Apply the brakes: RRV Speedway's future in doubt
The Red River Valley Speedway hasn't been black-flagged yet. But the West Fargo track is running under caution.
At Thursday's Red River Valley Fair board meeting, the board put the half-mile
track's future on hold, scheduling a special meeting for the near future.
"In the past, we've said that if things didn't turn around we would take another look at this," fair board president David Strand said. "The speedway is not profitable. I think we have to look at a list of options."
The date of this special meeting has not been set.
In the meantime, Strand, Vice President Darnell Lundstom and Secretary-Treasurer Bill Hoffman will look at all of the options for the RRVS before the fair board will decide on which direction to go with the track.
"I think that meeting will have to happen as soon as possible," Strand said.
In the financial report for the speedway handed out at Thursday's meeting, the track showed a net income of $13,237.
However, Bryan Schulz - the fair's general manager - pointed out a number of track expenses not on the report that would put the track in the red.
Schulz cited costs from employee wages for track setup before races and clean up on Saturdays following races, payroll for ticket sellers, office staff and the fire department among other costs, and he said those costs were estimated around $68,000.
"We have to be fiscally responsible," Schulz said. "If we're going to go $30-40,000 into the hole on anything, it doesn't make sense."
One board member pointed out that even without Schulz's suggested loss that wasn't on the financial report, the track only made roughly $1,000 in each of its 13 nights of racing this season.
"We have to take into consideration all of the parts that go into our weekly races," Schulz said. "We have to ask ourselves if it is worth it, financially."
Schulz also brought up infrastructure costs to the track - such as asphalt replacement in the infield - that will bring forward even more costs.
There was some resistance to the loss of the track at the meeting, as a handful of drivers pleaded with the board to make sure it does its due diligence to explore all options for the future of the track.
One of the options talked about at Thursday's meeting was leasing the track to an independent party.
The board said it has already been approached by one interested party, but didn't name the party or reveal their bid to take it over in the interest of putting said party at a competitive disadvantage.
"He has some ideas with what he would like to do," Strand said. "So I think it's time for discussion on that."
More answers will come when the three-person committee delivers its findings to the rest of the board at the meeting in the near future.
However, the sentiment of the board on Thursday was that the RRVS was not a profitable venture for the fair board any longer.
"The bottom line is that there aren't enough people coming to the races to pay the bills," Strand said. "We hear that the admission is too high, that the back gate is too high, that the payouts aren't high enough.
"Financially, is if foolish to be putting in this much time? It's just not worth i