The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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January 15, 2014

Jacksons sell lease with speedway

Beckley Motorsports Park’s fate now in hands of an unidentified buyer

The future of Beckley Motorsports Park is once again in question.

Billie and Joe Jackson, who co-managed the 3/8-mile dirt track in Prosperity since leasing it from Jack Whittaker in June 2011, have sold out to an unidentified buyer.

“I can say we’ve gotten rid of our lease,” Billie Jackson said. “Someone has stepped up and said they will do something with it. Maybe they’ll keep it as a race track. I’m not sure.”

Previously known as Beckley Motorspeedway, the facility has had numerous owners and managers the past 54 years.

Jackson would not say who has taken over the lease.

“I hate when people speak for me, so I won’t do it,” she said. “It’s in their court. They get to be the ones to make the decisions. I’m like everybody else. I’ll have to wait and see.”

The high-banked track, famed for its speeds and two- and three-wide racing on the corners, has always been at the mercy of the weather. Rainouts are a problem, and drivers must be paid, whether or not fans show up.

Last season was a good one, however, with 24 nights of racing.

The track hosted several big events, including appearances from NASCAR stars Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace, Outlaw Sprints and the FASTRAK World Championships.

“The money was fine. We had community sponsors on board we’d never got before,” Jackson said. “The track was sustaining itself.”

The problem, however, was a labor of love was becoming anything but fun.

“It took a lot of work, more than you can imagine, to run the track,” Jackson said. “We took something that we loved and turned it into a business, which then turned into something we hated.”

There was a dispute with FASTRAK following the three days of championship races in October. Jackson said it was a minor incident in the long run.

“Over the course of the summer we had probably close to 35,000 people coming in and out. We raced 24 times, with a hundred drivers each night,” she said. “Any time you can deal with that amount of people and you have one dispute with one person, you’re not doing too bad.

“We’ve served our time there and done everything we can do with it. We were ready to get out when the opportunity arose for us.”

The Jacksons’ son, Michael Moore, finished third in the Modifieds class points race. Billie’s brother, Mike Duncan, was second behind winner Keith Bills.

“My son and brother will still continue to race. They’re building new cars, getting ready for things to fire up,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, Beckley will be open. If not, we’ll travel to other tracks.”

— E-mail: dstillwell

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