CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — The historic Atomic Speedway, most recently Schrader’s K-C Raceway, near Chillicothe, Ohio is up for sale and will not open in 2012.
Difficult economic times and bad weather that resulted in small attendance figures at various junctures — including last spring, whittled away at the economic foundation to keep the track open. While car counts were at near record numbers, and the racing was the same high quality that Atomic was historically known for, the economics of sustaining another season were not there. Over the past three years, the speedway was owned and operated by Jeff and Vicki Schrader.
“As of Monday the track is again 100 percent mine,” said sprint-car racer Jimmy Nier. “And the whole operation is up for sale. If I keep it, the track will not open in 2012. At this point in my life I want to dedicate my time to my racing and my family.”
Nier took time off from racing to operate the track for several years.
“The first time around I put a ton of money into making improvements. I love that place and that’s why I bought it the first time around; to keep it open. But as I said before when we put it up for sale three years ago, I don’t want to see my Mom and Dad work themselves to death at the race track. If I own it, I know that is what they would do. They love Atomic Speedway as well.”
Nier bought the track from Jason Laugherty, who after one night of being an owner-promoter threw in the towel. For the previous 18 years, the Karshner family operated the speedway as K-C Raceway.
In 1953 a group of Chillicothe businessmen realized a plan that had been in the making for several years. The group, which consisted of racing fans, drivers, and car owners, sought to provide a premier racing facility for the rapidly growing sport they knew as stock car racing. It was the vision of this particular group of men — the Chillicothe Stock Car Racing Ass’n — that led to the construction of Atomic Speedway, which became known nationwide as K-C Raceway in 1985. As of Oct. 14, 2011 K-C Raceway once again became Atomic Speedway in a move the Schrader’s hoped would help bring prosperity back to the track.
Nier noted that the track “can be a money maker.”
“The first couple years we ran the place, I tried to run it like a race fan and we lost money. The last few years we ran it like a business and we made money. If someone comes along and runs it like a business, I am confident they will make a go of it.
“As much as I hate to see the track close, it just isn’t going to open unless a buyer comes along.”BREAKING NEWS: SPEED SPORT is back in print with a new monthly format! Subscribe for just $24.95. Special offer for former subscribers.