CORBIN — The preliminary steps of bringing auto racing back to Corbin Speedway are underway.
Newly appointed track promoter and Casey County resident Joey Pittman has been involved in auto racing in some capacity for nearly 30 years.
“I promoted cart tracks, motocross and I actually raced dirt cars for 16 years,” he said.
Pittman said in October he and his father traveled to Corbin in hopes of just locating the Corbin Speedway.
“We didn’t know how long it’d been since it had been opened, you know anything like that. We went down one Sunday just riding around and checked it out.”
After taking a couple of pictures and posting them to Facebook, Pittman said he started receiving several messages asking if he had plans to open the track again. He added the thought of opening the track really hadn’t crossed his mind and still wasn’t his motivation when he called trying to collect more information about the track.
“I tried to reach out to some folks who owned it. That way I could go down and see if they’d let me be nosey, you could say, and check things out because that track has a lot of history.”
Pittman’s investigation eventually led him to a phone conversation with local attorney Aaron Howard. Howard and a group of other individuals purchased the 15-acre property in 2015 for $181,000 at a Master Commissioner Auction in Williamsburg.
“[He] asked me if I was maybe possibly interested in opening the track. I said, ‘I was just wanting to look at it, but it’s a possibility, being a former racer, track promoter and series promoter.’ We just started talking, got together, and got us a lease we kind of both agreed on and it went from there.”
Pittman has been busy since coming to an agreement with Howard. He has been working to procure sponsorships, he’s created a Facebook page where he keeps the public informed, and has scheduled a meeting to meet with potential drivers and other local racing enthusiasts.
“We’ve got some of the racers are going to meet us there and I’ve been working on a lot of the rules, just kind of base rule sets for the classes,” said Pittman.
The meeting is scheduled for this Saturday at the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Corbin.
“We’ll get their feedback on if we need to change a little something or we may be way off for that area. So, we want to meet with those folks, so they can meet us and see what we’re trying to do.”
As of now, Pittman said the track will host races in the following classes: late model, wedge body class, sportsman class, front-wheel drive stock and mini-cup.
According to Pittman, Corbin Speedway will need a lot of repairs before it can be reopened. Work on both sets of grandstands will need to be conducted, as the wood has begun rotting away. Pittman said he and his crew plan to work on track’s bathrooms, tower and do a lot of cleaning.
One change that won’t take place is the Speedway’s racing surface. Pittman says the track will stay asphalt, despite some wishing for it to return to a dirt track.
“Actually, I’ve had a lot of people, especially dirt guys that I know, telling me to put dirt on it. There’s a dirt track that probably if I pushed hard, I could have gotten that’s 20 minutes from my house, versus the hour and a half I have to Corbin. I was more interested in the blacktop stuff,” he said laughing.
As far as public support, Pittman said he receives messages daily on Facebook asking him about the track and wishing him luck.
“I’ve got people every day constantly sending me messages saying they’re looking forward to it. I’ve got tons of old pictures folks have sent me of old races. I guess a lot of their family members had raced there and won races.”
Pittman hopes to have everything ready and to have the track open the first weekend of April 2020.
“We’ve got a busy winter,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting to know the people in the Corbin area and getting the racetrack back going. I’m actually chomping at the bit to get started and actually for this meeting Saturday. Hopefully, good Lord willing, next weekend we’ll get to rolling on stuff. We’re just looking forward to getting going.”
Pittman says a website will be developed closer to opening weekend and once details are finalized. In the meantime, for more information on the progress of the Corbin Speedway’s reopening, visit The New Corbin Speedway’s page on Facebook.