Raceway finds new promoter

FAIRMONT – Good news for area racers: the 2013 season is on in Fairmont, and scheduled to begin May 3.

Al and Becky Thoreson were approved as race promoters Tuesday by the Martin County Fair Board.

“My stepfather, Al Thoms, is a racer,” said Al Thoreson, a 2000 Fairmont High School graduate. “I remember at an early age going to the races, and then being a member of the pit crew … It was a sense of a fact that we didn’t want to see [Fairmont Raceway] go idle. We talked about it, and offered to give it a try.”

Becky Thoreson’s background in marketing, public relations and event coordinating will play a key role in the duo’s role as promoters. Her experience includes coordinating pre-games for the Minnesota Twins and acting as one of three main administrators for the American Heart Association, and organizing the Heart Walk.

“It brings about 25,000 people to Target Field,” she said of the Heart Walk. “I’ve never done a raceway, but I needed a new venture.”

Not content with just keeping the racing season going, the Thoresons hope to bring more community involvement to the raceway.

“It’s a great, fast track, and it runs a good show,” Becky said. “But we’d really like to enhance the community engagement. One of the ideas we have is to have a featured group each night, like have a 4-H night, and have displays.”

So far, the community has been supportive.

“The local businesses and fair board have been great,” Al said.

The hiring of the Thoresons became a reality in just the past few weeks. As word got out about the potentially lost racing season, the Thoresons began making connections, beginning with Thoms, and eventually working with fair board member Calvin Saxton, who recently reported the raceway situation to the Martin County commissioners.

The couple is relocating to Fairmont, and has plans to keep what works for the raceway.

“We will have the family pack discounts, and ticket prices will remain the same as the rest of the raceways,” Al said. “We’ve got great infrastructure there, and we can work to get the community more involved. We don’t want to do just one season; we’re looking at a long-term deal.”