With economic conditions improving in Virginia. Southside Speedway general manager Jennifer Altizer-Mullis expects the track to see moderate increases in car counts and attendance in 2015.
The quarter-mile Southside Speedway, which is located outside of Richmond in nearby Midlothian, Virginia, is one of the oldest tracks in the region – originally opening in 1949. The track was part of the NASCAR Grand National tour in the early years of NASCAR Stock Car racing. Now, the track plays host to local racing.
Like many tracks, Southside struggled greatly during ‘The Great Recession’ but things have recently started to turn around as economic conditions have improved.
“We started off last season with our car counts lower than we would like,” Altizer-Mullis said. “The economy has been so difficult, especially for our top division. It’s been really difficult. It seems last year, four races in, our car counts really did start picking back up so I hope that’s a sign things are getting better and people can afford these hobbies again. Things ended strong and we had strong car counts in five of our six divisions.”
Altizer-Mullis says she’s already talked to four different drivers who haven’t raced in recent years that plan on coming back to Southside Speedway in 2015. She also says another strong division is the entry-level U-CAR division. She says the growth in that series helps the long-term sustainability of the track. Another move being made with long-term goals in mind is the introduction of a Bandolero division at Southside.
“We’re hopeful to add the Bandoleros, not only to attract younger drivers but also to help bolster our Legends count,” Altizer-Mullis stated. “The Legends division seems to be hit the hardest. People don’t have the money to travel like they did so hopefully, with the Bandos, it can be more of a family event. It can be a family day at the track. That’s the only change we have made. People have asked about those for a couple years so we’re really excited to do that this season.”
Returning to being a NASCAR sanctioned track is not in the plans for Southside Speedway. Altizer-Mullis said that, while the track has always had a great relationship with NASCAR, the number of Late Model races they would be required to run would force them to drop their very supportive Modified division.
Altizer-Mullis also talked about some of the other promotions the track has planned for the 2015 season, which includes two meet-and-greet autograph sessions.
“We have scout night during the season, we invite churches and youth groups, we have charitable organizations such as the Lions Club. We’ll also have two driver meet-and-greets. Those are always my favorite events of the season. Patrons can go on the track. The patrons can meet the drivers, touch the cars get autographs, ask questions and it’s a fun time. The kids love it and the grownups love it more than the kids. Also gives you a chance to find out who you want to root for. Those are my favorites.”
Southside Speedway will continue running on Friday nights throughout the summer, beginning with the season opener on April 3rd. The race format will be consistent as will the divisions racing each night.
2015 Southside Speedway season schedule
April 3rd: Late Model Stock Cars
April 17th: Late Model Stock Cars
May 1st: Late Model Stock Cars
May 15th: Late Model Stock Cars
May 29th: Late Model Stock Cars
June 12th: Late Model Stock Cars
June 25th: Late Model Stock Cars
July 10th: Late Model Stock Cars
July 24th: Late Model Stock Cars
August 7th: Late Model Stock Cars
August 21st: Late Model Stock Cars
August 28th: Late Model Stock Cars