By John Berti, Karnac.com Senior News Editor/Writer
Bronson Speedway, after over a year of inaction, will be reopening this Spring in the hands of new ownership. The new owners are Chris and Ann Young from Calverton, NY, a hamlet of Suffolk County, on Long Island. The Young family has had a long association with the sport of auto racing in a competitive nature spanning 40 years.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ann about the acquisition of the track, their background in the auto racing and their plans for the future of Bronson Speedway. I posed several questions to her and got her responses.
JB – What made you and your husband decide to purchase Bronson Speedway?
AY – We have a love of racing that has spanned some 40 years. My husband, Chris, is a longtime NASCAR modified competitor at Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, NY. I have been a NASCAR official serving in the capacity of a scorer at Riverhead. Our son, Chris, competes in Legend car racing. We just figured it was time to experience racing from the other side as track owners.
JB – Who will be running the track for you?
AY – Local resident Mike Schenk will serve as our facilities manager. He will oversee the maintenance of the facility and assist us with operations. Chris and I will be hands on promoters and I will be at most events.
JB – Will you and your family be moving to Florida permanently?
AY – We intend to keep our home in Calverton for the time being as my husband and son wish to continue racing at Riverhead. We also have a condo at Daytona Beach and on occasions when we come to Bronson we will be able to reside in one of the houses that came with the track purchase.
JB – Why do you feel you will be successful at Bronson Speedway considering that the track has had many operators in the past and many tracks have closed in Florida.
AY – First let me say that failure is not an option. We plan to bring a humbleness to racing at the track. Our drivers, car owners, crew members, and fans will be treated as if they were clients and guests. They will be treated with the utmost respect. It will be our privilege to serve them. Any employee that does not heed this policy will not be employed for long at this track.
We intend to have several in house cars available to rent. We feel this will help young racers who yearn to get involved in the sport, but don’t have the finances to have their own race teams. Mentoring will be a strong point at Bronson. If there is someone who wants to become a race car driver we’ll be there to encourage and support them in any way we can.
JB – What divisions do you intend to regularly run at your track?
AY – As this is our year of getting into play, we intend to meet with the drivers in the area to get a sense of what they run and what they would like to see us run. We are firm believers in Legend cars so I can assure you that Legend cars will have a strong position in our race programs. Our goal is to build a strong following of our own so as to assure good fields of cars, keen competition, and a great show for the fans.
JB – Do you intend to have traveling series race at Bronson?
AY – Yes, we would like that very much. Our long range plans are to bring in some of the larger touring series to the track.. I’d even like to see us do a North-South Challenge type race down the road.
We intend to work closely with Dennis Anderson of Grave Digger fame who more recently has added King Sling , a monster mudder to his arsenal, for the Mud Truck Series so as to bring a show like that to Bronson.
JB – Do you have any idea of an opening date?
AY – We are not prepared to release a grand opening date as of yet. We have a team of local people working every day to prepare the facility for racing. As you know the facility was vacant for well over a year, so a lot of maintainance was neglected. The grandstands, concession stands and the rest room facilities are in the process of being readied for fans.
We also met with an electrical contractor to repair and replace some of the lighting issues we discovered.
We appreciate all the interest in Bronson Speedway and will release this information as soon as it becomes available. Being racers, we don’t want to have to rescind any dates so it is wiser, we believe, to post the dates after all the work is complete.
It is nice to get a track back for a change considering how many Florida tracks have closed down in recent decades. It is the feeling of this writer that the Youngs will be very successful in running Bronson Speedway. They have a great attitude that shows more of a concern for the racers, fans and the continued regeneration of the sport than for their own self interests. I look forward to the grand opening and wish great success to the Youngs in their new endeavor.