Racing season in doubt

FAIRMONT – Will this be the year that the roar of the engines on Friday nights is silenced?

Calvin Saxton, a member of the Martin County Fair Board, reported to Martin County commissioners Tuesday that while racing season begins in two months, the fair board still has not found a promoter for the Fairmont Raceway.

“We lost the regular promoter we had after the 2011 season,” Saxton explained. “Then we had a promoter for 2012 and that didn’t really work out. So for 2013, we’re still looking for a promoter.”

While the county plays no role in the races, Saxton wanted commissioners to be aware of the situation.

“If you guys get any grief about there being no racing, we just want you to know that we are making every effort to find a promoter,” he said. “The thing is, with no promoter, there’s no races.”

Fairmont Raceway shares space with the Martin County Fairgrounds, but the fair board has no interest in taking over the races.

“We don’t want to jeopardize the fair by running the race track, because our fair is still going strong.” Saxton said. “We’re not going to subsidize.”

Numbers at Fairmont Raceway have gone down in recent years.

“We were getting 1,100 people out on Friday nights, and now that’s down to 800,” Saxton said. “But that’s still 800 people you’re drawing into Fairmont on a Friday night.”

Saxton said the fair board is in talks with potential promoters, but it realizes time is running out in order to have things ready to go by spring.

“It is a huge time commitment and right now it’s not making money,” Saxton admits. “That extra 200 to 300 people a night is what makes a cash flow.”

Turning to a different subject involving the fair, Saxton said there is a water and drainage problem on the south side of the Martin County Arena. He asked if the county can help lay new tile to drain into the storm sewer. No action was taken on the request, as Saxton said he will get more estimates on the work needed.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners approved a $3.7 million resurfacing project on County Road 38, between county roads 39 and 27.