New promoter changes speedway name
DUNDEE—Black Rock Speedway in Dundee has changed its name to Yates County Speedway. This comes as one of many new changes to the track by new Promoter Dan Harpell, who recently secured a deal leasing the track from Dean Hoag. Harpell said he has many years of experience in this field and plans to implement more changes to draw more people to the track.
“Dean Hoag approached me at a car show that I was promoting in the beginning of March and asked me if I had an interest in leasing the track from him,” Harpell said. “We negotiated for a few weeks and worked out an agreement. I have been doing this for nearly 30 years and I am familiar with the track as I worked there for a couple of years in the late 1980s and I leased the track in 2012 to promote a special race.”
With the new promoter also comes a new name, as Harpell said he changed the name to re-brand the facility.
“I changed the name because I wanted to create a new atmosphere and show the public that a significant change has occurred,” Harpell said. “I went with Yates County Speedway as a way to embrace the community. By including Dundee, N.Y. in the logo, it makes it clear where we are located. In my opinion the name Black Rock didn’t accomplish any of those things. It’s a new beginning and an exciting new era has begun.”
Harpell said he will have new people in place in key positions he has worked with for years. He said he intends to blend the new officials with most of the existing staff to “build a chemistry while putting on a highly professional show.”
Harpell said he will also add several new events to the schedule. The first one Harpell announced is the return of the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints July 18. Harpell said he will announce the rest of them over the next couple of weeks. He said he will also make some changes to the operation of the concessions in an attempt to speed things up.
“As for future plans, it is too soon to say,” Harpell said. “I plan on evaluating every aspect of the business, both on and off the track, throughout the season and at the end of the year I will determine what changes to make, if any. I didn’t feel it would be fair to be changing or eliminating classes this late in the game. Guys have been preparing all winter to get ready and to pull the rug out from under them would be wrong. Each class has the ability to prove to me that they belong over the course of an entire season.”
While Harpell did not reveal the specifics of the agreement, he said “it is entirely my business to run.” Harpell said Hoag is leasing the facility to him and is stepping away from the operation of the track.
“All decisions will be made by me and me only,” Harpell said. “It is an entirely new regime.”
Harpell said he has been in this business for 30 years, with his family owning Five Mile Point Speedway near Binghamton. He said his grandfather built it and it has been running for 64 consecutive years.
“It is something I have spent my whole life around,” Harpell said. “I will continue to work at Five Mile. I also [take] care of track preparation at the Utica Rome Speedway in Vernon. I will continue to do that as well. Five Mile is a Saturday track and Utica Rome is a Sunday night track. I only have one conflict, which is June 22 and my brother is going to handle things for me on that night. None of what I do will interfere with anything.”
Harpell said he will have the help of his three sons Tyler, Tanner and Tucker. He said they have been doing track prep since they were big enough to see over the steering wheel of the equipment and “they are very good at what they do.”
“As for the impact of my efforts on attendance, I hope that it helps a lot,” Harpell said. “I bring a wealth of experience with me and if I didn’t think I could make an impact I wouldn’t even attempt to do it. I know there is a lot of excitement out there right now. It is my job to not only keep the excitement level up, but to take it to another level. I am prepared to work really hard to make that happen.”
The track will open with two practice sessions, with one taking place Friday, April 18 and the other Friday, April 25. The grand opening will take place Friday, May 2. The CRSA Sprint Cars will join the full show of the weekly divisions.
Harpell said he can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 607-595-4100 during the week or at 607-243-8686 on race days.