This year, a crown jewel is set to return to the short track racing scene as Jukasa Speedway will open its gates in late August for the first event of the season.
The track formally known as Cayuga Speedway has been closed the past seven years, but grew a rich history before then. Opening back in 1966, the ⅝-mile oval similar in size to Martinsville Speedway hosted a variety of series, including CASCAR, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the American-Canadian Tour, NASCAR Busch North, Hooters Pro-Cup, USAC, ISMA Supermodifieds, DIRT Modifieds and the ARCA RE/MAX Series. In the past, famous names like Bobby Allison, Benny Parsons, Don Biederman and Dick Trickle have been known to take part in events.
It’s a history that track promoter Alex Nagy says they won’t ever forget or leave behind, even with the new name on the front door step.
“We’re never going to forget that history and it’s a neat page,” he said. “So we’re turning that page and looking forward to the future with Jukasa. It’s not a word. My owners have a good reason, and several people have asked why the name Jukasa. It’s the initials of the owner’s nieces that were killed in a car accident so it’s paying tribute to the family. So we’re excited to have that. We’re looking forward to the future, but also remembering the past.”
Nagy and his staff are currently in the process of getting everything up and ready, with the first layer of asphalt put down in the fall of 2016, which allowed for Hudson Nagy and Larry Jackson to each take a couple laps before the snow fell. However, that’s just the first step as there’s still plenty left for them to do.
“Every week, it seems like we’re doing more but we’re all excited for it to come together,” he said. “Next week, we’ll have our crew that will finish the infield construction with pit road and everything there. So that’ll kick off a whole bunch of things. The safety fence company is coming in to drop materials now. So the next of three weeks will be really busy in getting ready to open in August for the APC and Super Late Model event. People can drop by, see photos of construction, and the race track is really on the same foot print. We just put a new retaining wall and raised the banking.”
All the work is being aimed to having the track ready for August 25 and 26, when they’ll host a big two-day event featuring the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour and a Super Late Model special.
“We’re working hard to get everything done,” Nagy said. “We’re working on getting the oval track portion done first. We’ll have a feature concert venue there that will be perminant and we also have some other cool things coming up. For now, our race date is at the end of August. People say why not have another race? Well, we won’t be ready till then and in September, there’s racing going on all over the province. That’s a tribute to all these great promoters so make sure you get out to all these tracks and see these guys. So with that said, it’s hard for us to pull something together that’d rival the event in August so we offered to just go with that event.
“We have twin 75s for the APC Series, which is the first time ever – $5,000 to win each, $2,000 if you’re the overall winner. The outlaw super late model race is $5,000 to win. There’s some other bonuses, teams that are running both races – there’s all kinds of things that are still coming down the pipe for that event that people need to watch for. I don’t want to say anything for sure, but when you come that weekend, we have 1200 camp sites and 600 with power, so we’ll have some live music on Saturday night. It’ll be a big weekend so we’re really excited. I know the fans our reaching out to me daily and by the end of March, our website will be launched and we’ll start to pre-sale tickets and such. Everything is happening at once, so we’re just trying to make sure that we’re ready to go.”
In getting ready for the event, part of the focus will be in getting word out to the people, whether that’s through TV, social media, or other means of communication.
“Fortunately, I am working with a great group of people and we’re just trying to figure out the best way to make it work and get started,” he said. “Yes, it has a lot of history – but it’s been sitting since 2011, so it’s a battle and social media will be big for us, already in getting the word out. We talked about kids and phones – us and phones in that way – so there’s so many ways to reach new people and finding ways to get to them to the track and use those devices there, or else we’ll be in trouble. That may not be the way to attract new people but once they get there, if they’re able to engage in that sort of thing, we may keep them involved.”