South Bend Motor Speedway draws in thousands on free admission n - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Motor Speedway draws in thousands on free admission night

The South Bend Motor Speedway held their usual Friday night race, but the only difference is general admission was free. Owner Steve Brown says “Free Friday” was expected to draw between 7,000-8000 people and it did just that.

Those in attendance were able to see some of the improvements made over the recent years at the speedway. "They've made huge improvements throughout the facility not only for the drivers back here but for the fans," driver Bobby Stremme said.

Stremme has seen the improvements made first hand not only as a driver but also a spectator. He has been going to the speedway since he was a kid. "Bathrooms used to be horrible. I'd rather go in a porter john than what it was then," Stremme said.

The bathrooms are currently been renovated at the facility, however there are a number of other changes that have happened. A new scoring and announcing tower was built, upgraded grandstands and new concession stands. "They're beautiful being able to go up to a nice concession knowing your food comes from somewhere clean," Stremme said.

Tony Eldridge is the Race Director at the South Bend Motor Speedway. He says free admission at a race is something rare. "It's really never been heard of in the racing community. It's a great thing. If you wanted to come out to a race track and you're nervous, I don't want to pay 12 dollars; what if I don't like it, what if it's too loud. Tonight's the perfect night," Eldridge said.

The large crowd may have been filled with some first time goers, but there were also regulars at the race. That included Buford Haines who was at the speedway hours before racing started. "I've been coming here since the 1970's and I haven't missed one yet," he said.

He wants people who may have come out for their first time to see the improvements and make it a routine. "I hope people see this and they might come back for more and more," Buford said.

Stremme, who raced on Friday night, says it wasn't just fans who might have been coming out for a first time visit. "Looking around there's a few cars I haven't seen here this year but I hope it brings more people," he said.

The speedway is currently for sale. Brown purchased the speedway with the goal of improving the speedway before passing it on to another owner. Brown has received offers but will not sell until the year is over. The “Free Friday” event was also held as a way to thank the fans for support of the South Bend Motor Speedway.

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