For more than three decades, NASCAR and Kalamazoo Speedway have been partners, but that partnership is coming to an end.
The speedway has dropped it’s relationship with NASCAR starting with the 2018 season, according to WOOD TV.
“We have a great relationship with NASCAR,” Speedway owner Gary Howe said. “This is the hardest decision I’ve made in 18 years to drop this, and if it were up to me personally, I would not.”
The days of short track racing aren’t what they once were and Howe said the guys that typically run all 24 races are far and few between.
“In the last several years, the serious racers, the guys who go to 24 events a year, that’s really fallen off the wayside,” Howe said.
Part of the deal with NASCAR required all drivers that race at Kalamazoo to pay a fee to the organization. And for the drivers that run there all year, that’s no big deal. But as Howe said, that’s merely not the case anymore. Of the roughly 400 drivers from last season, only 33 competed in the full season.
For nearly 30 years, the track was the only NASCAR sponsored short-track in the state of Michigan — that was until Berlin Speedway became a NASCAR sanctioned speedway last season.
While Kalamazoo Speedway will still have track champions each season, the award money will be less and NASCAR won’ be handing out the trophies.
“It’s very sad for me,” Howe said. “If it was my decision, and if it was my decision from my heart versus my mind, I would still be with NASCAR.”
The Kalamazoo Speedway will kick-off their 2018 season on Apr. 27 with races starting at 7:30 p.m.