As was reported earlier on Inside Dirt Racing, Cleveland Speedway has been sold. Little information was known at the time of the sale, but some information is slowly leaking out.
According to sources, the track was sold to Cleveland businessman Alvin Calhoun. The plans are to demolish the racetrack and use the property as youth soccer fields. Some early demolition work began this past weekend.
Cleveland Speedway was once a fixture among area dirt tracks. Opened in 1954 by Joe Lee Johnson, the 1/3-mile clay oval was home to some of the area’s biggest events, including The Shamrock, The Gobbler, Hav-a-Tampa Dirt Series, and many Southern All-Stars races. Control of the venue was assumed by the duo of Monty Morrow and Ronnie Willkomm in 2004. After the track filed for federal bankruptcy protection in 2011, Willkomm became the sole operator.
Willkomm operated the track for several seasons before Al Chapman bought the facility. After some renovation work in early 2014, the track re-opended in the fall of 2014 and operated through the 2015 season. Another group leased the track in early 2016, but only ran a few races before the track closed again. It has been idle since April 2016. The facility has been for sale for some time before Calhoun recently closed on the property.
The eventual demolition of Cleveland Speedway comes 11 years after the demolition process began on Atomic Speedway, located outside of Lenoir City, Tennessee. Losing two high profile tracks in the area does not mark the end of racing in the area. But it does show any track can be closed for good at any time without proper management and good support from fans and drivers.