Short track racing will soon return to Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia this summer.
Bill Mullis had leased and operated the speedway from 2009-2015 but was locked in a disagreement over the eventual sale of the property that shut it down last year. He was finally able to purchase 4/10-mile track and the land it sat upon and announced his plans on Friday at the Hampton City Hall.
The raceway had been open for 65 years before its closure and was the longest continually operating NASCAR Home Track. During the press conference, Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting said the city lost $100,000 in revenue in 2016 due to the entertainment void left by the closed track.
Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck was also in attendance and pledged his full support to the facility.
Mullis spent nearly $2 million to purchase Langley Speedway from the California-based family that owned the property for over 150 years. Now that Mullis is the sole owner of the property, upgrades are coming, and the first race back will be on April 1.
“I have a plan that gives the speedway a lot of permanency,” Mullis said during the conference. “So, my personal goal is to preserve the speedway for many, many years.”
He’s able to make these sort of commitments because Tuck has offered Mullis a grant from the Virginia State Tourism Bureau. The grant is expected to fund the track’s purchase and renovations, but that money is coming from hotel revenue generated and not taxpayer money.
“For 10 years, we’re basically going to rebate the amount of money they’ve been giving to us in taxes,” Tuck said.
The Langley Speedway community has long been one of the tightest knit families in short track racing and such a shared vision between owners, promoters and local government is rare. Mullis also announced the return of previous promoter track Chuck Hall.
All 11 racing divisions that competed in 2015 will be back on the schedule this season and the Hampton Heat 200 will return as the headline race this summer. Dates have not been finalized but could be announced as early as this weekend.