New Promoters At Hagerstown In 2014
HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Following 34 years of operation by Frank Plessinger, there will be a regime change at Hagerstown Speedway beginning in 2014.
Initially reported and then confirmed at a meeting held by the new co-promoter team, the Maryland facility has been leased and will be operated by Ernie Davis and Rick Jones for the 2014 season.
Jones, of Westminster, Md., along with Davis, from Martinsburg, W.Va., are former drivers themselves and familiar faces around Hagerstown and other area tracks for years. Jones has previously promoted Potomac and most recently Allegany County (Cumberland) for the last number of years and is currently an owner of Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in western Pennsylvania.
“We’re not here to chop up Hagerstown Speedway,” Davis said. “We’re here to make things better and hope we do better. Maybe we won’t do as good as they did. We’re going to give it 150 percent. Everyone gives 100 percent; we’re going to do better.”
Plessinger made the Hagerstown facility known for its late models, with competition always among the most competitive in the region. With so many changes over the years affecting the rising costs of operation of the track along with the stale economy, it was decided some changes were needed.
His daughter, Lisa Plessinger, who has been the business manager at the track for many years, is enthused that Jones and Davis have made the move to continue the operation of the speedway and are taking on the challenge.
“Rick is going to tackle most of it, handling things when it comes to talking about the races and handling stuff on working with the employees,” Davis said. “I don’t know, I’ve never run a speedway before. (Former employee who was in charge of track maintenance and pits) Randy Grove will be beside me at every race. He knows more about racing than I’ll ever know in my life. He’s my main constituent.”
“There are a lot of devoted people here,” Davis said during a employees gathering to announce the sale. ”That’s the kind of people needed and we have to work together as a team. I’m not going to criticize Lisa, Frank or anybody or any race track in the country. I see things I’ve done wrong in racing and I know a lot of other people have done the same thing.”
“I’d like to thank the Plessinger’s for giving us this opportunity,” Jones said.” We hope to make it a lot better, nobody knows. I know it’s the people behind you that make a facility better or worse. My main goal is everyone has a job; everyone gets paid to do a job. The flagmen are the head of our race track. If everyone does their part, we’ll get along fine. My people are number one.”
The plan is to run the same classes that were run before with a lot of big shows planned for 2014.
“We want to get back to basics, the roots of Hagerstown Speedway, and come back up that way,” Jones said. “Kids, they are the next generation. They become racers and the whole works. We need to get the family aspect back into it.”
Davis’ daughter Keya Davis has been named general manager and will be handling administration duties. She initially informed the drivers, owners and others on some of the proposed changes and then opened the floor to numerous questions from those in attendance.
Some of the proposals announced were double file restarts, pill draw replacing the point average system for heat and feature line-ups, a marked fourth turn area for green flag starts, green and red lights at the scales to signify whether the car meets the required legal weight or not so there are no questions, kids in the pits and several others.
“We plan on running classes as close to what have been run in the past, but we are going to have more late model races,” Keya Davis said. “We’ve been working with Lucas, World of Outlaws, Winchester Shootout, Appalachian Speedweek and looking at a Winchester, Roaring Knob and Hagerstown weekend event. We could have some Sunday night races but they will be open tires. Other classes on a Sunday will run under small car national rules. We’re also looking at a big end of the year race, something similar to the format at Charlotte.