Sterling Heights, MI (Thursday, January 16, 2020) - Kalamazoo Speedway announced today, via a weekly newsletter, a partnership between the track and a local business owner for the foreseeable future. According to former Speedway owner Gary Howe, Randy Ritchey of Niles, Michigan based, Randy’s Towing and Service, has struck a deal with Howe and Kalamazoo Speedway for the 2020 season,and beyond; a partnership that management calls “good news” for the Speedway, drivers and fans.
The deal will bring immediate change to the Speedway’s 2020 payout structure - an increase across the board. The season opening event, the Intimidator 100, now boasts a $5,000 payday to the event’s winner. Another staple event, the Kalamazoo Klash, will now be headlining a $15,000 take home pay for the driver who wins the race. In addition to tagging on extra cash for those blockbusters, all classes will see extra payout in the form of ‘Randy’s Towing Bucks’, on select races throughout the season.
Weekly competition is richer now as well, with Outlaw Super Late Models battling for $1,200 to win, and $275 to start; Template Late Models at $700 to win, $190 to start; Street Stocks racing for $500 to win, $130 to start; and Outlaw Front Wheel Drives at $225 to win, $75 to start; Zoo Stocks $130 to win, $55 to start.
For Howe, he says that fans likely won’t notice an immediate change at the races. “When you show up in April or June, you’re not going to notice anything different,” Howe told Horsepower Happenings’ Zach Hiser. “This first year, we’re running the ship with my crew, my employees, my family. In a nutshell, we’re still steering the ship, but he’s [Ritchey] paying for the fuel for the ship.”
Howe says he and Ritchey had been speaking about the potential deal for the past three months. Ritchey had reportedly been looking at purchasing other tracks, but approached Howe about striking the deal. Howe says after 19 years of owning Kalamazoo Speedway, the time was right.
“My kids, my granddaughters, we have had 19 years in it - I kinda figured it’d be a 10 year gig. I’m expecting another grandchild in a couple months, so it’s just good timing,” said Howe.
Fans will also see more from Kalamazoo in 2020, including three fireworks shows - one on a weekly race night. Improvements are also planned for the facility, including upgrades to the grandstand PA system, additional restrooms, and extra concession choices. Plus, Howe says plans are in the works for new asphalt before the 2021 season.
The newsletter was quick to assure fans and drivers alike that many things would remain the same in 2020. The already released Event Schedule will run as published, and the staff that fans are accustomed to seeing will still be working. Including, Gary Howe and Shawn McLaughlin in the Scoring Tower, Tom Wright in tech, and Ryan Warning and Jason Seltzer behind the microphones. All published rules for Kalamazoo Speedway also remain in effect for this season.
Howe finished by saying that Ritchey has ambition to improve the facility in the years to come, and that the racing community should be excited for that. “We had done what we could do,” said Howe. “He’s going to take it to the next level, and I think it’s going to be good for the racers, the fans, and everyone involved.”
The latest episode of Horsepower Happenings.
For more content like this, follow Horsepower Happenings on Facebook and Twitter. Listen to new episodes every Monday night at 9pm, at www.horsepowerhappenings.com.
Keep up with Kalamazoo Speedway online at www.kalamazoospeedway.com, and follow them on Facebook.
Story by - Zach Hiser, Motor City Racing Promotions
Photos - RW Motorsports Marketing, Horsepower Happenings, Kalamazoo Speedway