New Era For Motordrome
Melfi Leads Track Into 25th NASCAR Season
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — New owners will open Motordrome Speedway’s 25th season of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series affiliation on May 2.
The half-mile paved oval in Smithton, Pa., was purchased this month by Todd and Melissa Melfi. It will be operated by their corporate entity, Turn 4 Entertainment Inc. The track is located 20 minutes south of Pittsburgh within the city’s metropolitan area population of 2.3 million.
“We are excited to partner with Todd and Melissa as they begin a new era at Motordrome Speedway,” said Bob Duvall, NASCAR senior director, business development. “They’ve planned a careful course to build a great future for participants and fans.”
The Melfis have plenty of experience in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track management.
Todd Melfi, a Pittsburgh native, helped conceive Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pa. The state-of-the-art facility opened in 2002 and joined the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2003. The Melfis were part of the track’s management team for five years. They departed when Todd became general manager of Iowa Speedway in Newton. He has a strong background in sports and entertainment marketing.
Melfi plans a course of stability and evaluation during Motordrome’s 2014 season. Friday night, five division racing continues for Late Models, Modifieds, Street Stocks, Chargers and Super Compacts.
The track’s sustained participation with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is a natural part of Melfi’s plans.
“The core of Motordrome Speedway is weekly racing. The track has a longstanding history behind it. We’re going to build a solid future on that foundation. Our best opportunity to do that is with NASCAR,” Todd Melfi said. “NASCAR is the best known brand in racing. Its credibility is second to none. It’s the leading sanctioning body in motorsports. NASCAR gives us a greater chance to succeed.”
Motordrome Speedway opened as a half-mile dirt track in 1972. It was paved in 1989 and joined the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 1990. Steve Peles, Glenn Gault, Charlie Cragan, Jeff Dunmyer and Richard Mitchell all won NASCAR regional championships racing there. Garry Wiltrout won his second Late Model track championship in 2013.
James “Red” Miley bought the track in late 2001. Miley passed away at the start of the 2007 season and his family maintained the track’s weekly racing program. It was operated by Stan Lasky 2008-2013.
“The Miley and Lasky families have been committed to western Pennsylvania weekly racing for generations,” Duvall said. “The Melfis are well prepared to assume a leadership role. Motordrome Speedway will continue to be a staple for fans, competitors and sponsors.”
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. More than 50 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participate.
NASCAR-licensed Division I drivers are eligible to compete for NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships and special awards at the track, state and national level. NASCAR special award programs are also available for support division drivers.
Pavement Late Model driver Lee Pulliam, 24, of Semora, N.C., won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North America are among the many showcases for Whelen products.
More information on the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is available at NASCARHomeTracks.com.
The 2013 Motordrome Speedway track champions include, from left, Matt Smith, Modifieds; A.J. Poljak, Street Stocks; Garry Wiltrout, Late Models; Jerod Brougher, Super Compacts; and Jonathon Hileman, Chargers. Courtesy Howie Balis