. Now, we haven’t done ourselves any favors these past three months but we are going to strive forward and try to get it back where it needs to be.”
When asked what would happen after open testing on Saturday, Allen was sure but unsure at the same time.
“We are going to open on March 29th, just like we planned,” Allen asserted. “We are behind, there is no doubt about that. I had a schedule done in October, but with the things that took place, I was never able to release it. Now we are going to have to do something a little different. It won’t be fair to tell my Late Model and Limited guys to be ready so we will have a two day show with the USAC cars, mini-stocks and extremes. I know we have had cars that have made plans elsewhere. I don’t blame them. They are racers and they had no idea if this track was even going to run this year so we will make the schedule accordingly. I’m not going to step on any toes with other tracks but I also know a lot of cars just want to race at home, and home for them is Ace Speedway.
“I can’t thank Michael Diaz and his staff for the opportunity and everything they have done for me at Southern National. I took the job at Southern National because of the challenge of running a race track, and because it was a perfect fit. They have everything I need there. They have a great staff and no issues to deal with like I have had in the past. But, as I was presented with this situation, I have a chance to make my home track work and still bring something down here. None of this is about me. I’m tired of having stories about me. I want the stories to be about the tracks.
“It’s late in the game and we are going to have to work extra hard. But I want to finish what we started. What happened is not our fault. It’s not the track’s fault, it’s not the racers’ fault and it’s not the fans’ fault. But now, we got his attention and said, ‘we matter down here.’ We just want to race on our race track. This track is what ties this community together here and I’m a part of that. I have been part of that for many years. We don’t want any secrets, any shenanigans or any nonsense; we just want to say, ‘Hey, we are racing on Friday night at eight o’clock’.”
When asked if anything was wrong at Southern National that influenced his decision to run Ace, Allen was quick to speak.
“I’m sure people are going to say that something had to happen for me to go back,” Allen commented. “Yeah, the only thing that happened was that I saw my race track get in more trouble than I care to see. At Southern National, there is no trouble. I’m not turning my back on Michael Diaz or Southern National, I’m just going to put a little bit of my attention on my home track.”
While this is breaking news to some, those of us that know Brad and the situation are not surprised. We know he loves Ace and that it’s his home track. Is it an odd situation? Well of course it is. Brad revived the track from the dead. If he hadn’t of came back this time, the track would not be racing at all this season. It’s as simple as that. It may not be the season many were hoping for, but with a one year fallout option and a three-to-five year lease option, this may be the best deal Ace has had to make it under the current ownership. Time will tell. One thing is for sure, the sound of race cars will fill the air this weekend for practice and on numerous nights in the coming months. That’s more than we ever thought we’d see just a few weeks ago.