QUINCY — Kim Abbott wears her feelings on her sleeve, especially when it comes to dirt-track racing.
“It is sad … and it’s also pretty depressing,” said Abbott, the only female track champion in the long and storied history of Quincy Raceways, which for the second straight year sits idle at its familiar 8000 Broadway outpost.
Abbott, the only female driver to win a track championship at the Broadway Bullring, is like others these days. The Camp Point resident is not only frustrated about not being able to race on her home track, but extremely dispirited having to watch its slow and painful demise.
Grass and weeds have grown over what used to be .29-mile racing surface. Plenty of work now needs to be done to the entire facility if it is ever to open again. And that’s a mighty big “if.”
Paul Holtschlag, a Quincy businessman who owns the 28.5-acre property, has admitted he has been frustrated himself trying to find a buyer. He has worked with several different potential individuals and/or groups over the past year, but to no avail.
“There’s no news on the track,” said Holtschlag via text to the Muddy River News (Holtschlag, whohas been involved with track ownership as far back as 2009,is currently out of town).
Pat Dunker, a longtime fan and supporter of the track who also drover a hobby stock for a few years, says he, too, is extremely disappointed.
“I think it’s over,” he said. “I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we’ll ever see racing there again.”
There has been no racing at the track since 2019, the final season Jason Goble served as operator. Jason Goble and Robert Goble bought the track through a contract for deed late in the 2017 season from Holtschlag, who said he served as the “bank” for the transaction. In 2020, Jason Goble, who operated the track by himself in 2018 and 2019, asked to be released from the contract for deed agreement and Holtschlag agreed.
Quincy Raceways was unable to open in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, and Goble eventually went to work helping operate the Randolph County Raceway near Moberly, Mo. Goble did not return phone calls earlier this year and his current whereabouts are not known.
Holtschlag has not revealed what the current asking price for the Quincy Raceways property is, but previously said the land had been appraised at $325,000 in 2012. That figure did not include any of the structures, equipment, etc., that would be part of any sale. Holtschlag has repeatedly said he prefers to sell to a buyer wishing to keep dirt-track racing alive. The last resort could ultimately find Quincy Raceways going to the auction block.
Holtschlag has repeatedly said he no longer has the time to devote to the track, having business interests in both West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.
Until the past two years, the track had been an integral part of the region’s spring, summer and early autumn culture since 1975. On many of the Sunday nights when it hosted weekly shows, especially up to about 10 years ago, it served as the second-largest “city” in Adams County. Regular turnouts of 3,000 to 4,000 onlookers overflowed the bleacher area at the track. In recent years, crowds had dwindled to an average of about 1,000.
When the track was unable to open in 2020, that snapped an uninterrupted string of 45 years of dirt-track racing at the site.
“We always knew where we would be on Sunday nights,” Dunker said. “We knew if it was Sunday, we would be at the track. I made a ton of friends through that track.”
Abbott said she has been surprised that someone or some group has not stepped forward to buy the track. She said she can still remember how she felt when 2020 rolled on without any racing — and then this year the same same scenario was repeated.
“I think it caught everyone off guard, it’s just sad,” Abbott said. “The only place I race now is Friday nights at Donnellson (Iowa). Quincy was the only Sunday night track in the region.”
The Albert Scott family built and developed Quincy Raceways in the early-to-mid 1970s, eventually selling the track in early 2007. Since then, seven different individuals or groups owned and/or operated the facility. (The late Albert Scott, who died at age 87 in August 2000, founded the the track and was directly involved in its operation until three years before his passing.)
Kenny Dobson of Jacksonville, Ill., ran the track from 2014-17 for Holtschlag, who served as owner, and was arguably the most successful post-Scott era operator of the Bullring. But he has no desire to do so again.
“I just can’t commit to spending Sundays away from home all day and all night, plus the time is takes during the week,” said Dobson, the longtime operator of Jacksonville Speedway. “We really enjoyed our time running Quincy Raceways and all the great people we met there.”
Dobson said family and other business commitments prevent from trying to oversee two tracks again.
“Running Jacksonville Speedway, which is less than a quarter of a mile from my home, is plenty for this old man,” Dobson said.
The rich history of Quincy Raceways was punctuated by a corps of its most familiar and successful drivers over the past quarter of a century, most notably Mark Burgtorf and Hank DeLonjay. Burgtorf won 16 late model championships and DeLonjay 13 in the modified and sportsman divisions. Will there ever again be the opportunity to add to those kinds of memories?
“Hopefully, there is a bored millionaire somewhere looking to buy a race track,” Dunker said.Hopefully, is obviously the operative word.
QUINCY RACEWAYSOWNERSHIP TIMELINE
1975-93: Albert Scott
1993-2007: Bob Scott
2007-09: Tony Rhinberger-Mike Karhoff
2008-09: Tony Rhingerger
2009-11: Tony Rhinberger-Paul Holtschlag
2011-14: Paul Holtschlag-Bob Rhinberger
2014-17: Kenny Dobson, operaor (Holtschlag owner
)2017: Jason Goble-Robert Goble
2018-19: Jason Goble
2020-2021: Track has been closed