Dirt Track Racing’s Newest Racetrack: Vado Speedway Park

Construction of the Vado Speedway Park concourse in November. Still photos from www.HighDesertVideo.com.

The idea for building a state-of-the-art dirt track motorsports complex came about during the drives between Southern New Mexico Speedway (SNMS) and El Paso Speedway Park (EPSP). The long drives to and from Las Cruces and El Paso allowed Businessman Royal Jones, and his right-hand man Rue Stone, the time to discuss what the ultimate dirt track would look like. Jones has long been known for his forward thinking in business and racing. Couple that with the traditional dirt track philosophy of Rue Stone, the general manager of both tracks, and you get a marriage between the future of racing with the history of dirt oval past. Welcome to Vado Speedway Park.

Vado Speedway Park Proposal:

Preview of the new Vado Speedway park

Posted by Steve Calderazzo on Monday, October 29, 2018

Rue Stone recalls the conversations. “When Royal and I would be driving between El Paso Speedway Park and Southern New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces, we thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have a track between both cities? I really had a vision of trying to grow the tracks out here like we were doing at Manzanita Speedway, where I came from. I was raised in Phoenix and hung out at Manzanita my whole life,” he continued, “We wanted a state-of-the-art facility like this out here in the Southwest.

I really had a vision of trying to grow the tracks out here like we were doing at Manzanita Speedway.

Having cut his teeth at Manzanita, Arizona’s legendary dirt oval track, Stone’s thoughts of dirt track racing include names like Unser, Boat, McSpadden, Yeley, and Shuman. He was hired by Jones to manage the Southern New Mexico Speedway, another track with a great reputation and high-level of competition. He also took over management of the El Paso Speedway Park, a small track known as the most resilient dirt track on the border.

Making The Change

Jones has a proven gift for making changes at the right time. We documented that in an article back in 2011, when his tracks were really capturing national attention. “Royal actually thinks about 20 or 30 years ahead of everyone else and that is why he is so successful in all of his businesses,” Stone assessed. “He’s always looking at the big picture and that is what we are looking at in building this track.”

The attendance at SNMS and EPSP were maintaining at their peak level, and things showed no signs of slowing down. Yet, the team decided to shut down the border town track at El Paso, then shut down their Las Cruces track once the assets for a new track were finalized. “We had a good thing here, but we are going to do bigger and better things,” promised Stone. “We are going to have suites, advanced concession stands, a great 3/8-mile dirt track, a motorcross track, a go-kart track, lawn seating, pit stands, a playground, avant-garde restroom facilities, and 1,268 parking spaces.”

The track and parking area are clearly visible in this photo.

As the track is currently under construction, Stone – the new track’s general manager – tells us “people are already beating our doors down to come here. We already have the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars on the 2020 schedule.” He mentioned other series like Border Outlaws, Lucas Oil Shortcourse Off-Road Series, and the Amateur National Motocross along with their standard weekly racing program.

We are building a concrete concourse so women that want to wear high-heels can come out and not have to walk on dirt.

“This is going to be a fan-friendly track with great racing. We are building a concrete concourse so women that want to wear high-heels can come out and not have to walk on dirt.”

More Than Racing

The complex is expected to cost around $1.5 million, but the costs continue to rise as more amenities are added. To help offset the cost, and shorten the breakeven time, the facility will also host other events. “Because we own the facility, we can do some other things. Speaking for Royal, we are going to have fairs, concerts, circuses, and other things that may present themselves,” claims Stone. It is likely that the venue will hold car shows at some point in the future.

There really isn’t a facility like this anywhere in the Southwest,” said Stone. With racetracks around the country closing regularly, it appears that the management team is concerned with taking advantage of every opportunity to host events. “We’re trying to make this happen for everyone in the area,” he explained.

“As a multifaceted motorsports facility, we envision this as the kind of place where dads and granddads could bring their kids, their grandchildren on weekends,” Jones says. “Yes, we want a place where families can bring their kids, wives, uncles, and cousins and just have a nice little sit down and enjoy some great racing on Friday and Saturday nights,” Stone said. “We also want a venue where people can see events that gear toward motorcyclists, car shows, monster truck shows, and music festivals.”

A Great Use Of Land

In order to make this motorsports complex happen, Royal Jones and his team had to find a spot to build on. The team located an area between the SNMS and EPSP tracks that would pull racers and fans from both. Jones applied for, and was awarded a 35-year lease with the State Land Office to use the area near Vado, New Mexico. The arrangement specifies an annual base rent of $19,800 a year until the facility begins operations. At that time the rent will increase 3-percent a year. The community benefits by having as much as 74-percent from the lease payments to be used in support of the public education system in New Mexico.

Outgoing State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has said that the project “will spur economic development in Doña Ana County, create construction jobs and permanent jobs, increase the tax base of every community in the region, and at the same time earn revenue for public education.”

This was deemed great use of the land that was an area of concern. “Trespass and illegal dumping are common on state trust lands and especially troublesome in the area of the proposed motorsports complex.” Dunn said. “Not only will this project boost the local economy and support public schools, but the lessee will also help mitigate these ongoing problems.”

November Flyover of the track under construction:

Vado Speedway Park Fly-Over – 11/7/2018

Julian Herrera and I visited VSP yesterday and a lot of progress has been made. Sorry I had to repost this, the first one was just a little too dark.

Posted by HighDesertVideo on Thursday, November 8, 2018

How The 2019 Season Is Shaping Up

“A lot of people that grew up around racing and the automotive industry, they love racing so our plan with moving it here, is we’re going to get all the Rio Valley people, all of our El Paso fans, all of our Cruces fans and have one big branch and build one facility, plus pull people from the freeway,” Stone said.

“There’s already a person talking about building a hotel here, these truck stops in the area are going to flourish. People will come in for a one-night race and they’ll come and buy gas, they’re going to buy food,” he added.

It is rare to see a new track open, or reopen in an existing venue. The only time this has happened in the last few years has been within the confines of a fairground. In a time when many states are trying to get rid of racing at all levels, we have a state that is working with one of the most popular promoters and his staff to open a new track that is not on a fairgrounds. Rare indeed.

Vado Speedway Park 2019 Schedule:

  • Thursday, March 28 – Practice (all divisions) 6-10 p.m.
  • Friday-Saturday, March 29-30 – 305 Sprint Shootout. Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars ($2,500 to win), Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday, April 6 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Friday, April 12 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday, April 13 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Casa Nissan Legend Cars
  • Saturday, April 20 – Lucas Oil POWRi/NMMRA 360 Non-Wing Sprint Cars, Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Friday, April 26 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers Legends.
  • Saturday, April 27 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Thursday, May 2 – Practice (all divisions) 6-10 p.m.
  • Friday-Sunday, May 3-5 – 2nd Annual Short Track Shootout. Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Saturday, May 11 – Lucas Oil POWRi/NMMRA 360 Non-Wing Sprint Cars, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Friday, May 17 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday, May 18 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday-Sunday, May 25-26 – Salute to Indy. Saturday: ASCS Southwest Region 360 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars. Sunday: ASCS Southwest Region 360 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Friday, May 31 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Saturday, June 1 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday, June 8 – Lucas Oil POWRi/NMMRA 360 Non-Wing Sprint Cars, Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Casa Nissan Legend Cars, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Friday-Saturday, June 14-15 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday, June 22 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Saturday, June 29 – MVT Night + Fireworks. Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars.
  • Friday-Saturday, July 5-6 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Saturday, July 13 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Stocks Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Friday, July 19 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Saturday, July 20 – Lucas Oil POWRi/NMMRA 360 Non-Wing Sprint Cars, Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Friday, July 26 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday, July 27 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Stocks Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Friday-Saturday, August 2-3 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Saturday, August 10 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Stocks Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Friday, August 16 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Saturday, August 17 – Lucas Oil POWRi/NMMRA 360 Non-Wing Sprint Cars, Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Friday-Saturday, August 23-24 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday-Sunday, August 31-September 1 – Border Tour. ASCS Southwest Region 360 Winged Sprint Cars, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Saturday, September 7 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Saturday, September 14 – Lucas Oil POWRi/NMMRA 360 Non-Wing Sprint Cars, Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Friday-Saturday, September 20-21 – Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Anthony Sosa Roofing Late Models, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, Casa Nissan Legend Cars.
  • Friday-Saturday, September 27-28 – Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers.
  • Thursday, October 3 – Practice (all divisions) 6-10 p.m.
  • Friday-Saturday, October 4-5 – INEX Legends Car Dirt Nationals. Casa Nissan Legend Cars, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, American Documents & Dent Works Super Trucks, Clayton Donnelly Roofing Claimers + Mod.
  • Thursday, October 24 – Practice (all divisions) 6-10 p.m.
  • Friday-Sunday, October 25-27 – 20th Annual Toyota USRA Fall Nationals. Rancho Milagro USRA Modifieds, Hacienda Carpet & Tile USRA X-Mods, Sun Valley Hardware USRA Stock Cars.
  • Friday-Saturday, November 29-30 – Inaugural Turkey Bowl. POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League, Lucas Oil POWRi/NMMRA 360 Non-Wing Sprint Cars, Lucas Oil POWRi 305 Winged Sprint Cars.

*SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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