ELKIN, N.C. (WGHP) — Friendship Motor Speedway announced that is canceling the remainder of its races in 2022 in a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday.
The Speedway listed a number of concerns and reasons as to why they have decided to cancel its remaining races of the year in a more than 1,600-word post on its Facebook page.
Some key points that they listed included:
- An encouraged group boycott of the track
- Non-compliance with safety standards by fans
- “Verbal abuse” towards employees from racers and fans
- Fans entering without paying the price of admission
- Racers failing to file the proper paperwork with the IRS
- Littering at the track by fans
- Vandalism of restrooms
- Difficulty gaining sponsorships amid negative social media attention
The speedway says they will be available on a limited schedule for private test sessions in the future.
Per Friendship Motor Speedway’s website, it describes itself as:
“A 3/8 mile oval dirt track that has hosted races for more than 30 years. The track is located just off I-77 near the Surry/Yadkin county line. Racing fans come from far and wide to watch the exciting races at Friendship Motor Speedway!”
You can read Friendship Motor Speedway’s full statement below or on their Facebook page.
This announcement is to inform everyone that all remaining 2022 races at Friendship Motor Speedway have been cancelled. We are not going to blame tire shortages or the economy because we have consistently had some of the best car counts of anywhere in the Southeast. The honest reason is that we are not willing to put up with the disrespect and verbal abuse that some of the drivers, crew members and fans are directing to the track staff and owners.
When we purchased Friendship last year, we had high expectations for ourselves to not only clean up the facility, but also the reputation of the track. We wanted to provide a top-notch venue that drivers, fans, and the community could be proud of. After working all winter long, we were slapped in the face with all the negativity as soon as the 2022 schedule was released. From that we moved to a group encouraging people to boycott the track. As the season has gone on, we have dreaded race Saturdays. After this past weekend we decided we really don’t have to unlock a gate for the track staff and ourselves to be cussed at, spit on, threatened, and disrespected. We are done, but here are some points you might want to consider when you race or attend events at other tracks.
– When a track worker, track owner, or law enforcement asks you to move away from a certain area, it is for your own, the racers’, and the track’s protection. Besides the fact that we don’t want to see anyone hurt, we don’t want our insurance premiums to increase since we paid nearly $20,000 for insurance this past year. If a track’s insurance premiums go up, that cost is going to be passed along in higher admission prices or reduced purse. If you can’t follow a request by an official to move, it’s simple, stay at home. NEVER tell someone that asked you to stop sitting on pit wall during hot laps that you don’t have to because they are JUST a track worker. We’ve never been to a racetrack that could open without those “Just a track workers”. If you’ve been to one that can operate without workers, please tell us which one it was. The official who asked the person to move was one of the track owners who, although he was furious, was glad that none of the track staff had to be disrespected and hear that comment personally directed at them.
– Track owners and promoters can’t predict the weather any better than you can. They are looking at the same forecast on their phones as you are. Whether you are a fan or racer and you don’t want to risk your time or money on a possible rainout, it’s simple, just stay at home. For an open practice, if you can’t risk $100 if it starts raining an hour in to practice, why do you expect the track owner to risk a couple of thousand dollars for track prep and worker pay?
– If you don’t want to stop at a pit gate, sign in correctly, purchase arm bands for everyone in your group, or monitor your children in the pits, it’s simple, just stay at home. The Sunday morning pictures on Facebook show who is buying armbands and who isn’t, not just at our track but other tracks also.
– For the fans, if you can’t afford the admission price or don’t want to wear the armband on your wrist, it’s simple, just stay at home. It’s been unbelievable the abuse directed at track staff for asking someone to take the armband out of their pocket and put it on their arm for a few hours. In the long run, that little scrap of paper on your wrist keeps admission prices down because it’s easier to spot all the cheaters. Also, the staff at the ticket gate knows your 15-year-old really isn’t 11, or that 2019 county fair ticket isn’t a rain check armband. It just isn’t worth the time or energy to call you out. Tracks will just start locking the gates instead of putting up with this.
– If you don’t like the event running order, where you are directed to park your tow vehicles and trailers in the pits, or the division rules, it’s simple, just stay at home. There must be a division that goes out first every week and a division that goes out last every week. The biggest whiners might find their division in that same order again next week.
– As a racer if you don’t want to complete paperwork that the IRS and the track require, it’s simple, just stay at home. In 7 races, our track paid out $225,320 to the drivers. If a track owner has to show this amount as a profit instead of the expense it actually is why would they stay in business. This past Saturday, several drivers chose to verbally abuse our employees during payout. These drivers had been informed for several weeks to complete the W-9 form. We had announced on Facebook and posted signs at the pit gate booth that no payout money would be given that night without a valid W-9 on file. Out of 126 entries, we had 15 drivers (mostly from one division) who still had not completed the form at payout time and several were extremely disrespectful. By the time all was said and done, there were 4 drivers ($550 total) that did not complete the form. We have no control over those who choose to believe the people spreading the rumors that the track was trying to cheat the racers out of their money. We think our past actions and higher than normal payouts speak for itself.
– If you think the concession food is too high at a racetrack, it’s simple, stay at home. Maybe the food is a bit higher because a track has money invested in costly equipment that only gets used a few times a month or they had to throw out food because of a rain out. It also could be higher because they spend over 14 hours picking up trash from a race night despite the 73 trash cans that have been set out before each event. A racetrack isn’t making money off all your McDonald’s trash or the 32 Busch Light empties you left stacked in the grandstands, but those things sure cost the track in labor and dumpster fees.
– If you can’t use a restroom without trying to tear something up, it’s simple, stay at home. We didn’t paint bathrooms 3 times before the county health inspector came just so you would have fresh spots to kick the walls with your dirty feet. The toilet paper we put in the restrooms wasn’t put there for you to throw whole rolls in the toilet to clog it up. – Remember every negative you say about a track just makes it more difficult for the track and the racers to get sponsors. Why would a business want to give money for their name on your car when all they see on Facebook is you complaining about the track or the other drivers? It’s simple, they won’t.
– Maybe our expectations were too high. If the fans and drivers were expecting to see a track director roll around in the mud for a couple hundred dollars or some Facebook likes, you were at the wrong place. As we do in our other businesses, we tried to act professionally and wanted everyone who came through a gate at Friendship Motor Speedway to go home feeling proud of the facility and their opportunity to enjoy a good race, whether from the stands or the driver’s seat. We anticipated providing a track where our local drivers could showcase their talent and would bring regional recognition to them and ultimately higher payouts.
– We want to thank the drivers and fans who supported us and didn’t think it was such a burden to follow the simple rules and procedures required to make an event run smoothly. It breaks our hearts to know that our decision will mean some of the drivers who have always been a pleasure to work with might not have an opportunity to race in the future. We give our track staff the biggest thanks for helping us accomplish what we did in just a few months’ time and showing the dirt racing world what Friendship Motor Speedway could have been. We are sorry for all the disrespect shown to you these past weeks and that will unfortunately be directed at some of you after this announcement. A huge thanks goes to Jason Walls for always trying to be a buffer from the constant complaints and working so hard to give racers opportunities to gain experience at different tracks.
– Friendship will still be available on a limited schedule for private test sessions. We are exploring options for uses of the facility in the future. We hope everyone remembers that as owners of a private property in the United States, we have the freedom to choose what we want to do with our facility, just as each of you do with your property.
– In closing, we would like every person who attends or participates in any race event in the future to ask themselves this question as they travel home from the track. Did my actions tonight make it easier or harder for the racetrack owners and staff to want to come back next Saturday night? Because it really is that simple!