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Cumberland Speedway Opening Moved To 2016

June 16th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

Citing the challenges of reopening a racing facility that has hosted only one race since 2012, organizers of the revived Cumberland Speedway Series and county officials agreed Tuesday to delay the return of dirt track racing at Allegany County Fairgrounds until Spring 2016. 

Complications in renovating the facility that resulted in cancellation of the season’s early dates have proven too big to stage safe entertaining races in 2015, according to the joint statement. 

The Cumberland Speedway group, formed in late 2014 to revive the track, has been coordinating repairs and renovation at the Fairgo Half-Mile together with Fairgrounds and county personnel.  Work completed to date includes continuing re-grading and clay replacement on the racing surface, reopening of drainage areas, painting and repairing grandstands and fences and replacing public address equipment. 

“We understood from the start that the racing facility at the Allegany County Fairgrounds needed work, mostly because it had not been used for some time,” New Speedway manager Calvin Davis explained.   Davis estimates a time frame for the completed work to be 90-120 days, plus settling time during the winter.

Allegany County Commission president Bill Valentine, a motorsports enthusiast and former dirt track competitor, applauds the group’s decision to work to replace the old track guardrail. “Cumberland Speedway Inc. has carefully reviewed their options for securing and installing new safety rails, and has selected a supplier.”

“We committed back when we announced the Fairgrounds was going to be a first-class, safe facility with a great racing surface,” Valentine commented.

“It takes time for the new clay to become bonded to the re-graded track bed, plus we need to be sure we have the best and most cost effective plan for improving the safety barriers around the track,” said Davis.

Promoter Craig Knippenberg noted that the combined effort has vastly improved the racetrack and will enhance the fan experience. 

“But we’ve not reached a point where we can deliver a safe, exciting and entertaining product for our drivers, fans and sponsors on our planned timeline,” Knippenberg commented.  The major remaining issue, he said, is the selection, purchase and installation of additional guardrails.

“When you start talking about driver, fan and worker safety – we need to make a well considered choice that isn’t rushed by scheduling considerations,” Valentine shared.

“As eager as we are to put our planned promotions and amenities in place this season, doing this right is more important than doing this right now,” Knippenberg concluded.

Speedway promoters and county representatives continue working together in the spirit of their original agreement to open the track for a full 2016 schedule.  Organizers are moving quickly to meet with season sponsors to keep them involved in the venture and will be announcing policies concerning pre-purchased boxes, tickets and advertisements later this week.


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