A race track is more than just an oval sheet of asphalt or dirt. It’s a place where memories are made. It’s a place where thousands of people visit each year to spend their hard-earned money and be entertained.
The qualities that make a good race track a great race track go beyond just the cars that circle the track. We could list everything that goes into a great race track, but we likely wouldn’t have the space to do so.
To keep it simple: it’s the amenities such as the food, the bathrooms and the overall look of the facility. Beyond that, it’s the announcers, the fan interaction and the overall entertainment value offered to keep fans coming back. In essence, it takes the total package.
Today on Speed51.com, we are pleased to announce the winner of the 51 Award for Best Short Track.
Best Set Design
(Best Short Track)
For the first time in the history of the 51 Awards, a race track located in the state of Delaware is taking home the top prize. Georgetown Speedway has been voted by race fans as the Best Short Track during the 2017 season.
Promoted by Brett Deyo, who also operates the Short Track Super Series, Georgetown continued to turn the heads of both racers and fans in 2017.
“It means a lot to me because I’ve put a lot of my own time in here,” Deyo told Speed51.com. “Over the last three weeks getting ready for the opener I’ve personally spent 160 or 170 hours out here trying to get everything done. We don’t have a big budget and we don’t have full-time people. For the fans to come and rally around us and the work we’ve done with our small crew, it means a heck of a lot. We operate on a much, much thinner budget than a lot of the tracks we were nominated with. It makes you feel good that all the hard work is being noticed and people appreciate it.”
The 2017 season began with a fresh resurfacing before the season opener in March. With over 200 loads of clay being spread around the half-mile oval, racers were greeted with a smooth racing surface right from the get-go.
Throughout the season, some of the best in Dirt Modified racing visited victory lane at the track. Jimmy Horton, “The Doctor” Danny Johnson, Stewart Friesen, Billy Pauch Jr. and Duane Howard were just a few of the big names that fans were able to watch at Georgetown last season.
Midway through the season, the Georgetown area was impacted by a micro-burst storm that carried heavy winds. The winds left debris across the facility after damaging the backstretch wall, fencing throughout the facility and signage.
However, the staff at the speedway passed the test and had the facility race-ready for an event just 13 days later.
Big events such as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, Short Track Super Series and the Mid-Atlantic Classic provided race fans with top-notch entertainment throughout the year.
At the end of the 2018 season, Deyo decided that more change was needed to enhance the experience for both racers and fans. Over 200 loads of fresh clay were once again dumped on the speedway to put progressive banking in place for the upcoming season.
“When I got the place it was almost to the point of being closed. We’ve put a lot of our time and effort into it,” Deyo explained. “We’ve had some good help with people volunteering their time to clean it up and make it better. While we’ve improved the facility, the quality of the races have still been really good. We’ve had big names come down and race, which people like. It’s really going well. It’s our third year now and I’m really happy with the direction it’s going.”
Finishing second in the voting for Best Short Track was Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT), the winners of the award in 2007. Thompson has established themselves as a big-event facility in recent years while cutting back their weekly racing to focus on big events such as the Icebreaker and Sunoco World Series.
Thompson hosted nearly every major touring series in 2017 including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Valenti Modified Racing Series, Pro All Stars Series (PASS), American-Canadian Tour (ACT), Granite State Pro Stock Series, ISMA and NEMA.
Thunder Road International Speedbowl (VT), under the new ownership of Cris Michaud and Pat Malone, finished third in the voting. After purchasing the track from the late Tom Curley and legendary broadcaster Ken Squier, the duo made many improvements to the facility including a repave of the historic race track.
Five Flags Speedway (FL), the home of the Snowball Derby, and Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway (OH) completed the top five.
Former Best Short Track Award Winners
2016 – Oswego Speedway
2015 – Eldora Speedway
2014 – Millbridge Speedway
2013 – Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl
2012 – New Smyrna Speedway
2011 – Five Flags Speedway
2010 – Winchester Speedway
2009 – Five Flags Speedway
2008 – No Vote
2007 – Thompson Speedway
2006 – No Vote
2005 – Stafford Motor Speedway
2004 – Irwindale Speedway