Less than four days after Kalamazoo Speedway’s biggest race of the year, the 3/8-mile race track in Kalamazoo, Michigan was broken into, vandalized and robbed over the weekend.
According to track owner Gary Howe, the total cost of the damage is somewhere between $18,000 and $22,000. Howe said 14 doors were kicked in across the property, “a few windows” need to be replaced, three computers were stolen, and a couple cashboxes were taken from the concession stands.
Howe said he was disheartened to learn about the laptop computers because two of them contained the race track’s scoring system, but he said he knows that the total damage could have been a lot worse.
“I have five cases of transponders,” explained Howe. “They’re $14,000 a case. None of those got taken or our radios either. They kicked in the tire barn. There’s $35,000 worth of tires in there and not one tire was taken. A lot of people think it’s an inside job, but that right there shows that it was nobody that knew anything about racing. I mean with those transponders, they walked right into the room that they were in. They walked into the radio room where I have 30 radios and headsets and nothing got touched. So it could have been a hell of a lot worse.”
According to a post on Kalamazoo’s Facebook page, the track is offering a reward of $1,000 for anyone with information that leads to the arrest of the people involved with the crime.
“I just hope that the person has a big mouth and they say something to the wrong person and they get caught. If nothing else just the thought of them getting caught would be good.”
Howe said he and his family and his track employees are already hard at work today to repair everything ahead of their racing program on Friday night.
“We’re out doing all the doors today and my wife is out at Best Buy getting new computers as we speak,” Howe said. “Hopefully we’ll get the scoring program on it right away and we’ll be ready to go by tonight. I’ve got a lot of messes to clean up, but as far as the workings of the race track, we’ll be back at it today. It was a day I didn’t plan on. I had to cancel a few jobs at my business, but we’ll be in okay shape after today.”
While this is an unfortunate situation for Kalamazoo Speedway, Howe is continuing to look at the positives of the situation, of which there are quite a few.
“Nobody got hurt and everything for the most part is replaceable. That’s the first time since about four years before we opened the track that the track got vandalized. That’s the first time we’ve had anything like that in 16 years so you can consider us lucky in that respect.”
Anyone with information that might help lead to an arrest is encouraged to call the Kalamazoo County Sherriff’s Office at 269-383-8821.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Christine Van Timmeren photo