The famed half-mile dirt track has gone up for sale after multiple years of struggle
Utica-Rome Speedway was born in 1961 as a 1/4-mile asphalt track. In the 1979 the asphalt was torn up and the track was reconfigured as a 5/8-mile. It was then converted to a half-mile dirt track.
The dirt track is located in Vernon, New York. In 2020, the track was DIRTcar sanctioned.
The announcement called the sale a, “rare opportunity to own a facility with nearly 60 years of incredible history.”
The race track comes with about 100 acres of land. It also includes tractors, graders and all equipment to maintain the dirt track. A pace car will also be included.
Tom Cole and his father Gene Cole started operating the track in 2002.
Ahead of the 2015 season, Bill and Kim Shea took over operations at the track. As of a few weeks ago, the Cole reacquired the property this year and have listed the property for sale.
The Shea family noted two rainy season in 2018 and 2019 followed by the Coronavirus in 2020 presented financial struggles. The track was transferred back to the Cole family.
No listing price has been stated. However, the Cole family is currently taking offers.
Tom Cole comments on selling Utica-Rome Speedway
“I’ve been on the phone all day,” Cole told Utica OD Tuesday evening. “It’s amazing the amount of interest.”
“It will be interesting to see how this shakes out,” he added. “I think we’re going to know in the next few days. It’s been a whirlwind. I’ll probably talk to a couple more people next week.”
“I’ve always followed my dad’s lead,” Tom Cole said. “I’m going to present him the leads, and he’ll make the final decision. If we get 30 people and get that down to two of three, that’s pretty good.”
As of now, the track hasn’t posted a schedule for the upcoming 2021 season.
“If we get this sold by spring,” Cole said, “maybe we have a couple of races this fall, maybe we have a couple this summer.”
Home track of NASCAR Hall of Famers
NASCAR Hall of Famers Richie Evans and Jerry Cook both called the speedway home. Evans collected 33 modified wins, while Cook claimed 19 wins.
This was before the track was converted to dirt. At that time, it was asphalt modifieds.
Evans claimed nine NASCAR modified championships. He was killed in a practice crash at Martinsville Speedway in 1985. In 2012, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Cook collected six NASCAR modified championships. In 1985, he was a part of the team that created the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Cook was also inducted into the NASCAR HOF in 2012.