Unfortunate news surfaced from the Midwest racing scene Friday afternoon. Illiana Motor Speedway announced on its website that the track will not be opening its gates for weekly racing in 2016.
The future of the half-mile paved oval in the southeast Chicagoland area town of Schererville, Indiana has been uncertain this winter with the property being up for sale, and it came to a head Friday when the following notice was posted by track officials on the track’s website:
“It is with a heavy heart that we make this announcement, Illiana Speedway will not be opening for the 2016 season. The sale listing has ended but the property is not sold, it is still for sale. We do have some interested parties looking at the facility in hopes it will re-open as a race track. If we hear any news, we will post it on our web site. It is up to all of you to save racing. With all the negative posts it is hard to get people to make the choice to come enjoy a night at a race track. If something isn’t done to make people want to come to the races, short tracks in America will be a past memory and a remember when……… It’s hard to put on a race and all it takes to make it all work when all you hear is the negatives. There is so much more than opening the gates on race night then you will ever know. It has finally taken the drive out of me and the dedication it takes to keep going. We will miss you all and wish you all success in your travels and ventures to come.”
Speed51.com’s attempts to contact the track were unsuccessful Friday afternoon.
The track’s biggest annual event, the Chicagoland Showdown – a triple 50-lap combination event for the ARCA/CRA Super Series and ARCA Midwest Tour – was scheduled over the winter for Sunday, May 29. The ARCA Midwest Tour, led by promoter Greg McKarns, released their own statement on the future of the event.
“We are looking at all options, including the possibility of opening the track for a one day event,” the statement read. “I spoke to (track owner) Mike (Mikuly) this morning prior to his announcement. Stay tuned. Thank you.”
Illiana has been hosting stock car racing since November 1948 and has been in operation for nearly 70 years. The track is currently under the ownership of Mike Mikuly and in recent years has hosted weekly Saturday night shows featuring Late Models, Turbo Stox, Pure Stox, and Legends divisions.
Stay with Speed51.com for more information as it becomes available.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, LI, MA) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Jeff Kristensen