Speedway 660 is taking this weekend off. The long weekend in August is a time for race teams, fans and Speedway 660 employees and volunteers to take a break before the stretch run. Wade Wilson recently sat down with Speedway 660’s Chris Johnston and Steve & Tracey Burns to have a Conversation about racing in the Geary Woods.
(left to Right) Steven Burns, Tracey Burns and Chris Johnston own and operate Speedway 660. They are excited about the growth of racing in the Geary Woods and look forward to a great stretch run for the 2012 Championships in five racing divisions as well as the 11th annual SpeedWeekend.
Wade: How would you rate the 2012 season so far?
Chris: We’ve had some great racing this year in all five divisions. The weather has caused us a few problems, but that is always a factor in racing and there’s not much anyone can do about it. The championship point battles will likely only be decided on Fan Appreciation Day which is the last point race on August 25th.
Wade: What is the biggest change and most positive thing that has happened at Speedway 660 in recent years?
Steve: I would say it’s the emergence of our two newest divisions. The Hanwell Village Mart Bandoleros and four cylinders have helped us grow racing at Speedway 660. The Bando kids put on a great show every time out and this division is becoming a feeder system for our other divisions. The four cylinder division is an inexpensive form of racing that allows just about anybody to get involved in racing. Both of the new divisions have brought new fans out and our long-time loyal fans have really taken to the Bandos and four cylinders too.
Wade: SpeedWeekend 2012 is about a month away. Race teams in all of our divisions and a lot of visiting teams are preparing for this event. Of course fans from all over eastern North America are planning to converge on Speedway 660 too. How much work does it take and how hard is it to prepare for the biggest racing weekend of the year?
Chris: It takes a ton of work, but this is our 11th SpeedWeekend so we’ve got a system in place that works pretty well. I’ve got to say that our employees and volunteers put in a lot of hours and hard work to pull off SpeedWeekend. I want to thank all of those folks who are so dedicated to making sure our fans, sponsors and race teams have a great weekend. There are always a thousand and one last minute things to do and we are fortunate to have lots of people who are willing and anxious to jump in and give us a hand.
Wade: Speedway 660 has been around for almost two decades. Back in the mid 1990’s short-track racing was reborn in the Fredericton area. A couple of years later, you guys bought the track. Did you really know what you were getting into?
Tracey: That’s a good one Wade! Chris, Steve and I thought this was a great business opportunity. We all liked racing so we bought the track, but we really had no idea what the day-to-day operation of a short track would involve. Thankfully, Jerry O’Leary who built the track and ran it for the first couple of years had a pretty good system in place. Plus our families embraced racing and have worked right alongside the three of us to make Speedway 660 a success. We have been fortunate to make friends with a lot of amazing race fans over the years. We also have a lot of loyal sponsors who have been instrumental in making racing successful too and our race teams and drivers are unbelievable. They love their sport, work hard to be the best they can be and they are the ones who bring the fans out! Finally, our seasonal employees and volunteers are great people who are proud to play a role in making the Speedway 660 brand of racing as good as it is.
Wade: How does the future of racing look to you guys and what are the plans for the next few years?
Chris: The immediate future of course is to complete a successful 2012 racing season. The August stretch run is going to be exciting with excellent point battles in all five divisions. And of course we still have a lot of things to do to get ready for the Auto Value 250 and SpeedWeekend. When the checkered flag comes down on the 2012 season, we will take a short breather, but will get right back to work in the fall. Next year is the twentieth anniversary of Speedway 660 and we want to make it a special year for our fans, sponsors and race teams. We are also looking at some upgrades to the speedway facilities in the future. We want to continue growing our Bando and four cylinder divisions and work hard to expand our fan base too.
Wade: I’ve got to say that Speedway 660 is an awesome place for racing. Over almost two decades we have seen a lot of great racing and had a lot of fun. On behalf of our fans I want to thank you guys for the work you do to make racing possible here.
Tracey: Thanks Wade. Joyce and I are supposed to be retired, but this has become almost a full time job, especially during the racing season. We both really enjoy it and my wife is an awesome cook, so she loves feeding folks down at Joyce’s Pit Stop. We’ve met a lot of wonderful people here too.
Steve: People are passionate about racing. Race day always is an exciting time and we enjoy being able to do our part to make this sport a success. We appreciate our fans support and are dedicated to working with our race teams to provide the fans with great racing.
Chris: I agree. Racing is an incredible sport. Everybody likes fast cars, but to me it’s all about the friendships that we have made over the years. We look forward to an exciting finish to the 2012 season and many more great years of racing to come at Speedway 660.