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Myrtle Beach Speedway owner cites attendance as reason to sell to re-developers

A legendary South Carolina Short Track May Soon be Demolished

Adam Glanzman | NASCAR

In an interview with The Sun News, Myrtle Beach Speedway owner Bob Litz says he has a sales contract with a developer based in Charlotte, North Carolina that would demolish the legendary South Carolina half-mile for residential-commercial purposes.

The Speedway has a complete schedule listed on its website that runs through November, although a recent Facebook post lists ‘upcoming events’ that only runs through June. The consensus in the short track industry is that the Speedway will close by the end of the summer.

Track owner Bob Lutz, also the founder of the NASCAR Racing Experience, cited the difficulties in turning a profit in short track racing as the primary reason to entertain offers from re-developers.

“It isn’t an easy decision to do that but the problem is it’s getting harder and harder for short tracks to survive, and the reason why is because we’re just not getting the attendance that they used to years ago,” Lutz told The Sun News. “It makes it hard, because you struggle and do everything you can. I think me and my team have shown that we have put 100 percent effort into building the speedway and making it successful and making it a great place for people to race at, and even though we’ve put in all the effort it still continues to lose money.”

Lutz added that this wouldn’t be an option if fans would have simply supported the track in greater numbers since he purchased it in 2012.

“It is so expensive to operate a facility like that, we continue losing money year after year and just at some point you have to say we tried with everything we possibly could and realize that without people in the stands you’re never going to be able to survive,” Lutz said. ” “So the people that say, ‘Why is it going away?’ and ‘We wish it would stay,’ I wish those people would support us week after week and we wouldn’t have to do this.”

As it stands, Lutz says he will continue to operate the track, as the redevelopment may not happen due to a rezoning request that would have to be approved.

The last NASCAR national touring event to take place at the 0.538-mile short track along the Grand Strand was the Xfinity Series in 2000. The track is currently headlined by the weekly Division I NASCAR Late Model Stock Cars. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour recently contested a string of races at the track from 2016-2019.

Other events include the Horry County Fair, MB Nationals, drifting, concerts and monster trucks.

“I have no intentions of shutting it down and never have,” Lutz said. “…The deficit has been getting smaller but it hasn’t gone away for the facility yet. It’s something I’m committed to continuing to operate.

“We will run it as a race track and do as many events we can do in there to try to bring in whatever we can from year to year, and what it falls short on I’ve put in to keep it going and will continue to do that as long as I own it.”

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ray

    February 19, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    Sitting in grandstands sucks. Period. Upgrades always stop short of the grandstands. Speedway owners and managers also have to be in the hospitality business and grandstands as they exist now are rather inhospitable for all but the youngest race fans.

    The reCAPTCHA theme is Palm Trees.

  2. Ken

    February 19, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    I am from Long Island NY. Riverhead raceway has sure had there ups and downs, but at one time Home Depot wanted to buy the property with a ridiculous offer and they said no and do you want to know why……..THEY LOVED RACING!!! Enough of your BS !

  3. Cale

    February 20, 2020 at 10:46 am

    People have sat in grandstands and enjoyed live sports for generations. If you want an affordable experience, you aren’t going to get luxury suites.

    The problem isn’t the grandstands. The problem is over-comfortable modern people who can’t be inconvenienced to actually go out and spend a night taking in a sport that they claim to love and want to see prosper because the seats aren’t “cozy” enough.

  4. Ray

    February 20, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    How is that working for Myrtle Beach, Cale?

    Bleachers are not hospitable. Prove me wrong.

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