Speedway proposals submitted

Mille Lacs County could continue calling itself the home of Princeton Speedway, as the above sign shows.

The Princeton Speedway committee of the Mille Lacs County Agricultural Society has received three proposals for operating the race track.

The proposals are from Rod Putnam of Princeton, Jay Rittenour of Zimmerman and Race, Inc., out of Dayton, Minn.

The Agricultural Society (commonly known as the county fair board) was scheduled to open the sealed proposals and review them on Tuesday night. (The Union-Eagle covered the meeting and will have a story in next Thursday’s paper).

Leasing the track facilities to an outside operator is one of three options that the fair board is considering for the speedway in light of the speedway operation being in the red financially in the past two seasons. Many rainouts occurred during the 2011 season, but the track had only 1 1/2 race nights rained out this year, according to fair board chairman Frank Hartmann.

The other two options the fair board is considering are to either continue hiring a manager to run the track as it has been doing, or close the track. The option of closing the more than half-century-old, clay oval track has ignited strong negative reaction from many Princeton Speedway race enthusiasts. A number of those enthusiasts have stated that the speedway could be solvent if certain changes were allowed.

Under the requests for proposals, there are only two things that would have to remain the same – the name Princeton Speedway and that the race nights would continue to occur on Friday.

The fair board would allow the operator to negotiate with the food vendors to see if the speedway could get a different percentage of revenue than has existed. The operator would have to lease the race track facilities, but would have the option to either supply track maintenance equipment such as tractors, graders and dirt packers, or rent that equipment from the fair board.


Deadline was extended

The original Nov. 15 deadline for submitting proposals was extended to Nov. 19. Hartmann said that a proposal should ideally be chosen no later than the second weekend of December. A person or entity chosen to operate the speedway would need to start promoting and organizing right away for the upcoming season, Hartmann explained.