The Emo Speedway will undergo a plethora of changes this season, including a return to the Borderland Racing Association under a new promoter and a new racing night.
Ed Rea, who has been a fixture with the Emo Speedway since the mid-1960s, will become the track’s new promoter, taking over from Sonny Ferris, who held that job for the past two seasons.
Rea said the track simply could not be maintained under the private ownership of Ferris and instead will now be run as a non-profit organization.
“They thought that by switching to a private owner, they could do better, but you just can’t make money [that way], you need free help,” Rea stressed yesterday.
Rea said they are in the process of forming an auxiliary membership of volunteers who will help run the food booths, take tickets at the gate, and with fundraising throughout the season.
He noted several fundraising events are slated for this season. He also admitted they have “major changes” in the works for the track but asked that they be kept under wraps until they’re officially confirmed.
But perhaps the biggest change for this season will see the racing action shifted to Thursday evenings instead of the traditional Friday night racing.
Rea said the changes were intended to get more cars and people out to the track, which has seen a decline in attendance.
“[The attendance] was terrible,” he said. “We had a lack of cars and cars are what bring people in.
“And Friday was a bad night because people go out to play baseball, go fishing and camping, and [ride] their jet skis,” he noted.
He added long lineups at the border caused by anglers coming across into Canada on Friday nights also were a detriment to those who simply wanted to come across and watch the racing.
“People weren’t going to wait up to three hours to get across to watch racing,” he said, adding Sunday also was a bad time because people often were just too tired to go to racing after a busy weekend.
But while Rea said the new night would be beneficial to fans, he did admit it would make it more difficult on the drivers, especially those from northern Minnesota who will be making the trip to Emo for six “points shows” this season.
Still, he said the track will stress getting drivers out for the new street stock class, which will see “quite a change” from last season.
Opening night of racing is slated for Thursday, May 14 (weather permitting).
Special nights this season include the Winged Outlaws Sprints (June 13), the return appearance of the Hell Drivers monster truck show (June 24) and a double-header weekend in conjunction with the Emo fair (Aug. 13-14).