Luxemburg Speedway promoters hope to move races to Sundays, will meet with Village Board
LUXEMBURG – The group hoping to keep stock car racing alive at Luxemburg Speedway wants to switch the races from Friday to Sunday nights, and it plans to bring its case to the village board Tuesday before it gets final approval from the Kewaunee County Board.
A new five-person group — Kewaunee County Racing Association — is working with the county to finalize a proposal to promote 12 race dates between late May and late August at the third-mile dirt oval track at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds. A contract could be approved as soon as the next county board meeting, on Jan. 16.
First, though, association members will attend the Luxemburg Village Board meeting Tuesday and hope race fans from across the county also attend to show support for the track and the move to Sundays.
Joe Orsini, who is handling public relations and race announcing for the association, said the change in days is needed to help draw fans and racers. Luxemburg Speedway traditionally has run Friday nights but faces competition from nearby tracks in Seymour (which changed to Fridays last year when it was unclear if Luxemburg would have a schedule) and Chilton.
"Friday nights haven't worked for a long time," Orsini said. "Last year was about the worst, and even with the two promoters before Ashley (Stevens, who ran the track in 2019), there was a drop-off in attendance. Last year, with Seymour running Friday nights, it was really very difficult pulling fans in … If you're not drawing fans in, you're not paying the bills."
Attendance and car counts — the number of cars entered to race each week — fell significantly last year. Stevens estimated weekly attendance at about 250 to 300 on average, compared to county reports that showed between 516 and 1,207 since 2012.
The county also reported an average car count of about 64 total for the track's five classes, compared to more than 100 each of the previous three years. The weekly average of the combined number of spectators and pit passes was 464, less than the track's usual fan attendance alone.
"If we can even get back to 500 people in the stands, that'd be great," Orsini said.
FOR MORE KEWAUNEE COUNTY NEWS: Check out our homepage
Orsini said the association considered changing to a day during the week as well as Sunday, but the group felt Sundays offered more flexibility for race teams to get organized, prepare and tow their equipment to the track, with most racers working weekdays. Besides the Friday schedules at Seymour and Chilton, almost all other dirt tracks in eastern Wisconsin, including 141 Speedway in Francis Creek and tracks in Shawano and Plymouth, run Saturdays.
"We felt Sunday would be better than midweek," Orsini said. "It would give them all plenty of time to get to the race track."
It's not clear if the association needs any kind of approval from the Village Board to run races on Sundays. County Administrator Scott Feldt said he suggested the group approach the village in case there are conditions related to noise and curfew ordinances.
"From my understanding, races on Friday nights needed village approval as the noise from the races continued until 11 p.m.," Feldt wrote in an email. "The proposed race night is Sunday and, as it is the night before Monday (i.e. school and work), the group may want to be sure that the village is aware to prevent any resident complaints."
Orsini said the group is aware of the possible noise issues with Sunday night races at a track in a residential area and wants to work in cooperation with the village and nearby residents.
To that end, the group wants to schedule races so they start in the evening and finish around sunset. He said controlling the dust that arises from dirt-track racing will be a priority as well.
"We want to be respectful of the community and not run late," Orsini said. "We'll start at 5 p.m. and be done by 8, 9 at the latest. We just want to be a good partner with the community."
Orsini added that the track can provide benefits to the village, as race teams and fans are likely to buy food, fuel and maybe auto parts locally.
"We think it's a good thing for the village. It draws people in," he said. "There are a lot of benefits for having the track there, and we hope the village agrees with that."
If the association doesn't get permission to run Sundays, Orsini said he's not sure if the group will continue to pursue a contract with the county. The association is the only group that submitted a proposal to promote races at the track, and Orsini said the county indicated it was willing to let the track sit dormant in 2020 and seek bids for the 2021 season if terms weren't adequate for both sides. The track has run a regular schedule of stock car and modified races every year since the 1960s, except for a four-year hiatus from 1983 to 1986.
"If they say no, then our bid to the county was contingent upon that," Orsini said. "We've gotta get those ducks in a row. We hope people show up and are vocal in their support."
The Luxemburg Village Board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Office Building, 206 Maple St. Among other items on its agenda, it will hear from the Kewaunee County Racing Association about the group's proposal to switch races at Luxemburg Speedway from Fridays to Sundays. For more information, visit luxemburgusa.com.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Luxemburg Speedway promoters hope to move races to Sundays, will meet with Village Board