8/29/2017 12:46:00 PM New Castle Motorsports Park gets $200,000 state grant for 'slick' track
Kevin L. Green, Courier-Times
One of Henry County’s biggest tourist attractions has plans to expand and improve, and thanks to a recently announced state grant, those efforts are already underway.
It was announced at a recent meeting of the Henry County Commissioners that New Castle Motorsports Park is getting a $200,000 Indiana Economic Development Corp. Motorsports Improvement Fund grant. Owners of the facility located at the junction of I-70 and Ind. 3 plan to add $78,000 to the grant with the idea of improving signage and constructing what’s known in the racing world as a “slick” track.
Mike Adams, who manages the local motorsports facility, credits Indiana Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) for working to secure the grant and said Saunders has supported and worked to improve the track for many years.
Adams also talked about what’s planned for the immediate future.
“One of the things that we’re looking at doing is putting in a slick track,” he said. “A slick track is a small, smooth, polished concrete track. It’s designed for karts to get out there and drift around. You see a lot of them at kart concession facilities, especially in the south.”
Adams said Indiana had a slick track in Plainfield until its owner decided to shut it down not long ago. That owner now has a garage at New Castle Motorsports Park and is working with Adams and others involved with the layout and design of the slick track planned for Henry County.
“This slick track will be another attraction to our existing facility,” Adams said. “This new track will be more geared towards concessions than many of the events we host out here.”
New Castle Motorsports has been in business since 2004 and the facility stays busy.
It offers concession (rental) karts on a daily basis and caters to individuals as well as private parties and corporate events. It also hosts several races each season, and already features two tracks, which Adams said allows them to host a race and still have a track available for those persons interested in renting karts.
It also hosts 14 Kart Races of America events annually, drawing people from throughout the Midwest. Several regional races are held each summer as well and they bring in people from as far away as Wisconsin, Missouri and even North Carolina. As well, the Henry County track hosts national and international events on a regular basis.
“We just had an event out here a couple of weeks ago and we had something like 30 different countries represented from all over Europe and South America, so we’re seeing people from all over the world coming out here to race with us,” Adams said.
Spectators are welcome to visit the track and watch the racing action free of charge. For that reason, Adams said he isn’t sure how many non-racing visitors the facility attracts. He estimated the number of people involved in kart rental and racing events numbers somewhere around 70,000 to 80,000 annually.
That many people visiting Henry County is obviously good for the local economy.
Murphy has described the local motorsports facility as one of Henry County’s best kept secrets in the past and has consistently touted it as one of the top attractions in the county.
Rep. Saunders said the motorsports park is a great asset for Henry County. He noted its owner not only pays a good deal in property taxes, but the site also serves as a big draw for people who spend money while they are here and thus contribute to the inn keeper’s and food and beverage taxes as well as the state gasoline tax.
“The more people we can get to visit that track the more revenue we generate,” Saunders said. “There was a special fund established for motorsports, so I’m glad we were able to take advantage of it. The motorsports track has been a good community neighbor and this is a good project for Henry County.”
Adams said he anticipates the new slick track increasing business at the facility and anticipates visitors coming from as far away as a two to three hour drive to make use of it and the other tracks already in place.
New Castle Motorsports Park is generally open Tuesday through Sunday from around mid March till early November.
Typical hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Adams suggests calling 765-987-8090 for specific hours of operation.
Construction of the slick track is already underway. Adams anticipates it being open to the public in approximately six weeks.