This past Saturday among the raindrops that have saturated the grounds of Holland Motorsports Complex, longtime track president Ron Bennett Sr. was doing what he has done at the asphalt oval for the last 58 springtimes. He was very busy preparing for another racing season.
Bennett was one of the founders of Holland when the track was built and opened in 1960. He has been there ever since. Bennett has seen pretty much everything that a track president can experience in his nearly six decades of racing involvement, including the good and bad. Unfortunately for Bennett, during these past few months, some in the local racing community have been spreading rumors about the status and potential demise of some of the key current management personnel in the Holland front office, most notably that of his son, Tim Bennett, who has been a central figure in helping his father guide Holland through the last few years.
Saturday, Ron addressed those rumors, clarifying who the front office staff is and what their areas of responsibility are. All have been at Holland over the last few seasons or longer.
“I’m still president of the operation of Holland and have been for some 58 years,” stressed Ron Bennett Sr. “I continue to have that role but, with my aging maturity, I have to step back a little bit from the day-to-day operation. We now have established a schedule for this upcoming season highlighting the return of the NASCAR Pro Modifieds, we have the paintball park going and have established a management team in place that I think is going to be very beneficial as we define their responsibilities.
“The management team here includes my son Tim, who is going to do a lot of our promotion and sponsorships. Also, we have Dan Sellon, who is the day-to-day operations guy that keeps everything going. Then there’s my other son, Ron (Ron Bennett Jr.), who is handling our finances and the financial aspects of our business. So with that team in play, I feel very confident that the year 2017 will be successful. Obviously, the rain has put us back quite a bit. We plan to open up May 20 and we will try but, if we can’t, then we’ll open up Memorial Day Weekend.”
Sellon has served the last three years as Holland’s sales and marketing manager.
Bennett summarized his situation in this manner.
“We appreciate all the fans and racers who support us and, with the speedway and the paintball park here, there is certainly enough here that it will keep everyone busy. That’s for sure.”
Holland has a practice session set for Saturday at noon. If the weather cooperates, the practice session will definitely be run but still to be determined is whether that practice day will include qualifying events designed to set the fields for the various divisional feature races to be contested during the May 20 season opener.
A determination of whether those qualifying events will be part of Saturday’s activity or be withheld until May 20 during the opening program will be made no later then this Thursday.
To say that this past weekend’s racing schedule was plagued by rain and flooded grounds would be a big understatement. Lancaster Speedway and Dragway canceled both their scheduled IHRA Drag Racing season opener Friday, as well as Saturday’s stock car program, which was set to feature the Late Models.
The IHRA season lid-lifter is now set for this Friday while the stock car program will resume this Saturday with the New York State Super Stock Series being headlined in the Mike Julicher Tribute race. Lancaster’s popular weekly Wednesday Cruise and Grudge Drags Nights will commence this Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Last season, Batavia’s Genesee Speedway had the good fortune to suffer only a single rainout their entire year. Unfortunately, they’ve already matched that total this season when their 2017 season opener was washed away Saturday. They will try again next Saturday.
So far, Ransomville Speedway has also had a weather-plagued year with various practice sessions and this past Friday’s 60th season opener falling to inclement weather. Ransomville will attempt to begin on-track action this week with a special Wednesday night all-division practice in anticipation of the rescheduled season opener which will get the green flag this Friday.
Meanwhile, in Busti, Stateline Speedway has lost each of their first two races of their regular season, which were wiped out by bad weather over the last two weeks. Humberstone, Merrittville and Wyoming County (practice) also were rained out this past weekend. All tracks in this area remain worried about the status of the very saturated grounds at their respective speedways but are hoping for a dry week to allow them to be able to run next weekend.
As one local promoter put it, if this rain continues this season we can start racing arks!