Cayuga woes compound with loss of race

JIM CRESSMAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

Cayuga Motor Speedway -- which bills itself as "Canada's crown jewel of stock car racing" -- has lost most of its lustre.

Beset by financial and management woes in recent years, the latest casualty is the prestigious Automobile Club of America (ARCA) Re/Max Series race, that had been scheduled to go on June 28.

Late last week, ARCA abruptly cancelled the race and said it's too late to reschedule it at another track.

This is the second major racing series to part ways with Cayuga this year. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, which held two races there last year, scheduled none for there this season.

It's one reason Delaware Speedway landed its NCATS race on Saturday, which will mark the first time the series that replaced the CASCAR Super Series in 2007, has appeared at the historic half-mile. The last Super Series race at Delaware was in 2005.

(Delaware and Merrittville Speedway in Thorold are the oldest tracks in Canada, operating 58 years. Merrittville's one-third-mile remains a clay racing surface, while Delaware was paved with asphalt in 1960 when it was still its original quarter-mile).

Cayuga Motor Speedway failed to meet numerous deadlines in its contractual agreement with ARCA.

The Re/Max Series cancellation is not only an embarrassment to the track, but also for ARCA. That sanctioning group says this is the first time since 1998 that an event on its 57-year-old international tour has been taken off the schedule under such circumstances.

"We'd looked forward to building on the 2008 Re/Max Series event we established at Cayuga, but we've determined that pressing on for this year is not in the best interests of the series," ARCA president Ron Drager said from head office in Toledo, Ohio.

"We wish (track president) Jerry Santucci and Cayuga well going forward."

But by the sounds of that, ARCA might not return to Cayuga in the future.

Santucci issued a statement from his Toronto office.

"We at Cayuga Motor Speedway accept responsibility for this unfortunate circumstance. ARCA is a first-class organization and we regret the inconvenience this causes the series, its teams, sponsors and fans.

"We worked diligently, but as deadlines approached it became increasingly apparent we would not be able to promote and conduct the event successfully due to issues within our ownership group."

Sources say most of the in-house issues revolve around money.

Another sign of the troubles at Cayuga can be found on its website. It still lists the ARCA event as its first racing weekend of this season, but also says the 2009 schedule is "coming soon."

A website posting goes on to say Cayuga is waiting to sign agreements for three race weekends, which doesn't seem enough to keep the racetrack afloat in this industry.

Delaware's big weekend begins Friday with the U.S.-based Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Super Sprint Series joining the open-wheel modifieds and trucks. Super sprint time trials are at 7:30 p.m., with racing at 8 p.m.

More details available at www.delawarespeedway.com.


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