BV Raceway roars through an upbeat season

Friday, July 19, 2019

Headed into the stretch run of the summer campaign, things are looking good for the Buena Vista Raceway.

Despite some frustrating weather and two cancellatians including this week, car counts and fan numbers have been right where second-year track manager Joey Ciechanowski hoped to see them.

“We’ve had a good season, headed into the midseason break last week. We feel like the track is going in the right direction,” he said.

This week’s event featured the Sport Compact Special, along with the always-popular kids’ car rides.

The 24th will be a big night for BVR with the Dirt Knights IMC Modifieds Tour televised event and All-Star Qualifier. Ciechanowski expects around 100 cars for the evening.

The 31st will include all classes of racing and a kids bus track tour.

August 7 is King of the Hill night for stock cars and hobby stocks, returning an event that has been missing from the track in recent years. Modifieds will not race that night, giving the drivers a chance to compete in a couple of big money events for that class taking place elsewhere in the state.

The season closes with the track Season Championships on August 14. “It’s hard to believe how fast the season has gone. It seems like a couple weeks ago that we were sitting here trying to get things started,” Ciechanowski reflects.

The highlight of the season to date has been the annual Kyle Suter Memorial in early July. “We had 119 cars total, and a packed house grandstand-wise - man, it was busy,” he said.

“We’re looking to finish the season out strong. With baseball and softball finishing up, we’re hoping to see people come out to see racing. We are very grateful to the communities, the sponsors, the drivers and all of the fans - without the support from all of them, the doors would be closed.”

Things were close to that status before Ciechanowski was announced as new manager in December of 2017.

He hasn’t yet committed to return next year, saying the agreement with the board is on a year to year basis. “I don’t say no to anything. If things continue to look strong, I don’t rule out continuing,” he said.

He’s found the job challenging, to say the least. There’s the maintenance, the planning, the promotion, the communication, concessions and dozens of other details to constantly attend to. “You can’t do just one thing well, it takes all of it being right.”

Loyalty helps. “We have a pretty strong following both in fans and racers. People come here from all over northwest Iowa. A lot of people like this track, and we work hard to make sure it is in good shape for them. We’re known for a good surface and a fast show, and that’s brought us the fastest racers in northwest Iowa,” Ciechanowski says.

If you’ve only seen racing on TV, you’re missing the show, he notes. “There’s just something about being there live. The action, the sounds, the excitement - the atmosphere is something that just tends to grab you.”

The area is fortunate to have its own raceway to add to a lengthy list of options for summer entertainment. “What we hope to do it reach the people who aren’t the die-hard fan, to get them out to the track to see what it’s all about,” the manager says.