Dave Twyman has been fixing plumbing and electrical systems for 25 years.
Now Twyman, 62, who grew up in Shasta County, has stepped in to salvage the 2016 racing season at Shasta Speedway in Anderson, California.
“We will try to show that it is feasible to run races at the race track and try to smooth out some of the ills from the previous promoters,” Twyman said on Tuesday. “Hopefully we can get the race guys back involved, the crowds back involved and see what happens.”
The Shasta District Fair board of directors last week agreed to let Twyman manage the track this year after agreeing to fire last year’s promoter, Frank Bramante of Shasta Speedway Partners, in February for failing to meet the terms of the contract. Twyman worked with Shasta Speedway Partners last year to put on races.
“There really wasn’t anybody else willing to do it,” Twyman said when asked why he came forward to save the 2016 season. “There were three people who ran the races on the track side last year. So between the three of us, I decided to be the one to step up and at least do it for this year and hopefully pave the way and make it better for racing in 2017.”
The 2016 season will tentatively start on May 7. But Twyman said the starting date, ticket prices and driver participation fees are still to be determined.
“We are going to try to keep the grandstand side very affordable. Our goal is to be $5,” said Twyman, who owns Twyman Plumbing and Electric in Redding, a business he opened in 1991.
“I have lived in Redding all of my life,” Twyman said. “I would go down to the race track as a young child in 1963 and I raced cars for a number of years. I have done nearly every job imaginable at that race track.”
The fairgrounds will get $1,000 per night under the conditions of the deal it has with Twyman, Shasta District Fair Chief Executive Officer Kerby Workman said.
Driver Brandon Williams said it took “a lot of guts” for Twyman to agree to manage the track this season.
“Somebody needed to do it,” Williams said. “For anybody to come in there and take it over, he’s a hero.”
Williams’ expectations for 2016 are not high but he is still grateful.
“I haven’t talked to him so I don’t know what the plans are for this year,” he said. “He will probably just salvage the season to try to get some events going and keep the doors open.”
Twyman plans to have at least nine races, including events during the Shasta District Fair in June and Anderson Explodes in July. He also will run the concessions.
“We are definitely going to have beer and soft drinks. We will be serving hamburgers and fries and hot dogs. I am looking to try to get a pizza vendor involved,” Twyman said.
Turning the fortunes of the speedway around will involve regaining drivers’ and fans’ confidence, Twyman said. The next promoter also must look at a different way to approach the schedule.
“I don’t think at this time the racers can afford to race every Sunday night,” Twyman said. “Times have changed so much and past promoters have not kept up.”
As for moving the grandstands to the northwest side of the raceway so they’re not facing the sun, Twyman said that is not going to happen any time soon.
“Those grandstands have been there since about 1947. People have lived with them ever since,” Twyman said. “I think not scheduling races during the very hot part of our summers is probably going to be a very wise move.”