Update: 9/11/2012 6:45 P.M.
A year ago, rains which lasted the entire spring, made it impossible for events to take place at the West Virginia Motor Speedway. While, at the time, it was hoped it would get under way by summer, it turns out the 2011 season never happened.
And it has taken more than a year to get the dirt track in shape for any racing at all this year. That will finally happen this weekend: a race named for the track's long-time maintainance director, Buzzy Holiday.
"And I would like to throw one more, possibly two more in, weather permitting, and have a total of four this year," says Lynn Chapman, a Charleston-area man who leases the track from its owners. "We will have our race schedule out in December for next year. My objective is to have major events once a month, two race night events."
The track's operators say dirt track racing is very popular in the area. Enough that it invited fans to come to view Tuesday night's practice for next Sunday's races. But they're looking for other future events, ones that are not racing-oriented, that could also draw crowds.
"We'll always have race events, but I would like to see concerts or some type of small fair," Chapman says. "It's unlimited; we have calls for an archery contest. So it's really unlimited what we can do with this facility."
The speedway is still in negotiations to hold another race, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 6th.
When the West Virginia Motor Speedway brought in some technical college students to do preparation work on the track in early spring, it had high hopes the track would be ready for the first planned racing of the season.
That was scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.
But in spite of the students' best efforts...and thanks to the weather...the project is just half-completed, with the holiday weekend ten days away.
"I was here four weeks ago," recalls promoter Brian Ferrell, "and, if you look at the back of the race track, there's a bridge, and the creek was actually over the bridge. And it's really discouraging, from our point of view."
That means the races planned for Memorial Day weekend are likely to be delayed, probably until later in the summer. And the next event, scheduled for the second week in June, is doubtful as well. Currently, it's possible the first events will take place in late June.
"We have Monster Jam coming in on June 25th and 26th," Ferrell said. "The race track does not need to be completed for that show to go on. So we are still on for Monster Jam."
Cynthia Woodworth, Program Coordinator for Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College, says the progress the students have made is nothing short of amazing, considering there were only three days with sunshine for the entire month of April.