Progress 2012: Quality of Life

April 4, 2012

Speed and survival

Chatsworth track seeks to become hotspot again

(Continued)

Losing trust

In the past few years, the speedway has had a revolving door of promoters and even had to close down for a month due to financial trouble.

“It has gone through several promoters in the last few years,” Wilson said. “When you go and change promoters, the public loses trust in you. The fans never know if it will be open or not.”

Wilson and Keiff Ellis became the new promoters last June after the track closed down for one month in the middle of the 2011 season. Timmy Millwood was the promoter before them, and Monty Morrow held the title from 2007-2009. Ron Harris and Ronnie Sutton ran it from 2005-2007 and Scott Lee and Kristi Ayre from 2003-2005.

“If you go to a different employment each week, or have a different employer, it’s hard to adjust to that,” McPherson said. “Everybody goes into the position with the objective that you’re trying to do the best that you can.”

It wasn’t just the number of different promoters. An unintentional monopoly system with one driver winning almost all of the races did not help. McPherson tells the story how in one recent season he won each race except for two. The prospect of “racing for second” pushed other drivers away from the speedway.

“We weren’t doing nothing to do it; we weren’t cheating or anything,” McPherson said. “Obviously there was nothing going on, but it got bad for the track. They didn’t want to race because who’s going to go for second?”

Some people say the reputation and stability of the track was hurt by the reins of some promoters. According to previous Daily Citizen reports, when promoter Monty Morrow oversaw both the North Georgia Speedway and Tennessee’s Cleveland Speedway in 2009, racing at North Georgia was moved from its traditional Saturday night to Fridays — Cleveland got the coveted Saturday night spot — and then became so sporadic that few drivers chose to compete at the Murray County track.

“You are going to take care of your home track,” Wilson said.

McPherson said the insecurity of whether the track will stay open adds fuel to people’s doubts.

“We’ve run there but we haven’t been able to be competitive there,” McPherson said. “We haven’t been able to put our investment there because it’s unsecure. I can’t go buy four tires to race there Saturday night because they could be closed in five weeks.”

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Progress 2012: Quality of Life
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