The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports Columns

July 15, 2014

Ken de la Bastide: Disappointing short track news abounds

Baer Field closes for season

During the past two weeks, there has been disappointing news coming out of the local short track racing community.

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 to cancel the remainder of the 2014 schedule on the July 4 weekend.

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 Speeddrome 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 has been for a long time one of the premier super late model races of the year.

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