(Stevie Dirt note: Quincy Raceways promoter Ken Dobson of the CILTRAK Group is seeking the assistance of race fans in taking the track to the next level. The following explains his idea concerning “Friends of Quincy Raceways.”)
Fans of Quincy Raceways:
With the 2014 40th Anniversary season winding down, it seems like an appropriate time to look to the future of Quincy Raceways. On behalf of my CILTRAK partners, I want to thank the Quincy fans for welcoming us into your Sunday night family. We have thoroughly enjoyed the season. While we have faced many obstacles this year, I feel that we have made progress in moving Quincy Raceways forward in what remains a very difficult economic climate for race tracks.
At this point we do hope to return as promoters of Quincy Raceway for 2015. Paul Holtschlag and Bob Rhinberger who own the property have been exceptionally cooperative in helping the track have its best chance of success and we are sure that cooperation will continue into the future. Without their continued support the track would cease to exist.
The purpose of this letter is to raise one concern I have for the long-term health of the race track. Not too long ago the track facilities were among the best anywhere in the Country. While the facilities are still above average, the track is starting to show its age. I feel like the facilities are at a tipping point where some relatively small investments in improvements and rehabilitation can preserve it as a premier facility into the future. Many more years without investing in the facilities and it will cost far more to ever return it to its prior condition – which most likely won’t happen.
In some sense a local race track is like a park – but without taxpayer assistance. Those of us who use it and enjoy it have a collective interest in preserving it and maintaining it in an above average condition. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future neither CILTRAK as the operator of the track nor the owners have any real incentive to make the necessary investment in rehabilitation. Obviously we can’t sink large sums into structures someone else owns and which we might have to walk away from at some point, and the ownership only receives enough in rent to make the necessary mortgage and tax payments. Minor improvements made to the facility are not going to substantially increase the value of the property as its value at as a race track is much more dependent on the revenue it generates than the value of the structures.
With that in mind, the real stakeholders in the quality of the facility are the core group of fans and teams that call Quincy Raceways home on Sundays. Long after we are gone as promoters you will hopefully still be enjoying and using the track.
For the reasons above, I am calling on the Quincy Raceways fan base to consider organizing itself to raise funds and manpower to make some needed improvements to the facility to prepare it for its next 40 years. Quite honestly, that is the only way the track is going to continue to be a premier racing facility into the future.
We have a list of projects we think are important. Some of them we will try to tackle as we are able, but many of them could be easily handled with a committed group of people raising funds and donating time to make it happen. We at CILTRAK will gladly help organize and fully support any such efforts, but we simply can’t pay or give away tickets to anyone who lifts a hammer. We still have a purse and overhead to pay each week. We can also assist in identifying and prioritizing projects based on need and cost. But in the end it is you, the Quincy Raceways fan, who will have to be committed to preserving what you have. CILTRAK can certainly continue to maintain it in its current condition, but we can’t make the improvements it would take to make it what it could be – the best place to watch cars race in the Midwest.
In summary, I am proposing that a group of “Friends of Quincy Raceways” be organized to assist in looking after the long-term health and condition of the facilities. With a little effort and the support of the racing community I am confident that big things can happen at 8000 Broadway to prepare Quincy Raceways for the future. The passion we have seen from local fans convince us that the place has plenty of life left. I would ask that we all join forces to prepare it to be a place for future generations to enjoy over the next 40 years as much as you have over the prior 40.
Things change as years pass and who knows how long we will be involved in operating Quincy Raceways. But in the short time we have been involved, we have come to care about the place more than simply as a business. When our time at Quincy is concluded — whenever that may be — we hope we can look back and feel like we left it in better shape than we found it. Bringing the fans together to share their common interest in preserving and improving it is one way we can accomplish that.
I look forward to hearing from anyone who would have an interest in participating or serving in a leadership role in this endeavor.