The Estevan Motor Speedway had a challenging start to the 2012 season, but they finished strong and overall had a good year, according to James Gustafson, who has been the speedway's president.
The speedway recapped the past year, looked ahead to 2013, elected a new executive and examined financial statements during its annual general meeting November 19 at the Days Inn. Gustafson said they lost the first four programs of the year due to weather, but they were able to reschedule most of them, and nearly have a full season of racing.
Attendance and car counts were up from 2011, and Gustafson attributes the difference to a return to weekend racing. The track held most of their programs in 2011 on weekdays. The bulk of their events in 2012 were on Fridays and Saturdays.
“Once you give up those Saturday programs, it's very tough to get them back, because Williston races every Saturday now,” said Gustafson.
Attendance on Friday nights was actually better than what they had on Saturdays, he said.
Those who attended the annual meeting decided that the three classes that have been offered in recent years – hobby stocks, stock cars and modifieds – would continue in 2013. A much talked about change – adding a sport mod class – won't be happening, he said. Changes to the engines for modifieds have made the modified class more affordable, Gustafson said, which takes away the appeal of the sport mods.
“There's a cheap payout on them,” said Gustafson, who noted that sport mod payouts are often comparable to hobby stocks.
Sport mods did participate in an exhibition race in Estevan in August, and they might appear in Estevan for invitational races next year.
Those who attended the annual meeting also suggested dropping the trophy dashes from the programs to cut back on the length of the race programs.
“They want to shorten the program, they want to put the emphasis on kids a little bit more, and give them some more entertainment, while the parents can sit and enjoy the races,” said Gustafson.
The new executive will decide whether to eliminate the dashes, Gustafson said.
Event security was also discussed at the meeting, and Gustafson expects that the Speedway will need to have paid security workers starting next year.
Gustafson won't be on the executive next year. He has been the president for several years.
Kelly Baumann, Keith Cassidy, Gary Goudy Sr., Jim Harris, Dale Labatte, Geoff Mann, Rod Pickering, Lynn Trobert, Ed Turnbull and Tyson Turnbull have been elected to the board. They'll determine who will hold the executive positions.
The club will likely have a financial surplus of $40,000 for this year, Gustafson said, and they're pretty happy with the financial results of 2012.