FT. WAYNE, Ind. — On May 11, 2013, Baer Field Speedway will kick off its 50th season of racing. When the gates open for the first time, local race fans will be greeted with many changes to the historic speed plant on the south side.
“What fans will see, is the first phases of our rebuilding project,” said new promoter Jon Raney. “We began work just days after the equipment auction last October. It took a solid month, just to clean up and dispose of all the accumulated debris, brush, tires, car parts, and abandoned buildings. Once that was completed, and the lease was signed, we moved on to the actual renovations.”
The first thing fans will see, is a new sign at the corner of Bluffton and Winters Rd. Once on the property, they will be greeted by a 60-foot welcome sign from Excell Color Graphics that celebrates 50 years of racing.
Through the turnstiles, fans will walk on a freshly repaved midway area with the new asphalt stretching the length of the grandstands. Gone will be the old scoring tower and VIP booth, replaced by new facilities and a spotter’s stand for the racers. The speedway restrooms will also be receiving some much-needed attention and plans are for a low-power FM radio system to be installed, so fans and pit crews can hear the PA over their headphones.
“We would have liked to tackle the speedway grandstands before the opener,” said Raney. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the lease signed until January and lost almost all of March to inclement weather, so that will fall to the next phase.”
Future renovation plans call for replacing the frontstretch wall; modernizing and replacing the track lights; installation of a scoreboard; rebuilding the trackside office and much of the pit area; and repaving the track itself.
“It took a great many years for the Speedway to get into its current state,” said Raney. “We are hopeful that fans and competitors will bear with us and understand that we can’t upgrade everything in a single off-season. We’re in this for the long-haul and committed to make the Speedway a premier Fort Wayne entertainment attraction.”
The Speedway will kick off the 50th anniversary season on Saturday, May 11, with the HOSS Outlaw Winged Sprints in the first of two appearances of the season.