Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Franklin County Speedway gets permit, but with 2 conditions

Franklin County supervisors voiced new concerns about sanitation and safety.

The letter to Donald "Whitey" Taylor, owner of the Franklin County Speedway, reported that the county's board of supervisors had granted the annual permit allowing racing at the track in Callaway but had added two conditions.

During a Feb. 19 discussion of the permit, Supervisor Leland Mitchell said he had fielded complaints from people about dirty restrooms and "sanitation in general" at the racetrack.

There also was discussion during the supervisors meeting about off-track motorsports events.

County Administrator Rick Huff informed Taylor in the Feb. 20 letter that "all racing and motorsports activities must take place within the confines of the paved track area" and nowhere else on the property.

The speedway features an asphalt oval track of 3/8 of a mile.

In addition, Huff wrote that the county will ask for regular sanitation inspections of the facility by the health department.

Finally, although it was not a condition of the permit, Huff advised Taylor that supervisors "strongly encouraged that Fire/EMS services be procured for all events for the safety of both participants and spectators."

Taylor said Friday that he had not yet seen the letter.

He said the racetrack can handle a crowd of more than 7,000 people and that efforts are made to keep the restrooms and portable toilets "as clean as possible."

He said people ticked off at the speedway sometimes make complaints to the health department.

"When we bar a race driver, if somebody is fighting or drinking, that's the first thing they do is call the health department," Taylor said.

He said he will talk to supervisors about the condition limiting events to the paved track.

"If that's what they got on [the permit], I'll go back before the board," Taylor said.

The speedway sometimes hosts "mud bogs," he said, that feature all-terrain vehicles or big trucks.

"Everything is so over-regulated now," he said.

As for Fire/EMS coverage, Taylor said he pays two rescue units from Providence EMS out of Martinsville to be on hand for Saturday night races. He said the track is equipped to handle fire suppression and noted that the Callaway Volunteer Fire Department is close at hand.

The permit covers events from April 6 to Dec. 30, even though Taylor said racing typically wraps up in September or October.

"We're looking to have a good year," he said. "Some of the other tracks have shut down."

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