CLYMER- Stateline Speedway will start its season on July 5, which was announced in a press conference held at Peek'n Peak today.
Short Track Management, owned by Bill Catania Jr. and his wife, Lynne, formerly of Westfield, have come to an agreement with Seamens Speedway Inc., owner and operator of Stateline Speedway in Busti, to operate the dirt track beginning in July and continuing through the month of October. Catania will be leasing the property while working toward purchasing the facility, which is expected to close during the third quarter of 2014.
On June 26, Stateline Speedway will host an open practice and "Night of Champions," honoring racing champions and the top 10 in points from the 2013 racing season. The top racers of 2013 will be presented with cash and trophies for their accomplishments and fans will be admitted free in the grandstand area.
Bill Catania Jr., Westfield native and future owner of Stateline Speedway, tells of his plans for the future of the track.
P-J photo by Mallory Diefenbach
Catania has an 18-month renovation plan that will begin this week and will continue through the balance of the 2015 racing season. However, there will be some major renovations which will be ready for the July 5 opening, including:
Complete replacement of the front straight away with grandstands on the Pennsylvania side.
Increase of the seat size from 10 inches in width to 12 inches in width.
Repair of the back straight away grandstands on the New York side.
Fresh paint on the track wall, buildings, press tower and grandstands.
Excavation and drainage improvements in the fan and pit parking lots and walkways.
Asphalt millings on heavily trafficked walkways.
Addition of a "Kid Zone" playground.
Dedicated alcohol and tobacco-free family seating.
Application for liquor license and sale of alcohol on both sides of the facility.
Addition of pit grandstands.
Expanded areas for billboard signage and value-added marketing partnership.
Catania also will be developing a Stateline Speedway mobile app which will allow fans to hear the public address announcer, order food and have it delivered in the stands.
"We are going to reinvent some things. Stateline will be the test bed for all kinds of things," Catania said. "Some things are going to work awesome and guess what - some things aren't going to be so awesome. ... We are going to try. We are going to have fun with it."
Class structure will remain the same for the duration of 2014 and will be re-evaluated after a series of competitor meetings for 2015. Catania plans to meet with competitors throughout the 2014 racing season and no later than October to finalize 2015 rules.
While the schedule is being finalized and will be announced in the coming weeks, the Julian Beusink Super Late Model Memorial will be run in honor of local NASCAR champion team owner Julian Beusink. In 2015, Stateline will feature a "Triple Crown Legacy" series with a total of three major super late model events, including the Julian Beusink, Lloyd Moore and Billy Rexford Memorial events. A separate Triple Crown Legacy Championship Point fund will be paid for the top 10 point scoring drivers in this mini-series.
Stateline Speedway opened on July 21, 1956, through the efforts of Len Briggs, Lloyd Williams, Marv Thorpe, Don Frank and Jerry Frank. Mother Nature had pushed the opening back two weeks, and even though rain had cast a shadow over that day as well, the sun came out in the end and the race was on. A total of 1,700 spectators showed up to watch 22 racers compete for a guaranteed purse of $1,500 with $300 to go to the winner. Emory Mahan, of Warren, Pa., driving a 1955 Chevy won that first race.
Fritz Seamens bought Stateline Speedway in 1984 when his race car class was eliminated before proceeding to make it into the highest-attended weekly speedway in the area. He did this with low prices and a high payout, paying some of the best purses for weekly racing ever. Stateline also has the highest number of cars competing on a weekly basis of any track in the area. Seamens died Sept. 17, 2010, due to health problems.