Jukasa Motor Speedway - bad news

rsk1139

Veteran
Stakeholders of Jukasa Motor Speedway have made the difficult decision to close Jukasa Motor Speedway for business, effective
immediately. There are no plans to re-open. We are extremely thankful for the fans, competitors, staff and partners for their support of Jukasa Motor Speedway since its reopening in 2017.
 

Uncle Paul

Newbie
Can't believe they spent all that money to make it a truly gorgeous race track and now it's gone to be gone. Damn shame.
 

uticamike

Racing Genius
Owner died.. Family has NO interest in continuing. Unless someone comes along and buys it....gonezo.
 

leadfoot4

Champion
Owner died.. Family has NO interest in continuing. Unless someone comes along and buys it....gonezo.

Mike, I'm glad you posted that, as after reading the initial post about the track closing, I looked it up, as I wasn't all that familiar with the place. What I saw was a very nice facility, with a good website, and wondered how the place could suddenly shut down.

Having said that, what I also think I saw, was a track located pretty far away from any large towns or cities, which made me think back to the earlier discussion, here, at RNY, regarding the lack of crowds at Lake Erie Speedway. It's really crazy and/or disheartening, that people will GLADY spend MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars (OUR money!!), to build a "stick and ball" venue right in the heart of the city, but if you mention "motorsports facility", you're banished to the "middle of nowhere", like you have the plague......and then have to struggle to get people to attend the races on a regular basis. How many people will drive to a track that's somewhere between 2 and 3 hours away, every week?

And speaking of this, did anything ever become of "Shang II", or is it simply sitting there, slowly returning to Mother Nature?
 

BOZO6106

Veteran
Shang -2 is returning to mother nature but a few local racers have talked about buying it and running it.A few racers still use it for practice and testing.I attended the first race ever held there in 2009 and man what an awesome fast track.
 
It is in the middle of nowhere but within an hours drive for 1 million people, 80 min to Buffalo and within two hours of 4 million ish people. It stopped being a weekly track in the late 70’s or early eighties. Main reason that I know of for changing to a special events track was how hard it was on engines and how hard you hit the wall due to its size. Did ok with special events with asa, big rigs and cascar. Those series went away or diminished and took the track with it.
 

raceannouncer

Racing Genius
Any motorsports facility located far away from densely-populated areas is a double-edged sword. Good since the location is far away--mostly immune to neighbor complaints and the inevitable "urban sprawl". Also, bad since the location is far away; it becomes challenging to attract both participants and spectators alike to maintain business with the necessary operating expenses and adequate profit-making opportunities...
 
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leadfoot4

Champion
Any motorsports facility located far away from densely-populated areas is a double-edged sword. Good since the location is far away--mostly immune to neighbor complaints and the inevitable "urban sprawl". Also, bad since the location is far away; it becomes challenging to attract both participants and spectators alike to maintain business with the necessary operating expenses and adequate profit-making opportunities...

I agree, 100%.

"Canuk5902" said, in a post, above, that Jukasa is "80 minutes to Buffalo and within two hours of 4 million ish people". While that may be true, you have to ask the question, how many people, out of that 4 million, are "die hard race fans", to the point that they'd drive 2 hours (or more) to see a race, on a regular basis. Keep in mind, it's one thing to set out at 4:30-5PM, in daylight hours, to drive to the track, But it's quite another thing, to drive the 2 hours home, when the races end at 10:30-11PM (sometimes later).

I had a friend, who lived in the same neighborhood as I did, back in the 70s, and he was a real "die hard" race fan. He and I were regular fixtures at Spencer's, on Friday nights, for a number of years, and we also visit Lancaster and/or Oswego, on Saturdays, 3-4 times a year. At the time, we lived on the east side of Rochester, so Spencer's was a "slam dunk", with Lancaster and Oswego being about 90 minutes from us. We didn't think too much of it, we wanted to see the races.

Time passed, and my buddy migrated to Florida, quite a while ago, although we still keep in touch. Over time, a number of the short tracks in Florida have closed, I would assume due to "urban sprawl". My buddy tells me that if he wants to see a race, these days, he's looking at a 2-3 hour drive, to one of the two tracks that still operate. He's basically my age, therefore retired, and he never married, so he has no family obligations or job responsibilities to occupy his time, so being "out late" by going to the races isn't an issue for him.....yet he says that 2-3 hours is beyond the time frame that he's willing to drive, on a regular basis. He now goes to the track 2-3 time a year.
 

BOZO6106

Veteran
I used to drive to Shangri-la both as a fan and a driver in the late model/super stock class from Fulton every Saturday.The drive is 2 hours by car as a fan and 3 hours hauling the race car.I would race and then drive home the same night usually getting home around 2 A.M. I would camp out when i was not racing and get up Sunday morning and pack up and be home by 1 p.m.I feel as we get older that a motorhome is the way to go to these far off races,that way you can take your time and enjoy yourself.
 

raceannouncer

Racing Genius
I think Lancaster and maybe Oswego are aberrations that could be tossed out of this discussion because of their location(s). Hell, Oswego is still located within the confines of the city!!! Here in the Northeast, (especially in New York state and Pennsylvania), race fans are pretty fortunate (and some might argue, somewhat spoiled) because of the number of tracks located in pretty close proximity to each other; dirt ovals make up the bulk of them but there are other choices. Additionally, there are pavement ovals, while not as plentiful as dirt, which offer many locations but just 4 dragstrips (at least in NY state) and one major only one NASCAR facility (two if you include Pocono). Road racing drivers and fans have only the Glen and potentially Pocono. Only the Southeast part of the country might be considered to have more concentration of tracks in their area(s). I announced at Iowa Speedway and the inevitable discussion came up about how many racetracks were located close to one another and how many tracks fans might attend on a yearly basis. Knoxville quickly comes to mind but he bemoaned the fact that a close to 4-hour drive was needed to attend racing at other locations, mainly due to the smaller size of the state. I pretty much agree that 2-3 hour "drives" are indeed now the maximum traveling time most fans might consider the limit of how far they're willing to go...when I was much younger I wanted to attend as many races as I could. My limit at the time was 4-6 hours. Speaking of "die-hards", there are some here that go even longer and some still post in their signature how many races and different tracks they've attended during the year! Others are actually willing to go further. Obviously, there are many drivers, teams and fans who are often willing to "go the extra mile" to get their racing "fix". Again, dirt oval participants (and fans) don't seem to be all that averse to traveling long distances to other tracks! Throw in the recently reopened border to Ontario, Canada tracks and we are indeed very lucky (and spoiled!)
 
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A million people within an hour is more than enough. Ohsweken speedway is only fifteen minutes from jukasa which does well. Most tracks in Ontario are in worse locations. IMO it is just to big for regular local racers and to small for the big leagues.
 

raceannouncer

Racing Genius
I totally agree with your assessment of Jukasa's two-headed monster issue...Your explanation of a "million people" within an hour should have the "potential" somewhere in the wording. There may be "a million" to draw from but too hard to attract people or convert them to race fans, IMHO. 1% of that million people is 10,000 and I think ANY regional or local facility owner/promoter would be thrilled with a number like that!
 

Turbo01

Veteran
When I was a kid, my dad crew chiefed for Gail Barber. When he moved up to modifieds, we would travel from Bliss to Spencer speedway every Friday night, minimum 90 minute drive. Then to Shangri la every Saturday night, a 2 and a half hour drive. Never thought anything of it. Today I live in Nashville and attend up to 6 plus races a year in WNY. A 12 hour drive for me. I do it because I love the modifieds and the tracks I grew up attending. If you're a die hard, born into it, distance matters little. If you're not a die hard fan, then in today's world, there are so many other things to do instead of driving so far to catch a race. When I was a kid in the 70's and 80's, what else was there to do on a weekend night?? Today there are just to many other options for people. The trick is getting people to come out and making them die hard fans in the process. It's going to take some creative promoting, not the same old word of mouth promoting that seems to be the norm in today's world of racing. Let kids in free, make your money back at the concession stand. Would you rather 100 people at $20 each, or 200 at $10 each for adults? Offer gimmicks to attract kids, so parents can enjoy the races and hopefully kids get hooked in the process. Promoting needs to keep up with the times.
 

leadfoot4

Champion
"Turbo" I agree with what you're saying, but would like to play "devil's advocate", somewhat. In the "good old days" that you make reference to, consider how the race formats were made up. For a long time, you had two classes of cars, late models (later street stocks) and modifieds. The traditional starting field was 24 cars.

There'd be 3 heat races, a consolation and a feature. And due to the lower cost to compete, back then, you'd generally see 28-32 cars in each class, vying for one of those 24 spots in the feature. Over time, costs went up and the fields dwindled. And at the same time, to a certain degree, so did the crowds. Some of the excitement went away, as heats and consolation races no longer had as much significance, because all the cars automatically made the feature. The preliminary races were simply to determine starting positions, nothing more. Great for the racers, no doubt, but less excitement for the fans.

This, combined with fewer people simply not interested in cars, anymore, and it's just become difficult to cultivate "die hard fans". And also, even after all these years, you still have the same old "elephant in the room", the disgruntled neighbors, who moved near an existing race track, then whine about the noise. In all honesty, I got away from the races for a while, but got back to the shows at Spencer's, in 2019 and 2021. And when there, I ran into a few guys that I knew, "way back when". We got talking, and the subject of noise came up. They were telling me that the same people, 20 years later, are STILL complaining, and still want to get the track shut down. It makes a promoter think twice, before investing any money into improving the facility, in an effort to attract more people, wondering if he'll get a return on it, should the neighbors finally being successful in getting the track closed down for good.
 

Turbo01

Veteran
Lead foot, all excellent points as well. I don't feel sorry for the people that bought near facilities and complain about noise and or traffic. In my opinion, those are the kind of people that are never happy unless they're complaining about something. Having the same problem right now with the Nashville Fairgrounds speedway. Nashville and Bristol motorsports have reached a deal, Bristol is going to dump a ton of money into the facility in hopes of bringing back the top 3 nascar series. People are complaining about the noise and traffic and it's all still on paper.
 

Turbo01

Veteran
Oh, and about the situation with qualifying races, I say why bother. If everyone is already qualified, scrap the meaningless heat races, random pill draw at pit entrance, and add 10 laps to the feature. Same number of laps on equipment, less time in the stands for impatient people, and what's a more fair starting lineup than a random draw?
 

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