Langley Speedway has released its 2011 schedule, which features two nationally televised touring series events among 28 race dates. Opening night is April 9, with racing scheduled weekly through Oct. 29 except for NASCAR's two visits to Richmond International Raceway: April 30 and Sept. 10.
Highlights include the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on June 18, which will be telecast on the Speed Channel, and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified race on Sept. 3, which will be telecast on Versus. In addition, the popular Hampton Heat Late Model 200 moves into its fourth year, while the USAR ProCup Series also might return.
Approaching his second anniversary as owner, Bill Mullis took the opportunity upon the release of the schedule to talk about Langley Speedway, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this past season.
Q: I'm sure race fans and drivers appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep a track running in this economy, but they mostly want to know it will be there for them. What's the state of Langley Speedway?
A: It's extremely stable. With (promoter) Chuck Hall there and my bookkeeper (Debbie McAlpin), I feel I have the team I need for creating long-term stability. It's challenging but exciting.
I'm proud of what we're doing. It's been tough, but the further I go, the happier I am and the sweeter it is.
Q: What are some of the big challenges?
A: The speedway is a very, very expensive operation. It has income, but it has huge debt service. The Late Model purse, the lease and the insurance create a very hefty figure.
Q: Are the facility upgrades moving along to your satisfaction?
A: We made a lot in 2010. I don't have to foot the cost of putting blue metal roofs on the buildings. That's already done. I don't have to rebuild the billboards that fell down. I already did that. And I don't have to spend $70,000 out of pocket for a new caution lane. It's paid for.
The largest single expense I have projected for this year is possibly rebuilding the public restroom, as well as building the Hampton Roads Kart Club a new go-kart track.
We need to sell more race-night sponsorships and skyboxes this year. There's quite a bit of money not tapped and expenses that can be cut without affecting the show or public.
Q: So purse money for the drivers isn't going down?
A: Not at all.
Q: Looking at the schedule, I don't see a USAR ProCup Series event there after you hosted two the past two seasons. Will they be back?
A: We're currently negotiating for a May 28 race date. I think that's a good possibility.
Q: What else are you working on for 2011?
A: The greatest thing that's happening on the racing side is that Langley is now a 100-percent NASCAR track. All divisions will race in the Whelen All-American Series, including Enduros.
It's a total commitment for co-support and it's beneficial for both. That's proven in this K&N Pro East race we have for June 18.