Great Lakes Traditional Sprints

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I-96 Speedway

I-96 Speedway

I-96 Speedway

I-96 Speedway



Great Lakes Traditional Sprints


Lake Odessa, MI – Last Friday night, July 1st, fans came out to I-96 Speedway not knowing if it was the last race to be seen there or what the future would bring for the track. There were rumors of all kinds swirling that the track was sold and many fans were troubled by the news and wanting some answers.

There were people behind the scene like myself, that only had one goal in mind and that was to avoid a press release that would say the track is closed for good. I own Great Lakes Sprints and have a passion and love of all sprint cars and contrary to the popular belief that I hate other classes…that’s not true. To build the sport of dirt auto racing, we need everyone with a passion for racing…no matter what kind of car it is.

We need a class for kids to be exposed to racing. We need a class that a driver can go out and learn to race in. We need a class they can build more power and be louder and faster. We need those classes that are faster yet and people start to learn your name. All these different classes have their place in keeping racing strong. They’re the spice of life and everyone has their favorite class.

The tough balance for a track is to find the spot where you can have a place to race for the local drivers of all ages and be able to put on some big events for the “masses”, yet not all tracks can handle big shows either. But is an “event” track good for local racing? It can be, but there’s a fine line. The risk/reward in outdoor events is always lopsided. I know for a fact that the risk for local tracks is always larger then the reward. The reward is covering expenses and maybe making some money, the risk on a small show can still be $5-10,000 and the risk on a big show like a touring group can easily be $20-30,000!

A track sitting in a field must be in tune with the local community and their neighbors. Will people travel to the country for a big show, absolutely!!! However, the week in and week out support comes from the surrounding community. This adds another issue tracks need to look at: What is going on in the neighborhood? When are the local county fairs, festivals, graduations…etc?

When a track has been around for years, we all take it for granted that it will continue to run. We all saw how close I-96 Speedway was to not running again last Friday. I personally didn’t want to see that happen and I felt with a little more time, we could come up with a plan and work on getting back to our roots and shoring up the foundation.

I feel good today after talking to track officials at I-96 Speedway that they will continue to run this summer. Each week is being looked at and local events, racers and fans are being considered. We are looking at keeping the Great Lakes Super Sprints and Great Lakes Traditional Sprints nights on the schedule, but those shows may have the classes changed around as well.

I would like to urge all fans, to please support I-96 Speedway and your local tracks. I work with dirt tracks in 3 states and all of these tracks have good people involved that love racing. Negativity and slamming tracks on Facebook has a major affect on the people running and working at these tracks. All I can say from working with multiple tracks and traveling the great lakes region is: If you love racing, there are better ways to share that love then to challenge, criticize and question everything on social media. Everyone has problems that need to be addressed but they don’t need to be laundered on social media.

I know I do the best I can do and all I can hope is that fans and drivers can share my passion and that at the end of the day we can put on a good show. I will continue to work with all of our tracks, I will support all of our tracks and I prefer to offer my help then to question another tracks dedication to our sport. I can say from Great Lakes Sprints, we will do our part behind the scenes to keep racing at I-96 Speedway and help make things better. I appreciate the support everyone has shown us and I know together we can keep racing strong in Michgian.

These comments were unsolicited by anyone and I felt moved to write and share. They are solely my personal thoughts and beliefs. If anyone has suggestions, I am always open to new ideas. In fact, if you can do things better, call me and maybe I can hire you. Thank you to all our tracks, fans, racing teams and families. Have a great week.

Great Lakes Super Sprints race this Friday, July 8th at Winston Speedway and Great Lakes Lightning Spints race this Friday at Mt Pleasant Speedway and Saturday, July 9th at Silver Bullet Speedway.

For more information, go to .

Article Credit: Barry M. Marlow

Submitted By: Barry Marlow

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