News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 2, 2010

Rumors can rest, Action Track schedule rolls on

All events are back on their original schedule

David Hughes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — For weeks, rumors have spread around the Wabash Valley that the remaining 2010 racing cards at the Terre Haute Action Track would not happen because of a recent split in the track’s promotional group — known as Action Promotions, LLC.

That scenario was a possibility, but now all events are back on their original schedule.

On Friday, an e-mail from longtime Midwest promoter Bob Sargent of Macon, Ill., confirmed that Track Enterprises, Inc. — owned by Sargent — and the O’Connor family out of Kokomo have taken over promotional reins from Action Promotions at Vigo County’s half-mile dirt oval for the rest of 2010.

This will allow the First Financial Bank Indiana Sprint Week event presented by MacAllister Machinery, slated for July 14, and the First Financial Bank Jim Hurtubise Classic presented by Dorsett Mitsubishi, slated for Sept. 11, to take place after all.

Sargent told the Tribune-Star in a phone interview from Paducah, Ky., that Action Promotions, which was in the third year of a three-year contract with the Wabash Valley Fair Board, will continue to help with day-to-day operations at the track.

“I’ve always liked the Action Track,” emphasized Sargent, who co-promoted Action Track races with Jamie Reed in 2002 and 2003 as part of Terre Haute Motorsports, Inc., before Sargent parted on friendly terms in 2004.

“It’s a beautiful facility with a lot of history. I think the time was right to come back.”

The annual Sumar Classic, a U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown event, also will be run at the Action Track, weather permitting, on July 21. Sargent said the Track Enterprises/Action Promotions relationship will not be promoting it, but he and his associates will be on hand that day and night to assist USAC.

All details of the new promotional arrangement were not revealed, but Action Promotions partner Mike King did say that any profits from the July 14 and Sept. 11 cards will go to Sargent and the O’Connor family.

“What ever money the events make, it’s theirs,” King said over the phone from Watkins Glen, N.Y. “In order for us to make this [new arrangement] work, it had to be beneficial and profitable for them.”

King acknowledged that track-prep specialist Chris Novotney left Action Promotions following a disagreement which arose during the First Financial Bank Tony Hulman Classic sprint-car race May 27, leaving King, Brian Dorsett and Davey Hamilton as the remaining partners.

Without someone who knows the ins and outs of preparing a dirt track for racing, King knew the final races were in jeopardy, but he did not want to disappoint track employees, sponsors and fans.

“What we had to do to preserve these last two events [not counting the Sumar Classic] was find a group that would work with us to help prep the track,” King explained. “We had to find the right people to come in and prepare the track surface.”

King believes that Sargent and the O’Connor family, which owns and promotes the Kokomo Speedway and is headed by Reece O’Connor, are those people.

“Are we going to make any money off it?” King asked before quickly providing the answer. “No.”

King added that promoting a race track is “unfortunately, a thankless job,” but he’ll be happy to help the Action Track succeed in almost any way he can.

Sargent, who handles most of his paperwork out of Decatur and Macon, Ill., appreciates the offer, which he’ll gladly accept.

“We look forward to working with everybody who’s been involved with Action Promotions” and that includes Novotney, Sargent said.

“We’re going to try to do a good job,” he continued. “Our goal is to establish a long-term crowd base and stability. We look forward to the future there.”

Long-term crowd base? The future? But the Action Promotions contract expires at the end of this year. Does that mean Sargent wants Track Enterprises to be in charge of the Action Track in 2011 and beyond?

Apparently it does, although it will need approval from the Fair Board before it can happen.

“I think we can continue to build upon the upward trend that Action Promotions, LLC, started at the Action Track [in 2008 when it was known as DHK Promotions],” Sargent said with an eye toward the future.

The Fair Board did agree to the new 2010 arrangement Monday. King mentioned that USAC approves of it too.

For more information about upcoming events at the Action Track, visit www.theactiontrack.com. To learn more about Track Enterprises, Inc., visit www.trackenterprises.com.