PLATTSBURGH — Airborne Park Speedway has officially announced their transformation from an asphalt surface to a dirt surface for the 2017 season.


The official announcement comes after many rumors about the track changing over. John Walker, the promoter of the Plattsburgh, N.Y. facility, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.


S 51 TV Network red“We have been waiting to make a final decision about this,” Walker said. “After exploring options and speaking with many people, this is the right decision and we’re moving forward with it.”


Airborne’s 2016 regular season came to a close on September 18. The track saw tremendous improvements last season after working to restore the local car count and fan base. The goals for 2016 were met and Walker was pleased with his first season as a promoter.


The need for change is to get Airborne in the best position for longevity. Dirt racing is a hot product and this opens an avenue for great success at the local race track. Airborne plans on working together with other tracks and building not only the local car count, but entertaining outsiders as well.


DIRTcar will be the new sanctioning for the progressively banked half-mile track. The DIRTcar rule book will be used to allow drivers from other DIRTcar tracks to race at Airborne without having to make any major changes to their equipment.


DIRTcar Northeast Director of Series and Sanctioning, Mike Perrotte, is a Plattsburgh resident and commented on the news from the local track.


“I’m very excited to have Airborne on board as a DIRTcar member.” Perrotte said. “Airborne has always been a special place for me, I started my racing career there and also ran the track for 9 seasons.”


DIRTcar has various touring series that Airborne will look to lineup for the 2017 season.


“I’m excited about the opportunities that DIRTcar can bring to Airborne.”


The 358 Modifieds will return as the headline division on a weekly basis. 602 Crate Sportsman Modifieds will be included in the weekly racing action. Track officials will be meeting with drivers in the former Renegade and Mini Mod divisions to discuss their alignment for next season.


“I think it’s imperative that we bring the 358’s back,” Walker noted. “The fans love them and a number of the 358 teams, old and new, have been in contact with us with the rumors out there.”


Airborne Park Speedway Media Director, Robby Knowles, had been receiving calls all weekend long inquiring about the potential change for next season. All those inquiries were positive and hopeful that the rumors were true.


In addition to the calls, Airborne drivers at the end of this season were extremely supportive about the possible switch and were committed to changing their setups over for the following season.


Talks with sponsors have already gotten underway for next season. The response and support has been extremely positive and has great momentum moving forward.


“Some sponsors have already renewed and increased their commitment in response to this decision,” Walked added. “Our sponsor’s input was vital in this decision.”


When Airborne first opened back in 1954, the track had a dirt surface. Since that time, the track has changed from dirt to asphalt, back to dirt, only to go back to asphalt in 1990. The last 26 years have been spent as an asphalt track and now a new chapter will begin with the surface change.


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-Airborne Park Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: Dave Brown

TRACKS: Airborne Park Going From Asphalt to Dirt in 2017