MANSFIELD,OH. — The long history of racing in Mansfield Ohio is deep, rich and dates back to 1959 when the original track (Mansfield Raceway) first opened as a 3/8 mile dirt track. It was converted to an asphalt track in 1999, renamed (Mansfield Motorsports Speedway) and has remained asphalt ever since. The speedway saw its pinnacle moments from 2004-2008 where it held NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events and drew standing room only crowds of over 20,000 in attendance.
Although there has been many ups and downs at the facility, different promoters, different names and major changes, no group has ever transformed the venue back to its original roots as a dirt track racing facility…until now.
Mansfield Motor Speedway is excited to announce it will be transforming the .44 Mile oval into a full blown dirt racing track and will host some of the biggest short track events across the country, amongst other entertainment for the Mid-Ohio region.
In 2013, local business man Grant Milliron bought the race track in hopes of allowing it to become what it once was, a motorsports fan destination, local economic powerhouse and for the hope to live up to the name it created “The Racing Capitol of Ohio”.
Since 2013, the speedway has tried several different routes, of which have not been able to stabilize themselves into long-term success stories. Cody Sommer, the President of the new dirt racing venture, Mansfield Motor Speedway, believes that changing back to a dirt track has massive upside and long-term potential that both he himself and Milliron desire.
“Dirt racing in Ohio is strong and overall across the country it is in a much better situation than asphalt. Mansfield is located in the heart of some of the best racing in the country and with a venue as nice as this (Mansfield), it is a shame it has not been put back on the map like it deserves” Said Cody Sommer. When talking about the venue opening as a dirt track in 2017, Sommer does not hold back on expectations and plans “Mansfield was once nationally ranked in the top 5 of greatest race tracks in the country and I don’t see any reason why it cannot return back to that very quickly. We will have the only dirt track I am aware of with safer barriers, we have 12 luxury suites, a complete race control room, 7,200 aluminum bleacher seats with chair backed/covered VIP reserved seating for 2,000 as well. There is also our hillside seating option for around 2,000 for a total capacity of nearly 10,000…it is just setup perfectly for what I want to do” Said Sommer.
Mansfield Motor Speedway will transform to dirt with many changes and upgrades and open in the spring. Sommer has agreed to terms with the speedway’s owner Grant Milliron for a 3 year deal, which includes a purchase option of the Mansfield Ohio property. A deal which clearly supports the long term expectations, goals and vision Sommer has for the venue.
“Cody and his team have big plans and great vision. He is in this for the long haul and is willing to put in the resources and time the facility needs to be successful. I look forward to seeing this facility change for the good and get back to the economic powerhouse it once was” Said Milliron.
Sommer has been involved in racing for 15 years and grew up in central Illinois where he drove dirt race cars at a variety of race tracks in the Midwest, before re-locating to Charlotte North Carolina to pursue a full-time racing career in the NASCAR racing industry. In 2011, Sommer started a brewery outside of Charlotte and quickly built the company across 30 states and with a distribution network of over 170 wholesalers from coast to coast. In motorsports, Sommer has a wide variety of projects under his belt and is known for producing big events that draw large crowds and national attention. He held the Carolina Crown, which is still the largest dirt race in the history of South Carolina. He promoted the Indy Invitational at the Banker’s Life Fieldhouse to a nearly sold out crowd, an event that drew NASCAR names like Ricky Stenhouse and Kyle Larson.
Sommer is also responsible for the VP Racing Fuels Gateway Dirt Nationals, an event that concluded this December and is being considered by many industry professionals as one of the greatest achievements in the modern era of Dirt Racing, as well as a strong candidate for 2016 race of the year. It quickly became one of the most talked about events in history since Sommer announced it in February speedweeks in early 2016. Then later delivered a quality product as promised to race fans and competitors this winter in St Louis, Missouri.
Sommer now adds Mansfield Motor Speedway to his arsenal and is looking at the Mid-Ohio venue as one of his largest commitments yet.
“It is a huge project and a massive undertaking. However, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have high expectations and a big picture that I was thinking about for the place” Said Sommer. “This venue will cater to not only the hardcore motorsports fan but also to the Mid-Ohio resident, their families, their hobbies and interests…an entertainment destination” said Sommer.
For 2017, Mansfield Motor Speedway is quickly putting together an impressive list of events and is planning to open doors with the Inaugural TRIPLE CROWN Spring Series. A 3 races, 3 weekends concept featuring 410 Sprint Cars, Super Late Models and Wingless Sprint Cars all racing for $5,000 to Win. The TRIPLE CROWN Spring Series starts on March 25th and will run continuing weekends on April 1st and April 8th to complete the TRIPLE CROWN Spring Series. Any competitor winning all 3 of their divisions events and therefore conquering the “TRIPLE CROWN” will be awarded a special bonus.
Also on the schedule, Monster Truck Mania with Transaurus is scheduled for May 6th and Monster Truck super stars BIG FOOT, AVENGER and BRUTUS are just a few of the trucks that will stomp around the Mansfield Motor Speedway venue. More major event highlights include a Memorial Day Weekend special on May 28th with the All Star Circuit Of Champions Sprint Cars race as well as a July 2nd Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event “FREEDOM 50” which will include a large fire works display.
August 11th-12th the Inaugural “Great Lakes Dirt Nationals” will take to the speedway. The event, a conglomeration of all things open wheel will feature the FAST Series and Ohio Sprint Car Series in a Co-Sanctioned event for 410 Sprint Cars, as well as FAST 305 Sprint Cars and BOSS Wingless Sprint Cars. The Great Lakes Dirt Nationals is highlighted by the $15,000 to Win event on Saturday for FAST/OSCS as well as $5,000 to Win BOSS and $3,000 to Win FAST 305 sprint cars.
More major events are in the works and additions to 2017 schedule are being considered with 2018 and 2019 featuring an escalation in special events at the Mansfield Motor Speedway.
Mansfield Motor Speedway (MMS) can be found online at www.MansfieldMotorSpeedway.com where a full website will be released soon. In the meantime, Mansfield Motor Speedway suggests fans to connect with them directly on social media to stay up to date on special news and announcements at www.Facebook.com/MansfieldMotorSpeedway and Twitter @RaceMansfield. MMS has an information phone line at 419-465-RACE (7223).
Any inquiries can also be sent via email to: info@MansfieldMotorSpeedway.com
About Mansfield Motor Speedway: Mansfield Motor Speedway (MMS) is a 170 acre entertainment complex and motorsports destination, featuring a .44 Mile banked dirt oval race track. The venue has state-of-the-art features including safer barriers, 12 luxury suite boxes, aluminum seating for 7,000 with 1,000 seat backed. MMS hosts some of the country’s biggest dirt track racing events as well as a variety of events that cater to the Mid-Ohio resident. MMS can be found online at MansfieldMotorSpeedway.com and on social media at Facebook.com/MansfieldMotorSpeedway Twitter @RaceMansfield and via phone at 419-465-RACE.