Effort to Save Oklahoma's Speedway Hits A Roadblock

Friday, January 22nd 2010, 6:08 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A judge's ruling isn't stopping racing fans from keeping the State Fair Speedway open.

Peter Davis said the State Fair Speedway is a family tradition.

"On a race night, you see so many people that do become your friends, or they're part of your family," Davis said.

That's why he and other Speedway supporters raced to the Oklahoma County Courthouse this week. They were hoping a judge would give the green light for this year's season, but they were stopped in their tracks.

"Evidently there's been some on-going issues at the race track, electrical and stuff that haven't been taken care of," said Kevin Pickard, Oklahoma Racing Associations.

The Oklahoma Racing Association along with racing promoter Lanny Edwards filed an injunction to stop electrical work at the grandstands. The petitioners said the city was in violation of its contract with the promoter after it canceled the season.

"It was a pretty big shock," Pickard said.

But on Friday Oklahoma County Judge Daniel Owens denied that injunction.

The city and the fairgrounds argued it would cost too much to fix all the electrical problems and to bring the grandstands up to compliance with the American Disabilities Act. They also call it a public threat, but the ORA said they aren't buying it.

"It's been there for 57 years and there have been no incidents, so we didn't understand the urgency to shut it down," Pickard said.

Still, the judge denied the injunction, citing safety concern, but fans aren't finished. Supports said they have enough fuel to keep going.

Save Our Speedway, a group of racing fans determined to keep the more than 50-year-old track open, says they'll continue fighting for the track. Save Our Speedway is hosting a fundraiser this Thursday in Moore and they've already started a petition. There's also a rally planned for later this month in Oklahoma City.

"We're not going to stop fighting for this race track until it's mowed to the ground basically bulldozed," Davis said.

A spokesman for Oklahoma State Fair Park Inc. said there are no plans to tear the grandstands down at this time.

Find out more information about the Save Our Speedway campaign.