The Estevan Auto Racing Association held its annual general meeting on Monday to discuss several key issues, elect new board members and review financial statements.
Estevan Motor Speedway took in a net income of roughly $37,000 for the year ending Nov. 30.
The net income figure on the financial statement was over $180,000, but that does not take into account several items not accounted for elsewhere in the statement, including in-kind donations valued at $100,000 for building their new VIP boxes this year, as well as various debts.
The Speedway brought in about $147,000 in admission revenue this year, along with about $79,000 in advertising income and $58,000 from the concession.
It was noted that Championship Night, which featured TSN anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, as well as the combine demolition derby, brought in far more revenue than the regular race nights and accounted for a large chunk of the season’s revenue.
Major expenses included nearly $113,000 in prize money, $34,000 for the concession and $31,000 for advertising and promotions.
The track currently has about $72,000 in the bank. The statement has not yet been audited because the year-end date had not passed at the time of the meeting.
A new board was also elected. James Gustafson, Jim Harris, Geoff Mann, Ed Turnbull and Dale LaBatte decided to stay on for another term.
New to the board are Rod Pickering, Teresa Dumaine, Lynn Trobert and Tyson Turnbull. The track made a bylaw change so that board members will now be on staggered two-year terms following this year, meaning that the entire board will not be up for re-election every year.
Lengthy discussion was held on two major issues for 2012. No decision was reached on either, but the information brought forward will be discussed and likely decided at a board meeting on Sunday.
The idea of adding a sport mod class next year, possibly at the expense of another class, was mostly met with rejection. Nodak Speedway in Minot is adding the class this year and asked Estevan to sign on. The consensus was that it may not work out in Minot and that they only asked so that some drivers from Estevan would head down for their races.
Volunteer Dave Mack said “I don’t think we should get jumping up and down” over the issue because the Minot track hasn’t supported EMS much recently.
Another member said the Speedway’s car counts are low enough that they should maintain what they have, and another wondered where all the sport mods would come from.
The other issue discussed was the question of a race day for 2012, whether to continue with Wednesday nights or switch back to weekends. Gustafson noted that there was a minor increase in attendance and car count this season in the first year of mid-week racing.
However, the Wednesday dates meant drivers had to leave work early and leave the track early after the race.
“We felt that maybe some of the social aspect had disappeared,” said Gustafson.
It was also noted that Friday isn’t much different than Wednesday when it comes to drivers getting to the track on time, especially those from out of town and from other tracks. Member Pat Boyle responded that the Speedway has to do what’s best for its own interests.
“We’re not going to make a decision based on two or three cars from Swift Current, I hope,” he said.
It was felt that the main deterrent of returning to Saturdays was having to compete with other tracks for dates, including Williston. Mack supported keeping the races on Wednesdays.
“As a volunteer, I kind of like having my weekends off,” he said. “I think the balance sheet indicates it was successful.”