Motor Mile Speedway in Radford VA will undergo a major transformation beginning in 2018. Mirroring the national sharp downward trend in the popularity of NASCAR racing, the track has seen a decline in attendance and fan interest in recent years. After much discussion and planning, the Speedway will not renew its NASCAR sanction for 2018 , ending its circle track chapter and looking ahead to hosting a variety of entertainment and sporting events.
The track is nestled on 170 acres of rolling hills and is a beautiful setting for many types of outdoor activities. Just what those activities will be, however, remains to be decided. “We have lots of ideas but there’s no story yet. We are sitting around the table now and hashing it out,” said co-owner David Hagan. “We have tried to make the speedway successful, but with a downturn in interest, it’s increasingly difficult to make it work. We are looking at a variety of events to bring new life and excitement to the property. We have a unique venue in terms of versatility, and our new operation will reflect that. The schedule could include everything from concerts, mud runs, festivals, camping, and even new racing events at some point. You name it and it’s probably come up at our table,” Hagan elaborated.
Hagan and his partner, Larry Shelor, are co-owners of the Shelor Motor Mile auto dealerships in nearby Christiansburg, as well as the Calfee Park/Pulaski Yankees baseball operations in Pulaski. Seeing the enthusiasm around the baseball program only confirmed in Hagan’s mind the need for a drastic change at Motor Mile Speedway. “When you see the huge family crowds that baseball is drawing just a few miles away from the Speedway, and how much those fans are enjoying the experience, it really highlights the difference between the two sports,” said Hagan. He has challenged his management team to come up with ideas that will meet the growing demand for different options in family entertainment.
The 2018 season will be a year of planning and transition. The annual Independence Day Monster Truck Show will return, along with a couple of demolition derby events. The Dragway will continue its popular “Friday Night Fury” series, along with the possibility of other special events. Management made a similar decision in 2017 on the Dragway when it discontinued the traditional bracket racing program in favor of a more open format that attracts all types of fans and racing enthusiasts.
Although General Manager Michelle Vaught is sad to see the end of the weekly racing series at MMS, she has seen the declining numbers and knows it is time to make a change. “While we respectfully celebrate the racing history of Motor Mile Speedway, we are excited about what the future may hold for this special venue. The opportunities are endless.”