Ohio’s Mansfield Motorsports Park, which formerly hosted a NASCAR truck race, has closed its doors and laid off all its employees. This would have been the track’s 50th year in operation.
The track’s death blow came when NASCAR decided to move the facility’s truck race to a track in Iowa. The track did not have a weekly sportsman racing program, and other series that competed there are in jeopardy of folding before their respective seasons begin.
Mansfield has had an interesting recent history when it comes to drag racing. When Norwalk Raceway Park announced that it was leaving the IHRA fold and switching to NHRA sanction back in 2006, the IHRA quickly countered with an announcement that Mansfield facility owner Mike Dzurilla was going to build an all-concrete, top-shelf, quarter-mile strip at the facility.
The IHRA was so confidant in Dzurilla, that it actually put the event on its published 2007 schedule. The track ran into a myriad of construction delays and problems and was never built, creating an embarrassing situation for both the IHRA and Dzurilla.
Another interesting footnote in this story is the fact that it was Dzurilla’s Bullet Motorsports team that launched the Pro Stock career of talented shoe Dave Connolly. That team was sold to Torco (and we all know how that played out) back in 2005 after Mansfield Motorsports Park was damaged by a storm and it looked as though the track was not going to make it.
Dzruilla was able to rebuild and continue on from that point, but now it seems to be totally over.
The Mansfield News Journal quoted Dzruilla as saying, “As of right now, we will not be staying open. We have no events planned. I dealt with the unfortunate task of telling my remaining employees that, by Christmas, they would be unemployed. Unfortunately, this has been in the works for quite some time. I tried to pull a rabbit out of the hat, but my last option ran out (Tuesday) night.”
He went on to say, “This is a purely economic decision. We were unable to locate a title sponsor (for the truck race),” he said. “With the economy the way it is, anybody with money right now is hanging onto it. It’s business.”
When asked if he was going to sell the track his answer was indicative of the state of economic affairs these days. “I’m not sure who would be in a position to buy it,” he said.