Midwest Racing Special Report -
An Interview With a Track Owner! By Tom Botos
Hey Racefans while chatting in a
racing chatroom I ran into Merle Holden. Merle is 64 years old
and owns Mottville (MI) Speedway in Northern Indiana. Merle
bought Mottville Speedway on October 30th 1990. After being
involved in many areas of racing he then decided he wanted to
won a race track. Lets go back in time where it all began.
Merle's father was involved in
two racing sanctioning bodies. The Fort Wayne Racing Association
and the Northeast Indiana Racing Racing Association were
pioneers helping to get racing started in the Fort Wayne,
Indiana area.At age six Merle worked the concession stand at
Bryan (OH) Speedway. Merle's dad promoted Lima Allentown
Speedway which is now known as Limaland Motorsports Park in
Ohio. Merle then sold National Speed Sport News and
Speedway/Track Programs at South Anthony (IN) Speedway. Merle
then raced in Late Models and Street Stocks in 1990. Merle was
asked to announce and handle media relations and results/points
at Plymouth (IN) Speedway for promoter Tom Isch.
In 1990 Merle inquired and
considered buying Plymouth Speedway but it did not materialize.
Merle had done just about everything else in racing but own a
race track. After purchasing Mottville Speedway and operating it
all this time Merle stated "If you want people to hate you
simply buy a race track". After he bought the track he was
getting advice from other owners and promoters and he was not
sure who to believe and trust.
Merle said there is so much more
to owning a track than what meets the eye. Merle says "my
biggest challenge is keeping the car count up every week" . "Our
driver payout scale is comparable to most tracks in the Michiana
area". "We at Mottville Speedway offer a safe,fun,family
friendly atmosphere and strive to keep concession prices
reasonable and encourage everyone to eat dinner and watch the
races at Mottville Speedway".
Mottville Speedway races on
Sunday Nights with Street Stocks,Mini Stocks and MTC Mini
Thunder Cars. Mottville is the only Sunday Night track in the
area so if you want some seat time and have fun while racing
this would be a great way to get started in racing. I told Merle
that I have not been to any tracks in Michigan yet and plan to
visit Mottville and hopefully M-40 Speedway in October of 2010.
Mottville Speedway opened in 1950
and was the premier track in the area at that time with
Kalamazoo Speedway racing on Friday Nights. When Kalamazoo
Speedway switched to Saturday Nights in the 1990's and M-40
Speedway opening in the mid 90's Mottville's car count suffered.
Mottville is doing much better now on Sunday Nights by also
adding the Street Stocks to there weekly racing program. Merle
vows that Street Stocks really draw in the fans and plans to
keep them on the racing menu indefinitely.
Mottville Speedway was the first
track in Michiana to introduce the Mini Stock Division in 2001.
Mottville also introduced the Front Wheel Drive Division in
2006.If you get a chance and want to see some grassroots racing
then come on out to Mottville Speedway on Sunday Nights because
as far as racing goes its the only game in town on Sundays every
week! Thanks Merle for this interview and good luck and I wish
you a successful 2010 racing season!.