Family entertainment will be returning to the Afton Motor Speedway after more than a year's absence, several people said Monday.
The speedway, at the site of the fairgrounds, is getting ready for stock car racing on April 24, said Joanne Rocket. She and her husband, David, are leasing the dirt track from the fair board. The season will run on Friday nights through September, with special races in October, Rocket said.
Tickets will be $5 a person, she said.
"We'll bring affordable entertainment to the area," she said.
The Afton track is owned by the Afton Driving Park and Agricultural Association, which is leasing it to the Rockets for an undisclosed amount. said board president Dennis Fletcher. The couple came to look at the site in the fall, he said, and a meeting was held for owners and drivers in December.
"We are backing them 100 percent," said Fletcher, who was hopeful the endeavor will succeed.
He said he was looking forward to seeing the site used after sitting idle for about two seasons. The track has only been used once since the Flood of 2006, he said, as the damage from that incident led to the loss of the promoter at the time, Fletcher said.
Efforts to find a replacement had been unsuccessful until now, he said. The track has been used for stock car races for about 20 years.
The Walden couple have been running the asphalt track at Bethel Motor Speedway track in White Lake for about 10 years, Joanne Rocket said. Her husband started racing on a dirt track about 30 years ago, she said, though as a promoter he no longer has the time to race.
Bainbridge stock car racer Skip Pickwick said that experience will probably help the couple succeed.
Since the Afton track closed, he has been racing at one in Cortland, but he will be returning, he said. He met the couple when they looked at the facility in the fall.
"If anyone can pull it off, I think Dave and Joanne Rocket can," he said. "They are no-nonsense people" who understand what they need to do.
Afton Mayor Sally Muller said the couple came to a recent village meeting to introduce themselves and answer questions.
"They seemed like nice folks that wanted to do things the right way," she said.
"There is extensive work to do," including painting and cleaning, before they can open, Rocket said. But from the comments she has received so far, "I think we are going to do OK."
More information is available online at www.aftonmotorspeed.com.