|Date: 11/4/2013 11:52:09 PM|
ERNIE DAVIS – RICK JONES
TEAM TAKE HAGERSTOWN INTO 2014
HAGERSTOWN, MD: Following 34 years of operation by Frank Plessinger, news has spread quickly of the regime change at Hagerstown Speedway. Initially reported and then confirmed at a meeting held by the new co-promoter team, the Maryland facility has been leased and will be operated by Ernie Davis and Rick Jones for the 2014 season.
The announcement was made covering the Friday, October 25th agreement with further information relayed to speedway employees and later to competitors, owners and others at a meeting at Wilson Ruritan Club on Wednesday October 30th.
Employees of the speedway first met with the Davis – Jones team while later, the club building, located just east of the speedway, filled to capacity to listen to proposals the new team has in store for the facility.
Jones of Westminster, MD along with Davis, Martinsburg, WV, are former drivers themselves and familiar faces around Hagerstown and other area tracks for years. Jones has formerly promoted Potomac and most recently Allegany County (Cumberland) for the last a number of years and is currently an owner of Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in western Pennsylvania.
“We’re not here to chop up Hagerstown Speedway, “Davis said. “We’re here to make things better and hope we do better. Maybe we won’t do as good as they did. We’re going to give it 150%. Everyone gives 100%; we’re going to do better.”
McConnellsburg Pa’s Plessinger made Hagerstown a facility known for its late models with competition always the most competitive around and any driver wanting to be able to win at Hagerstown to have that on their resume.
Drivers like overall feature winner, Gary Stuhler plus Rodney Franklin, Nathan Durboraw, Denny Bonebrake, Tom Peck, Jeff Robinson, Dick Warrenfeltz, Jeremy Miller, Ronnie McBee, Sam Nally, Marvin Winters, Rick Eckert and Roy Deese Jr., all with more than 20 career wins, made that hard to do on many occasions.
With so many changes over the years affecting the rising costs of operation of the track along with the stale economy, it was decided some changes were needed.
His daughter, Lisa Plessinger, who has been the business manager at the track for many years, is enthused that Jones and Davis have made the move to continue the operation of the speedway and taking on the challenge.
“Rick is going to take the most of it, handling things when it comes to talking about the races and handling stuff on working with the employees, “Davis said. “I don’t know, I’ve never run a speedway before. (Former employee who was in charge of track maintenance and pits) Randy Grove will be beside me at every race. He knows more about racing than I’ll ever know in my life. He’s my main constituent.”
“There are a lot of devoted people here,” Davis said to the employees gathered. ”That’s the kind of people needed and we have to work together as a team. I’m not going to criticize Lisa, Frank or anybody or any race track in the country. I see things I’ve done wrong in racing and I know a lot of other people have done the same thing.”
“I’d like to thank the Plessinger’s for giving us this opportunity,” Jones said.” We hope to make it a lot better, nobody knows. I know it’s the people behind you that make a facility better or worse. My main goal is everyone has a job; everyone gets paid to do a job. The flagmen are the head of our race track. If everyone does their part, we’ll get along fine. My people are number one.”
Jones informed those gathered that the plans are to run the same classes that were run before with a lot of big shows.
“We want to get back to basics, the roots of Hagerstown Speedway, and come back up that way,” he said.
“Kids, they are the next generation, “Jones said. “They become racers and the whole works. We need to get the family aspect back into it.”
Davis’ daughter Keya Davis has been names General Manager and will be handling the administration duties. She initially informed the drivers, owners and others on some of the proposed changes and then opened the floor to numerous questions from those in attendance.
Some of the proposals announced were double file restarts, pill draw replacing the point average system for heat and feature line-ups, a marked fourth turn area for green flag starts, green and red lights at the scales to signify whether the car meets the required legal weight or not so there are no questions, kids in the pits along with others.
“We plan on running classes as close to what has been run in the past, but we are going to have more late model races,” Keya Davis said. “We’ve been working with Lucas, World of Outlaws, Winchester Shootout, Appalachian Speedweek and looking at a Winchester, Roaring Knob and Hagerstown weekend event. We could have some Sunday night races but they will be open tires. Other classes on a Sunday will run under small car national rules. We’re also looking at a big end of the year race, something similar to the format at Charlotte.
Drivers and others then began tossing numerous questions and concerns.
“If we don’t have answers, I’m going to write questions down and we’ll have answers for you later,” she said. “We also have a suggestion box and we’d like you to use that.”
“That suggestion box back there means a lot,” Ernie Davis said. “It only takes a few minutes for everyone to write their suggestions down. We’re not God; we have to listen to you too.”
“We’re here to listen,” Keya Davis said. “We’re open to your opinions and suggestions. We need you to be patient, we can’t change everything. We need to work together to make things better.”
“We’ll be trying to work as
quickly as possible to get answers to everyone,” Keya Davis said. “As soon as
we have anything we’ll be posting it on the website, www.hagerstownspeedway.com and Twitter and Facebook.
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