Date: 2/14/2011 10:22:22 PM

BETHEL, NY While racers have been in their garages working on their cars, Bethel Motor Speedway has been hard at work preparing for the 2011 season as well. The upcoming season will mark the 51st anniversary of the speedway, and anticipation is already building.

Following a successful 2010 season, work began almost immediately at the speedway on capital improvements. In addition to the increased lighting, new Victory Lane area, track widening, and other improvements that all took place for the 2010 season, the -mile asphalt track received a new surface shortly after the completion of the season. The repaving project, which was completed in early November, involved the application of more than 450 tons of asphalt and resulted in a new 2-inch thick surface around the track.

The forward momentum at the speedway is extending beyond physical improvements, however, as it was announced this week that the management team would have broader responsibility to continue improving the speedway.

A spokesperson for FGR, Inc., the owner of the property, stated, "When we bought this speedway, we made two promises. The first was to the town of Bethel and the local residents to offer spectators exciting racing at a family friendly facility that residents can be proud of."

Bethel has offered $5 grandstand admission for all shows since reopening, and many initiatives have been undertaken to improve the spectators' experiences. These include the replacement of all of the wood in the general grandstand area last season, as well as the painting of walkway lanes in the stands.

Additionally, the speedway has become increasingly involved in community activities, and has participated in events with the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and the Bethel Business Association.

"The second promise was to drivers at the speedway, to offer an environment that allows competitive asphalt short track racing at an affordable price," the spokesperson continued. "We strive to be very disciplined in terms of tech inspection to insure that we achieve our goal."

Indeed, car counts have steadily risen since the speedway was reopened. In addition, the Young Racers Program, a staple at the track designed to help young drivers get started in motorsports and thrive in a cooperative environment, has helped to open the door to racing for youngsters in the local community who might not otherwise have the means and support to compete.

It was recently announced that the speedway would be implementing AMB transponder scoring for all divisions except the 4 Cylinder classes in 2011, a move that was brought about in part by the growth in car counts.

"We are very proud of the progress we have made in the last few years, both at the speedway and in the community," the spokesperson said, "and we are now looking to increase the role of promoter to a full-time position so that greater focus can be put on improving on and increasing our delivery on those promises."

John Condit has been named as the Race Director for 2011, and will head up the race day operations. Condit has an extensive racing resume that includes experience as a Race Director, Track Official, Pit Steward, and Tech Inspector.  Condit has a long history behind the wheel as well. He has been a competitor in Street Stocks, BMS Modifieds, and the All-Star Race Truck Series (ARTS) at numerous tracks throughout the Northeast. A former "Most Popular Driver" award recipient at Bethel, Condit's record includes five wins in the All-Star Race Truck Series and several wins in the Street Stock class at Bethel; and he is a multi-time winner at Wall Stadium's prestigious Turkey Derby.  In 2010, Condit served as an official at Wall Stadium (NJ), and he will be the Pit Steward for the upcoming Gamblers' Classic Indoor Races hosted by Lenny Sammons Motorsports Productions in Atlantic City.

Tracy Chirico will be the Business Operations Manager for Bethel Motor Speedway, and will handle the day-to-day business operations. Chirico's involvement at the speedway traces back to the 2008 season, and she acted as the track publicist for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. During that time, Bethel has expanded its scope of media outlets to include an array of web sites, online publications, and traditional magazines and newspapers, raising awareness of the speedway and drawing visitors to the town itself.

"This is an exciting time for Bethel Motor Speedway," commented the FGR spokesperson. "The majority of our seasoned and tested team has been in place, working together, since 2008.

"Tracy's dedication to Bethel Motor Speedway, combined with her professional experience and passion for racing, create a winning combination for us. John and FGR have a long history together. Fifteen or so years ago, we were his sponsor for several seasons. It has been a pleasure to watch his racing career, and then to watch him grow into a seasoned professional in the business of racing."

The spokesperson concluded, "As we all know, a business is only as good as its people, and we have been very fortunate to have such top quality people at every level. Racing promotion is not an easy business and would be impossible without our solid team of dedicated professionals."

Chirico and Condit have also been named to the Bethel Motor Speedway Advisory Committee, which will also include Fred Graf Sr., Joe Graf, and Paul DeGracia. Fred Graf Sr. and Joe Graf are representatives of FGR, Inc. DeGracia is a veteran racer with an extensive resume that includes both dirt and asphalt experience, who has remained involved in the sport through his son's racing efforts, and who brings a wide array of successful business experience to the table.

Prior to the start of the 2011 season, plans call for the construction of a building on the premises at Bethel, which will include office space for the speedway and serve as the primary location for track operations.

Bethel Motor Speedway's tentative 2011 schedule was released last month, and is posted in its entirety at Plans call for a preseason practice on April 23rd, and Opening Night is slated for April 30th. Several special shows are still in the process of being scheduled.  

More information about the speedway can be obtained by calling (845) 319-7908.

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