Promoters of Buena Vista Raceway hope an improved track, a new pit entrance and an expanded racing season will be changes that help shift the enthusiasm of fans and racers into a higher gear this season, as the leaders are making final preparations for the start of the 2003 edition of the summerlong tradition at Alta on April 30.
Checkered Flag Promotions partners John Baumann and Lee Meyer will officially mark their second season as promoters of the 42-year-old race track next month, when International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) races and non-sanctioned contests will start every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Meyer said he and Baumann were pleased at how the season progressed last summer, and said they are looking forward to the beginning of the 2003 campaign.
"We're anticipating a good season," Meyer said. "We're excited about being able to expand our season, because hopefully that will attract more racers and fans to the raceway.
"We only had one rainout last year and the fan base was good, so we were really pleased with how it went," Baumann said.
As in past years, the 3/8 mile dirt track will feature IMCA-sanctioned Hobby, Stock Car and Modified racing vehicles, and will also showcase a full slate of BVR Bombers, a non-sanctioned group of cars. There will be also three more races this year than last summer's 18 total events.
Several special nights will highlight the 2003 calendar, including two races during the Buena Vista County Fair, with the June 19 race featuring USMTS Modified vehicles. The Kyle Suter Memorial Race will be held on July 2 and the Budweiser Special will take place on July 3, and the raceway may be open on Aug. 31 to participate in the Alta Quasquicentennial Celebration.
Baumann and Meyer said they have made several improvements to the track this year, including the addition of new dirt on the turns of the semi-banked oval, which Meyer said would be beneficial for the racers.
"The angle on the racetrack gets worn down after a while, and by putting on new dirt we were able to build up the bank a little more, which will improve the racing," Meyer said.
The pair have also moved the pit entrance just to the west of last year's location, which they said would provide more room for bigger haulers to enter the infield of the racing arena.
The recent addition of the Crawford County Racetrack in Denison as a fellow IMCA-sanctioned track will also be a positive, the promoters said, as racers from that facility may be more inclined to travel up to Alta to compete at BVR.
Baumann and Meyer said the April opening will be the culmination of nine months of work during the offseason, a job that both said was something they thoroughly enjoyed.
"We both knew what it would be like coming in, so I think that was to our advantage," Meyer said. "I consider it my hobby, and just like any hobby, it doesn't matter how much work you have to put into it. You want to do it because it's fun, and this is fun to us."