Holland International Speedway's "rebuild and reset" project will take a giant step forward Saturday when the Southern Erie County asphalt oval present its only event of the season: the return of the "Original Crash-A-Rama."
The track, which was built in 1960 by longtime and current co-owners Ron Bennett, Gordon Becker and others, was leased for the 2018 season to Daniel J. Hutchinson. Complications involving the lease-to-own agreement that Bennett and Becker had with Hutchinson led to the lease agreement's being terminated in May and track operations reverting to Bennett and Becker.
"People can now understand we are back in business," Bennett said.
Several buildings and other track fixtures had been torn down or altered, so the summer was dedicated to a massive reconstruction that Bennett and Becker refer to as their "rebuild and reset" project.
The elements of the project, Bennett said, included:
- Reconstruction of the main entrance.
- A new building for guest services and first aid.
- A new roof on the gazebo.
- Reconstruction of two concession stands and the former game room, which is now called the Plaza.
- An extensive overhaul of the electrical system.
- New signs in the parking area.
They also had to get the track equipment into working shape.
While much work still needs to be done, the "Original Crash-A-Rama" — a popular crash-and-thrill show, not a stock car race — will help Holland officials get their feet wet again in running an automotive-oriented program.
"We're ready for the Original Crash-A-Rama," Bennett said. "We're calling it the 'Original Crash-A-Rama' because nobody can have that name, anyway, but also because of a different type Crash-A-Rama event run here last year when we were not here."
Chuck Rush, who lives in Florida, again will promote the event. He has been doing Crash-A-Rama at Holland for more than a dozen years.
"We missed him last year when we didn't run the facility," Bennett said
Saturday's event will include many motorized mayhem attractions.
"It's been something that people really enjoy," Bennett said. "They turn out in large numbers. We will start with a $5,000 to win 100-lap Enduro. We generally have on the track between 75 to 100 cars at the same time. That's pretty spectacular when you watch them for 100 laps. Also, we will have about a dozen school buses, which is very large for us, running heats and a feature race.
"There are various other things, including boat trailer races. Plenty of boats will be crashed during the event. Even some campers are crashed in that event. We have a special act, which will be three cars standing straight up on end, in a row, and we have the ramp they crash into it. It's all spectacular stuff."
What is on the docket for the stock car community for next season?
"The track is still for sale, but we've never said that if it doesn't sell we won't open for stock car racing next season," Bennett said. "We've brought the facility at Holland back to where we think it's much better than it was and therefore we'll continue to work with what we have.
"If we don't sell it, at least for the coming year, stock car racing will be here, but it won't be weekly. We'll see what happens from there for the future."
The Original Crash-A-Rama begins at 6:30 p.m. rain or shine.
Freedom expands weekend
Originally scheduled to host the single day "Big Dog Saturday" race event, Freedom Motorsports Park has expanded to a two-day show. The event, which now gets the green flag Friday and Saturday, has been renamed the 14th annual Fall Classic Weekend at the Delevan-based dirt track.
Previously the Fall Classic Weekend ran at McKean County Raceway in East Smethport, Pa. McKean ceased operations at the end of last year.
Freedom promoter Bob Reis has joined with Chris Zuver, who runs the United Late Model Series (ULMS) and ran the Fall Classic show at McKean County Raceway in the past.
"There's a bunch of classes that we don't run normally at Freedom that had an interest in racing here, so we decided to take the plunge," Reis said. "With the help of a bunch of supporters of the racetrack, we have decided to make it a two-day deal.
"Call it a big experiment, but I think with all the interest that we've seen in the last couple of weeks since we announced the two-day show that it's probably going to be the biggest thing that's ever been on this hill in Delevan."
ULMS racing will headline 30-lap race programs Friday and Saturday. The Crate Late Models, Pro Mods/Econo Mods, Pure Stocks, Mini Stocks and Bandits will also highlight Friday's 7:30 p.m. action.
The Big Block/Small Block Modifieds, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Mini Stocks and Bandits also will compete on Saturday's 6:30 p.m. race card.