Golden Sands Speedway celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and now will kick off the season under new ownership and with a new event. Cody Smiley purchased the Plover, Wisconsin track just a few months ago and already is making his mark on the 1/4- mile track.
“In the short time I’ve owned the track I’ve learned it’s a lot more work than it looks, so much goes into making one show,” Smiley told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “There are a million and one things that have to come together to make it an event people will talk about all season. I’m hoping drivers and fans understand that I’m doing this for the love of the sport. I want racing to be around forever.”
One of his first orders of business was putting together the inaugural Thaw event, which is set to take place Saturday, April 22. The race will be the second in the state of Wisconsin for the 2017 season and boasts a lucrative purse that includes a $3,000-to-win Super Model race and $500-$800 to win in support divisions.
“The idea for the thaw came from the struggle racing has with winter,” Smiley explained. “Some years we can get winter to leave quickly, some years winter wants to stick around and ruin our fun. So we created this event to kick winters butt, hopefully.”
So far the reaction Smiley and Golden Sands Speedway have received about their early event has been positive. Dells Raceway Park had a record crowd and a large car count for their third annual Icebreaker event last weekend and it looks like that excitement to get out of the snow and onto the track will continue this weekend in Plover.
“Drivers have given great feedback about the payout. Many drivers love what we are doing for racing, it’s a double edged sword though as some of the more inexperienced guys said they aren’t going to come because they think we will have some big names for the event. For the most part it’s been really positive and I’m hoping everyone will come out and enjoy some of the best racing in Wisconsin,” Smiley added.
While the inaugural Thaw event hopes to be one for the record books, it is just one of many things Smiley is changing at the track this year. He has increased the schedule from five races in 2016 to 15 in 2017 and also will bring in the ARCA Midwest Tour for the first time in the track’s history. The TUNDRA Series also returns to Golden Sands and the return of the Central Wisconsin Challenge Series makes a stop at the track as well.
“The response to the increase in events has been huge,” Smiley stated. “Fans wanted to see more of the track so many call home and we have done just that. We have 15 events starting in April and ending in October and it is exactly what fans want to see, along with some great racing action of course. We hope to make this 50th anniversary of Golden Sands Speedway a spectacular one.”
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo credit: Golden Sands Speedway Facebook