December 16th, 2006
KIRKWOOD, NY - The quarter mile at Five Mile Point Speedway continues to see renovations taking place during the off season. Mild fall temperatures have allowed work crews to accomplish a substantial amount of work in the last several weeks. The annual Southern Tier Open for Modifieds will once again start the season with this years date slated for Sunday, April 1st.
Presently crews have been able to fill in the entire turns three and four “moat” with material taken from behind the backstretch retaining wall. At the same time crews were able to reset the six foot high concrete wall on the backstretch which was in danger of tipping over due to back pressure. Mountains of dirt were used to fill in the third and fourth turns which will ultimately be widened by another twenty to thirty feet.
The turns three and four concrete block retaining wall is in place and will eventually be moved out further to accommodate the widened racing surface. The new material will need the winter months to settle before the wall can be pushed out to its permanent position. All of the work has been done in a manner to which will allow racing to take place as soon as the winter months wind down.
The track has also been completely resurfaced and more clay will be brought in and put down as weather and time permits this winter. Any clay that cannot be put down this winter will be added after the running of the Southern Tier Open.
Five Mile Point Speedway owner Andrew Harpell remarked, “We did this work in a fashion that will allow us to race anytime once the weather breaks in the spring.” He added, “The racing surface is “race ready” for our scheduled opening weekend on March 30th and April 1st.”
Harpell has just completed his third year as preparations are underway for the 57th consecutive year of racing. Since his return to the speedway a number of major improvements have taken place. In 2004 the speedway infield retaining wall guardrails were removed in favor of concrete blocks. The infield runoff area was dramatically widened to give teams plenty of space to get out of harms way. At the end of that season the turns one and two “moat” was filled in and banked dramatically opening up two to three more racing grooves. The backstretch area was re-opened that season as well and that area is now used weekly as an overflow pit. The impressive electronic message board was repaired with weekly sponsor messages displayed each week. Several buildings were also renovated as well.
In 2005 the homestretch retaining wall was repaired with concrete blocks set into place as part of the project. Major resurfacing took place as well along with a number of bleacher repairs and other projects.
After the 2006 running of the Southern Tier Open a massive undertaking took place at the speedway which transformed the facility dramatically. All of the homestretch light poles and fencing were removed for brand new fencing and a brand new state of the art stadium lighting system. All of the old above ground wiring was buried underground for fantastic race video visibility as well. The speedway victory lane roadway was built on top of the homestretch wall so that fans could get an up close involvement in the ceremonies.
The Miller Lite message center was moved to turn 1 for better race fan visibility as well. New caution lights and a reconfigured flaggers stand added to the improvements. Turns three and four were widened on the inside of the speedway with new drainage put in place in that area. The pit area also saw new above ground bleachers put in place in a newly elevated viewing area.
This latest phase of improvements is just a portion of the work to be done in the years to come at Five Mile Point Speedway. Plans are in place for a new bleacher setup along with many other improvements in the years to come.
Harpell commented, “I plan on being around here for quite a while and look forward to working on the future improvements at the speedway. Each year we will continue to work at making Five Mile Point Speedway one of the premier facilities in the northeast.”
The Southern Tier Open will take place on Sunday, April 1st with an open practice day slated for the day prior. The first point race and official 57th season opener will take place on Saturday, April 28th with a Modified 100 lap lid lifter and full program.
A complete 2007 racing season schedule will be available in the weeks to come. For additional information please contact the Five Mile Point Speedway offices at (607) 775-5555 or log on to www.fivemilepointspeedway.net for more. Next up is the annual Champions Award Dinner at the Binghamton Regency Hotel and Conference Center on Saturday, January 6th.