In operation since 1956, the Cottage Grove Speedway will enter its 65th year of operation under new, but familiar ownership.
In early February, current speedway general manager Heather Boyce finalized a deal with previous owner Jerry Schram to take over ownership of the beloved local institution. With the future of the speedway now set and under local control, racing fans can breathe a sigh of relief that spring and summer nights in the Grove won’t quiet any time soon.
“It is nice having it back with a local owner, somebody that’s here,” said Boyce, who Schram hired as general manager in 2013 and has leased the facility from Schram since 2016. Her existing role and familiarity with the venue played a big role in her decision to purchase it outright.
“It just made sense to have this be the next step and purchase it and kind of be able to make it my own,” Boyce said.
For racing fans — and fans of any sport or team for that matter — an ownership change can often portend further changes that may or may not sit well with local attendees, but Boyce was quick to reassure track enthusiasts that their old haunt will be more than recognizable when the season begins in a few short weeks.
“This all kinda happened so quickly and so late in the offseason that we plan to just operate as we have in the past and get things geared up and ready to open,” Boyce said. “It’s gonna be pretty much what it’s been. What we’ve done has worked, so why fix what’s not broken?”
While the news is still relatively fresh, many local fans have already caught wind of the transaction and the word on the street has Boyce feeling confident as the 2020 season nears its start.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from people that are just excited that I’m still here, which is nice because you never fully know how people are going to feel. The fans, local and from out of town, really seem to enjoy what we have so we’ll just keep building on it.”
While this was a logical financial step for Boyce to take, having leased the track for years, her ultimate motivation was rooted in the fact that she counts herself amongst those fans who enjoy what the Cottage Grove Speedway brings to the community.
“At the end of the day, I’m really just a big fan. I love dirt-track racing. I love this racetrack, the drivers here, the fans here. I love this place and I want it to succeed and be here forever,” Boyce said.
The first (weather-dependent) race of the season will be held on Saturday, Mar. 21 and will feature 360 sprints, late models, IMCA modifieds, IMCA sport mods and IMCA sport compact.
For a full season schedule and to see future race results, photos and further speedway information visit www.cottagegrovespeedway.com.