Wednesday, Dec. 10


Lincoln Speedway     Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 10, 2003]  Lincoln Speedway. That's the name that will grace the Logan County Fairgrounds if all goes well with a business plan presented by two area men at last night's city workshop.

"The Lincoln Speedway will be a community-friendly family business," said Gary Baugh of Mason City. He and his partner, Norm Horn of Greenview, have formed the company B&H Racing Enterprise. Baugh and Horn have done their homework in planning the creation of a one-quarter-mile racetrack for cars at the Logan County Fairgrounds.

Baugh shared some generalized details of their plan with the Lincoln City Council Monday night. The quarter-mile track with a 6-foot bank -- that's 4 feet higher than the bank that is already there -- would be located inside the existing half-mile track.

Numerous safety features will be added, particularly around the pit area, such as concrete safety barriers. All the added features, such as the barriers, netting, fencing and special lighting -- on collapsible poles that are placed on concrete pads, will be movable. There will actually be fewer interfering obstructions on the infield when construction is complete. The plans were made with safety as a No. 1 priority.

However, Baugh says they also have kept the Lincoln balloon fest, which also uses the fairgrounds for balloon launches and glows, as a priority. He believes the changes in the track area will not hinder the fest nor the Logan County Fair but will be an added interest and will serve to increase the crowd it already draws.

The focus is to offer affordable, family-atmosphere entertainment. No alcohol will be sold or permitted. "We feel racing, alcohol and kids don't mix," Baugh said.

The Speedway will feature 150 to 200 cars in five classes, 30 cars per class. A healthy purse will be offered to draw drivers.

The men have already made a presentation to the fairgrounds association, and the concept met with approval, according to Baugh. They will be meeting with other pertinent groups, like the balloon fest organizers.

The Logan County Fairgrounds Association, which is an independent association separate from the governing entity of Logan County, has offered D&H a 10-year lease with five-year renewal.

The business plan comes at an opportune time, when Lincoln is trying to find a means of increasing local revenues. The prospect offers an increase in weekend traffic that will benefit local motel, service, fuel, food and other businesses.


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1. Hire 25-30 people, five months of the year.

2. Hire city police for security, $300 for 30 nights for a total of $9,000; also paid rescue and paramedic support.

3.  An estimated 500 pit people and 1,500 spectators on average will be coming to town spending outside dollars on hotels, food, fuel, and other goods and services each week.

While it is difficult to measure, the venture could bring the community an additional $5 million to $7 million in revenues during the duration of the contract.

The business addresses the noise factor by pointing out that races will take place only on Saturday or Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m., with one possible exception of a midweek race during the Logan County Fair.

The business owners would like to be ready to go by May 1. It takes a lot of time to purchase materials, so it is important to get approvals now. What they need from the city of Lincoln is a special use permit.

However, the fairgrounds is zoned C-2, and racing is not an activity included in the C-2 designation. The grounds would either need to petition rezoning to I-2, or the C-2 ordinance will need rewriting to include racing. At the recommendation of the city's attorney, Bill Bates, the city is planning to amend the ordinance. It will go before the Lincoln Planning Commission and have a public hearing before coming back to the city for final approval. The turnaround is anticipated to take 90-120 days.

Logan County Regional Planning Director Phil Mahler spoke to the council following the presentation. Mahler supports bringing the business to town at the fairgrounds. It would bring jobs and increase outside income from the drivers and spectators who would come to town.

Following the meeting Mahler said that NASCAR is making money. Lincoln should look at entertainment income. Everybody always says location, location, location is most important. We have the advantage of two interstates that make us quick and easy to access. Entertainment, transport businesses, a regional airport are all opportunities that we should be looking into with our great central location and highway access, Mahler says.

[Jan Youngquist]

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