Taylor family set to open America's Motorsports Park|
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Cherry Hill, New Jersey sprint car driver Jeff Taylor is about to embark on a brand new endeavor this season, something that he's excited about, but he isn't the only one excited, literally hundreds if not thousands of people are excited as well, about the opening of America's Motorsports Park in Clearfield this season.
Formerly known as Hidden Valley Speedway then Gamblers Raceway Park, the speedway sat dormant for seven years, before Taylor and his wife, America, made the move to buy the facility.
Several years ago Taylor heard about a track for sale in New Hampshire, but the deal fell through, so he kept the thought in the back of his mind for a while. He said he knew the history of GRP, and in August of 2011, he asked his friend, Jack Helget, to take a ride with him to check it out.
"When we arrived, we saw an overgrown, rundown track brimming with potential," Taylor said. "After our five-hour journey from Southern New Jersey, we decided to look around and were instantly struck by the incredible views of the surrounding hillsides. I was determined not to let this beautiful place sit empty and unused any longer. I needed to resurrect its past history as a racetrack."
He said after the initial visit, things happened very fast.
"Within a month we met with the owner of the property, Joe Castagnolo, and a deal was made. Joe and his wife were extremely helpful in making this deal happen," Taylor said. "Thus, the long months of hard work began. With the help of friends from New Jersey who sacrificed their weekends to our cause, we worked hard to clear the track and make some needed repairs and upgrades to the facilities. Thus, America's Motorsports Park (A.M.P.) was born."
He said during that time, he met many new friends from the Clearfield area who provided invaluable support in getting the track ready for the first racing season. At times, he wanted to wait another year before opening day, but because of the staggering encouragement from drivers and fans; he decided to start this season.
"Many of you who know us or know about us, know the A.M.P. team will give you their all," he said. "Along with your needed support, we will have an exciting and successful 2013 season."
Taylor and his team have basically started over. They have rebuilt the press box, the concession stand and renovated a special VIP tower dubbed the Luzier Family Lounge, dedicated to Rodney and Kathy Luzier and their family for all the hard work building the track in 1992.
More work is being done, as the bleachers were torn out and are being completely redone. Taylor said they won't all be done for the first few weeks, so some fans may wish to take lawn chairs.
Additional lighting will also be installed and a higher guardrail is being placed around the speedway. The scales are being relocated and new concession stands are being built in the pits and on the hillside.
"We'll never be done making improvements," he said.
Something that is definitely new for local racing is a changing building, where drivers can change into or out of their driver's suits. Taylor said there will be three rooms for men and one for women drivers.
As fans enter the speedway and walk towards the grandstands, there will be a wall to the left hand side, Taylor has some unique plans for that wall and fans simply need to wait and see what he has up his sleeve.
Taylor also has a Make-A-Wish Late Model that Randy Sterling is bringing to the track this season. It's dedicated to Brandon Denochick, a local teen who lost his life to cancer last year at 17.
"We will be raffling tickets every night for a ride in the two-seater Late Model," Taylor said. "All of the monies will go to Make-A-Wish."
He also said the name, America's Motorsports Park, is more than just an oval track, and in the future he envisions a motocross track and other things being done to make it a very active place.
The season will begin April 20 and racing will take place every Saturday night with race times scheduled for 6 p.m. Two pre-season practices will be held, one April 6 and the other April 13, both from 4-8 p.m.
Five divisions will see action, including the Randy Sterling Trucking Late Models, the Denny's Beer Barrel Pub Semi-Late Models, Street Stocks, the Clearfield County Metals Pure Stocks and Front Wheel Drive Four-Cylinders. Taylor is still looking for sponsors for the Street Stocks and Four-Cylinders.
Special's will dot the schedule, including Racesaver 305 Sprints the first Saturday of each month, a 410 Sprint show on July 3, a RUSH Late Model event on July 20 and a 270 Roadshow Micro Sprint show on August 17. Two more shows not on the original schedule including a ULMS Late Model special and a wingless sprint show both in September. The Sept. 28 race is the Stephanie Eckl Memorial ULMS Late Model race. Eckl was killed in a car accident 10 years ago.
More information is being placed on the speedway website at americasmotorsportspark.com.