Manistee Fairground Board Discusses Plans to Host Short-Track Races

A Northern Michigan fairground board looking to fill the void after a raceway closed in Grand Traverse County.

The Manistee Fairground Board met Wednesday night to discuss plans on having short-track races hosted at the fairground.

Right now the space is only being used for two races a year, but if they decide to move forward, it would be a weekly or bi-weekly event.

This is after a new owner closed down Cherry Raceway in Fife Lake back in December.

They are now planning to use that property for an engineering company.

A move that devastated racers and community members.

“It’ll help bring racers to Onekema, bring more money into the community.”

Cherry Raceway may be closed but that doesn’t mean Northern Michigan racers and fans will miss a season. Manistee County Fairground Board is making plans for summer races.

Racer and board member Josh Guerne says, “I was pretty bummed out to hear cherry wasn’t going to race anymore but then I heard some people talking about Onekema starting up which we had raced there before and now we have the opportunity to hopefully run every week.”

For weeks the fairground board has been talking to racers and race promoters to see what kind of business races would bring into town.

“It’s going to bring everybody from Traverse City, Ludington, probably over by Cadillac. We get a hundred cars and then you get all the spectators it’s going to be busy.”

For some the noise from the races can be a downfall but others say these races will benefit the community in more than one way

“It’s  not just for us to have fun it’s going to help the fair to make it bigger, better, and if people support it that’s going to show.

And local businesses are hoping a busy town will bring more customers.

“It’ll bring in more money and you know the gas stations and obviously us, and they’ll be buying fuel and hopefully they’ll be buying food and pizza and all the local stores will get benefit from it.”  Says Ryan Cebula, owner of 1 Kama Mommas Pizza

While nothing is set in stone the fairground board is waiting to make a final decision on a promoter before moving forward with race plans.