Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

July 16, 2014

DE LA BASTIDE: F.W. short track closes for season

The short track racing community is dealing with some disappointing news.

The first disappointing news was that Baer Field Speedway in Fort Wayne had closed for the season. The announcement came one year after the half-mile track celebrated its 50-year anniversary.

I have been to Baer Field several times during the past few decades and always found the racing to be excellent.

There are conflicting reports of what prompted the decision on the July 4 weekend to cancel the remainder of the 2014 schedule. The promoter said it was because of negative comments being posted on social media that resulted in a drop in attendance of almost 50 percent after he spent considerable dollars on improvements to the track.

Conversely, I’ve heard that the promoter was battling with the drivers and at least some of the competitors were unhappy with the decisions being made.

Baer Field’s closing came on the heels of the announcement that Mt. Lawn Speedway near New Castle had closed for 2014.

Rumors are circulating that Baer Field will be converted into a dirt track for future racing events. A few years ago, Plymouth Speedway went that route. I hope Baer Field reopens as a paved track in 2015.

The problem is that in Indiana the number of paved tracks is declining. North of Interstate-70 there is Anderson, Winchester, Angola, Illiana, Indianapolis Speedrome and South Bend. South of I-70 is Salem, Lucas Oil Raceway, New Paris, Sportsdrome and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The other disappointing news was that the All American 400 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville might not be running super late models this year.

Word is that only crate late models will be participating in what for a long time has been one of the premier super late model races of the year.

The top super late model races in the country has for many years been considered the Snowball Derby in Florida, the Winchester 400, Red Bud 300 at Anderson Speedway, the World Cup 300 in Georgia and the All American 400.

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