NORWALK RACEWAY PARK WILL NOT OPEN IN 2020
For award-winning track promoter Bill Bader Jr., hitting the reset button for Norwalk Raceway Park was the best course of action for the facility located outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Unfortunately for the hundreds of thousands of race fans who attend the facility annually, the reset is next season.
Closing in 2020 was not the plan Bader had in mind for what he expected to be a banner season.
“While planning what was to be a standout season of racing at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, the Coronavirus hit,” Bader said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “Our country halted and hunkered down, and yet, I was hopeful that I would be able to open, as soon as possible, the facility that has been the source of pride and passion for my family for more than 50 years. “I was prepared to do whatever I needed to do to ensure that every guest who came through our gates would be safe while still experiencing everything that has helped Summit Motorsports Park stand out in the motorsports industry for so many years.
"I was eager to present the fast cars and fireworks, the entertainment and excitement, and most of all, the Norwalk Experience. My team wanted the same."
A vital cornerstone of the Norwalk Experience for 43 years has been the Night Under Fire, drag racing’s, largest independent event. Regulations surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic would have made the profit margins on the event next-to-near impossible.
“I was confident that this year’s offerings, including the highly anticipated 43rd Annual Kelly Night Under Fire, would help us reach record attendance as we have so many times before,” Bader explained. “But it was becoming apparent that I was not going to be able to accomplish all of that, as our country was still so adversely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“While faced with trying to produce events that would not, under current circumstances, hold up to the high standards that I set years ago when I took over the family business from my father, I was well aware that we had already lost 83 percent of our revenue for the year, and we wouldn’t be able to make the money we need to make to successfully sustain operations if we opened. In fact, we would lose money, and I can’t responsibly take that financial risk.”
Bader decided it would be better to begin planning for 2021 when the atmosphere for live events was better defined.
“I decided that I owed it to Summit Motorsports Park racers, race fans, sponsors and supporters to cancel this season, and start planning to make the 2021 season the most magnificent and monumental yet,” he said. “The majority of my team — whom, like you, I consider to be family — is laid off, so please be patient as I work to regroup and plan a most remarkable rebound that will show racers, race fans, sponsors and supporters why we’re America’s Racetrack. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support and for standing by me, my family, my team and Summit Motorsports Park in these turbulent and trying times. Here’s to a tremendous 2021 together. May God Bless you and your family and God Bless America.”