Belle-Clair Speedway resumes negotiations with promoter

News-DemocratSeptember 13, 2013 

The racing season is winding down at Belle-Clair Speedway, but the Belleville race track has resumed negotiations with its promoter to ensure another.

Six weeks ago, the two sides were at an impasse and its seemed like promoter Don Hoener's involvement with the metro-east dirt track at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds and next season were in limbo. Now, promoter Hoener said he has been asked to discuss a new contract.

"We're back at the bargaining table," Hoener said. "We have come back for further discussions. We met once and will probably meet next week try to put something together."

Belle-Clair Fairgrounds General Manger Allen Wandling declined to comment Friday.

Hoener, who has been the track's promoter for the past three years and has been working at the track for the past three decades. In December 2010, Hoener agreed to take over the stock car racing operations there and leased the racing and promotions rights for the 2011 season, with options for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He said track owners had initially 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.

Hoener said he doesn't know if these recent talks will lead to a new contract.

"It's hard to say at this point," he said. "We're continuing negotiations. I'm cautiously optimistic."

The last stock car races for the season were held Friday night at the Belleville track, where Collinsville resident George Heuser said he has been coming to watch auto races for more than 60 years. He said he would go to another track on Friday nights if he could not watch the races at Belle-Clair Speedway.

"I just like watching the drivers," Heuser said. "I just like watching the racers."

Dennis Meyer said he has been coming to the track since 1963. The 61-year-old Swansea resident said it is his favorite place to watch the races.

"It's a little track and all of the cars are all real close and makes for competitive racing," Meyer said. "They're not all strung out like the bigger tracks. It really exciting racing."

The final racing event for the season at Belle-Clair Speedway is Sept. 29.

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

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