Speed for Sale

It was a chilly afternoon last November while some "unfinished business" was tended to on the Memphis Motorsports Park drag strip, and a final stock car race was simultaneously contested on the speedway. A somber mood fell over the facility as faithful racers watched their home track get shuttered and fall off the 2010 racing schedule of several major sanctioning organizations.

So what becomes of a first rate racing facility when it's owners have lost interest? Well, after months of rumors and speculation, Memphis Motorsports Park is now officially listed with a commercial realty company. Yes, we can all stop guessing, because it's right there in cyberspace. Six million buys it all. Check out the Memphis Motorsports Park is For Sale website.

Of course, you'll have to remain focussed as a track operator with a purpose, because MMP no longer has any major race dates. Dover Motorsports sent the two NASCAR races to it's other satellite tracks in St. Louis and Nashville. The NHRA has not replaced or scheduled another race in the place of it's Memphis date. The NMCA has found a new home for it's World Finals. The standing room only ADRL event is history. Pinks All Out is all gone. Sadly, the bracket racing, Thursday test and tune sessions, the Super Chevy Show, the SCCA regionals and motorcycle racing are all kaput now.

So what are the 500,000 - 600,000 race fans who annually attended events at this facility just a few short years ago going to do to satisfy their need for speed? Well, first it would be good if the specter of the current evil economy would take that boot off of everyone's neck for a while. Then maybe some more of us could afford those heavy ticket prices and the utility bill at the same time. Of course, we could attend dirt track races at the now 61 year old Riverside Speedway in West Memphis Arkansas, or venture down to Holly Springs MS for some 1/8th mile drags at Holly Springs Motor Sports. While those local venues fill a need for some regional racers, I'm thinking that the national recognition and the level of competition that goes along with competing at the national events of major racing organizations is going to be scarce around our neck of the woods without Memphis Motorsports Park in operation. Furthermore, drawing a significant spectator base pretty much demands a facility of the caliber of Memphis Motorsports Park.

Perhaps you were counting on hitting a NASCAR race at the "not-real-far-away" Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis MO. Sorry, but Dover Motorsports owns that facility as well, and has chosen to not renew it's license for NASCAR races in St. Louis after 2010. More of that need to develop "a viable market for these events" stuff... and so the big wind down continues.

But if you're a potential track owner, do not be discouraged. You couldn't build another Memphis Motorsports Park for anywhere near the asking price. Yes, you'll have to build a new schedule, but it was done before you. You're also going to have to pick up those overturned grandstands after the springtime storms knocked Millington for a loop, but insurance might help you out there. It just doesn't appear that anyone really cares while the gates are closed. You may also feel encouraged to know that there are over 5,000 fans clamoring for Memphis Motorsports Park to re-open with a Save Memphis Motorsports Park Facebook page that appeared shortly after the track was shut down.

So step right up and live the dream of a motor racing mogul... we're patiently waiting.