A much anticipated deal by the Western New York auto racing community for businessman/racer Bill Catania Jr., and his company, Short Track Management, to purchase Lancaster Speedway from current owner Gordon Reger has fallen through.
What appeared to be a green flag to Catania’s future involvement at Lancaster just a few short weeks ago has now been given the red flag.
Reger confirmed Tuesday that negotiations for the sale of the stock car and drag racing facility on Gunnville Road in Lancaster have broken down.
Reger also said he will continue to own the track through his company Lancaster Properties LLC, as he has for the last 14 years, and that both stock car and drag racing will continue next season.
Reger said he is currently seeking to hire a person to manage and promote the track. He also promised some capital improvements to the facility. Reger says that the speedway, known the last two seasons as Elegant Builders Raceway Park, will be renamed Lancaster Speedway, a name it had held for most of its nearly 60 years of existence.
“I don’t know exactly what happened with Bill Catania,” said Reger. “He seemed to be very interested in buying the track, but somewhere along the line he seemed to lose interest. In the end, we couldn’t agree on financial terms.
“I expect that there will be some improvements and upgrades to the track’s physical structure for next season,” said Reger. “However, to what extent improvements will be made will be determined in the next several weeks.”
Local businessman Ralph Galluzzi promoted the Lancaster track the last several seasons under a lease agreement with Reger. Galluzzi encountered what he termed severe financial difficulties over the last few seasons. Galluzzi left Lancaster for good two months ago.
Falling attendance and car counts became the reality at Lancaster over the last several seasons and continued to worsen during the Galluzzi era.
The hope was that Catania, who brought the Stateline Speedway in Busti back to life last season with improved car counts and attendance, could do the same for Lancaster.
When Galluzzi cancelled the last few events of Lancaster’s 2014 stock car season in August, including the prestigious U.S Open stock car event, Catania leased the track and ran the U.S. Open. Catania was known to be testing the waters to gauge support from fans and drivers to justify purchasing the track .
It was encouraging that under Catania’s operation, about 150 cars and a large crowd turned out for the U.S. Open and another 270 attended the 2014 drag racing finale. Catania was unavailable to comment.