Racing might return to Benton in spring

Friday, January 12, 2007

Racing may return to the Auto Tire and Parts RacePark in Benton for the first time in nearly three years this spring, officials with the track confirmed Thursday.

Doug Friese, who is part of the ownership group that took control of the track six years ago, said a tentative agreement has been reached with a promotions group. The agreement should be finalized early next week, clearing the way for a formal announcement.

"Nothing is ever a done deal until its done," Friese said, "but we're really excited that this is going to happen and give local people a place to go for racing."

The three-eighths of a mile dirt track has not been open for racing since May 2004, when a group that was leasing the track closed operations after being unable to pay the $42,800 purse on an event on the Stacker2 Xtreme Dirtcar Series circuit. That promotions group, Dirt Track Promotions, operated by Stan and Ruth Myers, was successfully sued by the track ownership later in 2004 for failing to meet the terms of its lease.

The track owners had been unable to make arrangements with other promotional outfits or to sell the facility over the last two years.

The new promotions group is headed by Sikeston businessman Billy Clayton, who operates C & C Motor Sports and Racing.

The deal was first reported by KFVS on Saturday night.

Clayton confirmed Thursday that the agreement was tentative and that he would be willing to issue an official announcement next week following the completion of the agreement. His goal was to have racing at the track beginning in April, he said.

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