ATPR owners, lesee take dispute to court

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Racing has long been concluded for this season on the dirt oval at the Auto Tire and Parts NAPA RacePark in Benton, Mo., but some drama from the 2004 season still remains.

Representatives of the RacePark ownership group and the 2004 lessee, Dirt Track Promotions, were in court Monday morning in Benton for a civil lawsuit.

Judge David Mann listened to testimony and said he expects to issue a ruling in a few days.

The owners of the RacePark are seeking from Dirt Track Promotions about $30,000, including $27,330 in rental payments from April through August.

Doug Friese, president of the RacePark, said the track owners and Dirt Track agreed to a three-year lease beginning with a $50,000 rental fee for 2004. The track owners received the first of eight $6,250 payments in March.

The parties negotiated a rate of $2,300 for April with credit for work on the track facility. Dirt Track stopped payment on that check and did not make any payments in May -- when the last race took place -- nor June, July and August, Friese said.

Friese also said the two parties had agreed to split some advertising costs and that eight or nine headsets for radio communication valued at $2,800 were removed from the RacePark.

Stan Myers of Dirt Track Promotions contended that the lease called for equipment at the track to be in working condition at the start of the agreement.

Myers said track maintanance equipment, a toilet in the bathroom, the circuit breaker at the concession stand and a beer cooler were not in working condition.

Both parties agreed that upkeep on the equipment after the start of the agreement were the responsibility of the lessee.

"It was just a broke-down mess," Myers said in his testimony. "They would just patch it up a little bit and leave."

Myers added that a promoter leasing the drag racing facility on the property conducted events on the same nights as the oval track, something Myers said he was assured would not happen per an agreement in the drag strip's lease agreement.

"I was down there so much, I lost my job -- which I know is my fault -- and I lost my home," said Myers.

Dirt Track stopped running events in May.

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