November 27, 2014

City to bring NASCAR to Standish Speedway

James Kuch
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STANDISH — The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is coming to the Standish Speedway.

In a stunning announcement this week, John T. Racer, a spokesperson from the city of Standish, said the city plans on covering the cost to upgrade the speedway on its own, with no help from investors.

Officials do, however, expect to raise taxes significantly for area residents.

“We know it’s an expensive project, but they always say you have to spend money to make money, so we figure if we spend a lot of money, then we should make a lot too, right?” Racer said.

To bring the speedway to NASCAR’s standards, a $500 million renovation will be taking place.

City consultant Ian Nogood said the decision was a no-brainer for the city.

“How could the city not spend the money to make this happen?” he said. “They had to pull the trigger when this opportunity came.”

Racer said local leaders contacted NASCAR officials to inquire about renovation to the speedway, and the potential of bringing NASCAR to the area.

“The people at NASCAR absolutely loved the idea,” he said.

A statement from NASCAR to Racer suggested that the speedway be renovated to seat 150,000 people around the track.

Racer said plans are to build the fastest half-mile speedway in the world, a title currently unofficially held by Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. To accomplish this, officials say the banking in the turns will be approximately 75 degrees — 45 degrees steeper than Bristol’s — which should allow the cars to remain full throttle through the turns. Speeds are expected to reach more than 200 miles per hour on the speedway, allowing the cars to click off laps about every seven seconds.

The first race is expected to be 1,000 laps in length.

Other additions to make the track even more spectacular have already been scrapped, including a 900-foot loop-d-loop that was to be built on the back straightaway.

The project is just the beginning of a proposed multi-billion dollar speed park that will be constructed in the area in the future, consisting of a drag strip, a road course, a monster truck stadium and off-road racetrack.

Some residents near the proposed park have expressed concerns about the noise level throughout the year. Racer said he didn’t think that would be a problem.

“Sure, it will be loud,” he said. “But it’s not like we’ll have stuff going on there every single day, all year long. We can’t race during the winter, can we? So that’s at least three months that it will be quiet.”

Racer also said he hopes some of the Standish residents will make donations to help fund the project.

“I mean, we’re using tax money to build it, so they can either donate the money, or we’ll get it from their taxes,” Racer said.

Happy April Fool’s Day from the Arenac County Independent.

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