GRAHAM, North Carolina: For the second time in as many years, neighbors surrounding Ace Motor Speedway levied their grievances about the racetrack to the Alamance County Planning Board and, for the second time, were asked to work out their concerns with the speedway’s management.
The management of the Altamahaw track and the neighbors did eventually come to an agreement surrounded by Ace supporters in a packed planning board meeting on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
“I thought it was fair,” said Rick Bowman, who had a petition with nearly 80 signatures from people who live near the track. “I thought the new manager made a reasonable offer as far as what he was saying practice times would be and what types of events that were there. But actions speak louder than words.”
Bowman and other neighbors said they expected to experience noise on race day and on race night, but the recent addition of go-kart races on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), practices on Sunday (Monday in Manila) and throughout the week and other non-racing events were beginning to get to be too much. When this issue was last discussed with the planning board, Bowman said agreements were made by the then-manager but were broken and that’s why he brought the petition to the planning board for a second time.
Supporters of the raceway expressed their frustration and said the raceway was a local landmark and was there long before the neighbors moved into the area.
“We’re not a bunch of yahoos trying to bring in everything but racing,” said Brenda Murphy, a long-time speedway employee and official. “We are racing people. That is what we do and that is what we will continue to do.”
The issue was brought before the planning board to review noise ordinances from other areas with racetracks but the information was never presented after more than two hours of public comments, mostly from Ace supporters.
Mike Dailey, president of Ace Motor Speedway, said he understood the frustrations of the neighbors and said he wished the disagreement could have been settled over iced tea on a front porch instead of a government office.
“We are looking forward to going forward and being members of the community for a long time,” Dailey said.
For starters, he said go-kart races will be on the Saturday after an Ace race on Friday (Saturday in Manila) giving neighbors an on-off schedule with a racing weekend and then a non-racing weekend. He also said he did not intend to have events on Sunday and Monday (Tuesday in Manila) with practices going until 5 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday (Wednesday and Thursday in Manila). Then practices on Thursday night wouldn’t go any later until 8 or 9 pm. He also said he’d love if every race finished up sooner than expected but the neighbors would have to understand if weather or a crash forced them to run a little late.