Three seek track contract

The people interested in operating the Princeton Speedway were interviewed Wednesday by the Princeton Speedway committee of the Mille Lacs County Agricultural Society.

The proposals are from Rod Putnam and Ritz Villebrun of Princeton, Jay Rittenour of Zimmerman and Race, Inc., out of Dayton. Race, Inc. is headed by Bill Loehr.

The Agricultural Society, known as the county fair board, opened and reviewed the proposals on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Leasing the track facilities to an outside operator is one of three options that the fair board is considering for the speedway after the Princeton track realized some serious financial difficulties the past few years.

The quarter-mile track lost $38,126 during the 2012 racing season and.$19,646 in 2011. The track netted just $314.33 in 2010, according to financial reports.

Putnam and Villebrun offered to pay the Fair Board 15 percent of the front gate as rent for three years, according to their proposal. The pair wants an option to add more races to its schedule with a seven-day notice and wants all the former track employees terminated with an option to be hired back by the new operators. The pair wants no involvement in operations of concessions, including alcohol, food stands or the shirt shack souvenier stand. They sought a three-year deal with rent increases to be held at no more than two percent per year.

Race, Inc. took a different approach. Loehr offered rent of $500 per week, $2,000 per month or $10,000 per season for three years. He also offered three options for acquiring the track’s equipment: Paying off the speedway’s taxes owed to the state; purchasing the equipment; or leasing the equipment for three years for a $50,000 fee.

Rittenour is offering to lease the track for 10 years with an option for an additional 10 years. He is offering $15,000 a year for 10 years, which would bring the Agricultural Society $300,000 over the life of the propsed contract.

The Princeton Speedway committee will make a formal recommendation to the Fair Board on Tuesday night, Dec. 11. The committee would like to begin contract negotiations after that meeting.