By Jack Pugh
BELLEVILLE, IL — In 2011, there is a change coming to the Belle Clair Speedway with the management of the track. Belle Clair Fairground personnel no longer will be involved with the management of Belle Clair Speedway. The race track is being leased by Belle Clair Promotions and will be promoted by Don Hoener for the 2011 season. There are options for years after 2011.
This means that Stan Schanter will no longer be making decisions for the race track like he has for the past 16 or so years. Belle Clair Fairgrounds will provide the facility, but not manage races. Belle Clair Promotions will be the people to contact with problems with the race track.
This arrangement is similar to what POWRi has done for the past five years or so with the Midgets shows that are held at the track. POWRi leases the race track and runs the shows with no involvement from Belle Clair Fairgrounds beyond track preparation.
The racing program will be similar to what has been put on in the past. The same class of cars will race at the track under United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) sanction.
“The Fairgrounds has run it all these years and they decided to get out of the promoting business. They wanted to lease it out” Hoener said.
Belle -Clair Speedway shut down earlier than scheduled in 2010 because of weather and several other considerations. During the spring of 2010, the race track had to cancel three straight nights of racing due to weather related issues, but Hoener said there were no plans to shut down the track entirely.
So far the 2011 schedule includes the UMP Summer Nationals on June 29th and the St. Clair County Fair week ‘100‘ more could possibly be added soon. It will also include several POWRi midget shows. Currently there are POWRi shows scheduled for July 1-2, August 10 and October 1 with a few more to be added later. Weekly racing is currently expected to start on March 18.
Season passes are available at the fairgrounds office as well as Senior passes for those 60 years young and older, both at a discount price.
2011 will be a trying time for the entertainment dollar, but Belle Clair Speedway provides some of the best racing in the St. Louis area. It has been running weekly programs on Friday nights for 62 years. 2011 will be the 63 year of racing at Belle Clair Speedway. They will continue the great good racing from some of the finer drivers in the area. All the national UMP champions foe 2010 made frequent visits to Belle Clair and two of them , Jeff Herzog (UMP Sportsmen ) and Brad Venhaus (UMP Factory Stock) made Belle Clair their Friday night home track. Belle Clair Speedway is a very economical track to race for the racer. It is easy on fuel, tres and engine wear. Many racers are starting to realize the big tracks are too costly to run. We expect great car counts this season.
The 2011 schedule is not complete yet, but fans can look forward to some more of the entertainment that was started last year. Look for special nights with different activities. The kids from 3 – 12 will still have the Junior Fan club to keep them involved. Nickel races and the bike race will still go on. Families are what is being targeted so that all who attend the races will have more fun than just watching the races.
Belle Clair Speedway in Belleville, IL will be in operation in 2011 under new management so plan to attend.