WEST HAVEN, Vt. - A new era of racing will begin on the Champlain Valley Racing Association in 2010, as both Albany-Saratoga and Devil's Bowl speedways will make the transformation from dirt to asphalt.
Albany-Saratoga Speedway has already run two shows on its original asphalt surface, and is scheduled to be resurfaced beginning Nov. 9. A sub-base has been put down at Devil's Bowl, and the track will be paved in the spring.
The transformation actually began as an experiment, when Albany-Saratoga Speedway promoter Bruce Richards decided to remove the clay in September and run some shows on the original asphalt surface. At that time, he also booked dates with three asphalt touring groups (American Canadian late models, ISMA supermodifieds and True Value/ROC asphalt modifieds) for races in the spring, and the plan was to put the clay back down in May 2010.
But after discussions with his business partners, sponsors and race teams, the decision was made to make a complete change to asphalt at both tracks.
"This year was really tough," Richards said. "I can't tell you the time and effort that was put into track preparation this year, just to have it rain at 5 or 6 p.m. on a Friday night. After many, many years of working with the dirt deal, it's time to move on.
"I'm really excited about the change," he added. "We're opening up a new world of opportunities in regard to fans, race teams and sponsorship. By going asphalt, we're also going to be unique. There are a lot of dirt tracks in this area, but we will have the only show on asphalt, and we're going to be able to do some things the other tracks can't do."
Albany-Saratoga Speedway was built by Joe Lesik in 1965, and ran as an asphalt track from 1965 until 1976, when it was purchased by CVRA founder C.J. Richards, who switched to a clay surface for the 1977 season.