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Volunteer Speedway

Volunteer, closing until June 7, cites economy

May 13, 2008, 12:24 pm
From track reports

BULLS GAP, Tenn. (May 12) — Citing financial pressures and other events competing with Saturday night racing, Volunteer Speedway owner Joe Loven announced he'll close the 4/10-mile oval through the remainder of May. The track, among the most prominent dirt ovals in east Tennessee, is scheduled to reopen June 7.

"This is not just a quick decision I've made. I've struggled with it ... it's been developing over the past several weeks," Loven said in a track press release. "Operating a racetrack is a business, and the bottom line is that currently it's a tough time running a racetrack. The crowds are down significantly compared to last year, and I feel it's directly attributed to our ailing economy. I feel with our weekly adult admission price being only $8, that's a real bargain. But it's not a bargain if people just can't afford to spend any money besides what it takes to pay their bills associated with their daily living costs."

Loven also noted that televised racing events, including NASCAR Sprint Cup events, on Saturday nights as well as a busy Memorial Day weekend and upcoming high school graduations as things competing against weekly racetracks in coming weeks.

"If there's a NASCAR race televised and you can stay home and watch it for free, that's what many people are doing," Loven said. "Look at current gas prices of around $3.65 a gallon, and diesel prices of over $4 a gallon. People have to buy fuel to put in their vehicle to drive to and from work on a daily basis, but I've noticed many are just cutting way back on their driving."

The 34-year-old Volunteer hosts weekly Super Late Model racing and Crate Late Model racing along with several Late Model specials each season, including the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series this year. No special events were scheduled for the rest of May.

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