Luxemburg Speedway promoter gets village approval to hold stock car races on Sundays
LUXEMBURG – The path is clear for Sunday evening stock car racing this summer at Luxemburg Speedway after the Village Board gave its approval for the day change at its Tuesday night meeting, although the green flag has yet to formally wave.
The group seeking to promote racing this year at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds track, the Kewaunee County Racing Association, has said the change from its long-running Friday night programs is the only way the track can run without losing money.
With nearby tracks in Seymour and Chilton also running Friday programs, the Luxemburg track has seen consistently declining attendance in recent years and the number of racers, who pay entry fees for themselves and their crews, fell from its usual count in the 100s to an average of 64 in 2019. But with no tracks in the area operating on Sundays, the association believes it can raise attendance and car counts to viable numbers by holding races that day.
Because the track is on the fairgrounds and owned by the county, the county contracts with a promoter to run races for a flat rental fee. The association has worked on a contract with the county, but county officials suggested the group make sure the village has no noise or curfew ordinances related to Sundays before finalizing the deal.
In Monday's meeting, Joe Orsini, a member of the association, explained the group's plan to the board. He reiterated that the association plans to start races at 5 p.m. and have them definitely finished by 9 p.m. or earlier, and controlling the dust that rises from racing on a dirt track, will be among its priorities. The fairgrounds is in a residential area and some had expressed concerns on social media and elsewhere about noise and dust in the days leading up to the meeting.
No one signed up to provide public comment at the meeting, and Village President Ken Tebon said the only ordinance possibly related to the track is an 11 p.m. curfew.
Although the village doesn't need to give permission for track operations, Orsini said the association wants to work with the village and residents to not only make racing successful but try to prevent the track from becoming a nuisance.
"We want to be good neighbors to the residents of the village," Orsini said. "We want to restore the track to its former glory and be an asset to the community. This track is one of the best in the state … We want the village on board with this."
Trustee Jack Seidl said the only comments he'd heard from residents is that a 9 p.m. end time was acceptable. That prompted one resident, who didn't give his name but said he lives in the neighborhood of the fairgrounds, to say a number of people oppose the move to Sundays. He called himself a racing fan but said Sunday night is "quiet time" for him and others who work during the week and otherwise might be busy on weekends.
"You're selling away our peace and quiet time," he told the board. "It's pretty inconveniencing. It's like me going to your house every Thursday night to shoot off fireworks … the opposition is there."
He said he was subjected to some harassment because of his opposition, such as having a toilet covered with racing stickers put in his yard.
He also questioned the economic impact, saying many businesses in the village won't be open Sunday evenings. Resident Kathy Carpenter responded that businesses such as convenience stores, restaurants and taverns could stay open later to benefit.
"You're going to bring people into town with money to spend," Carpenter said. "If (businesses) could stay open one more hour … it would be a big plus."
The man opposing Sunday racing subsequently left the meeting, and the board unanimously gave its blessing to the association as about 30 people in attendance broke into applause.
After the meeting, Orsini said he thought more opponents would attend, but he reiterated that he wants to work cooperatively with the village and track neighbors.
"We want to make sure we're visible to the community," he said. "We didn't want to come in and say this is the way things are going to be."
The next step for the association is finalizing a few details, such as forming an LLC, Orsini said, before signing the contract with the county, which it expects to do next month. The group announced on its Facebook page that it's re-branding the track as The 'Burg Speedway and will have a table to meet the public at the annual Luxemburg Racing Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 8 at the fairgrounds.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Luxemburg Speedway promoter gets village approval to hold stock car races on Sundays