FAIRLAWN, Va. (WDBJ7) The checkered flag will no longer wave at one race track in our area.
Motor Mile Speedway isn't renewing its sanction with NASCAR for the next racing season and ending a long-time tradition in the New River Valley.
"It's very disappointing," said Eddie Nester. He's raced one track in his racing career. He's made countless laps around Motor Mile Speedway since it opened, under a different name, in the late 80's. News of this track closing hit him hard. Other drivers are stunned.
"It was a surprise I mean this is a premier track I mean top-notch facility," said Ronnie Byrd, owner of Ronnie Byrd Racing in Dublin.
The speedway credits a dwindling interest in NASCAR events.
Here the general manager says the track has seen a sharp decline in attendance.
"We worked very hard and tried really everything that there was from paying the biggest purse in the country for a short track to giving away free tickets to figure out how to get the cars and how to get the drivers," said Michelle Vaught, the general manager of Motor Mile Speedway. "But all short tracks are fighting the same battle
When the gates opened at the track on race nights, Vaught says the Speedway already knew it was losing money.
"It's a culmination of battling it and thinking this will be the year, this will be the year," Vaught said.
There are other small tracks in our region similar to this one but for drivers who live in the New River Valley, that means an extra long drive to the next track.
"We've got two tracks in Kingsport and Lonesome Pine they run our class but that's two hours drive so, either way, it's going to be a long drive for us because I live close to the track here," Nester said.
"I've spoke with Ms. Rice who owns South Boston Speedway," Byrd said. "We're trying to get a Mod-4 Class there they don't currently run that division."
The Drag strip will remain open as staff spend the next year transitioning to find a new purpose for the 170 property.
Michelle Vaught: "Really everything is one the table for us from concerts to mud runs to festivals," Vaught said.