Racing promoter says he's leaving Belle-Clair Speedway

News-DemocratAugust 3, 2013 

— After three seasons of racing, the promoter at the Belle-Clair Speedway may be making this his last.

Promoter Don Hoener said he has not been able to reach a new agreement with the race track owners.

"Our talks for the future have come to a screeching halt," Hoener said. "I met my obligation. I'm pulling out of there."

What this will mean for the future of the race track is unknown. Belle-Clair Speedway owner Allen Wandling declined to comment Friday.

In December 2010, Hoener agreed to take over the stock car racing operations at the Belleville track and had leased the racing and promotions rights for the 2011 season, with options for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Three years later, Hoener said he has been trying to negotiate a reasonable deal to continue operating races at the track. He said track owners talked to him this past winter about taking over concessions at the track and getting a share of that revenue in addition to ticket sales, but negotiations broke down as they continued into spring and summer.

"The bottom line is the way the contract is set up is not a winning situation for a promoter," he said. "When you come in here, you work on strictly ticket revenue. It's the only place in the country that you have operating like that. As a promoter in today's economy, you have to have all streams of revenue to make ends meet."

Hoener said it will take a few years to eliminate the debt that mounted during the past three years. He declined to comment further about that.

At this point, Hoener said he does not think there is any way he will return to promote another season of races at the Belleville track.

"Unless they change the way it is set up, I won't continue to take losses just so they can make money," he said.

According to the track's schedule, the last event of the season is Sept. 29.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 618-239-2526.

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