BUSTI - Signs of construction can be seen everywhere at Stateline Speedway as workers ready the track for the upcoming racing season.
Speedway renovations remain ahead of schedule and will be complete for opening night July 5, according to Bill Catania Jr., who owns Short Track Management along with his wife, Lynne. Catania, a Westfield native, is leasing the property while working toward purchasing the facility from Seamens Speedway Inc.
Since announcing the agreement at a May 13 press conference, Catania has managed to complete the majority of work he said he would - and then some - in a little over a month.
Photo by Mallory Diefenbach
The wood which posed a danger to fans in the front straight away grandstands have all been replaced.
"It is a lot of things," said Catania, who plans to host racing through October this year. "From the new PA system to the track surface itself - we spent a lot of time getting the rocks out of it - to the new grandstands. There have been a lot of upgrades on the concession stands. We brought in 40 loads of gravel for the driveways, and lots and lots of paint. We painted the buildings, and we renovated the press tower as well. So, pretty much everything has been touched."
With 35 men working at any one time, it comes as no surprise little remains to be done. Most of the work which remains - painting, new lumber for the back straightaway grandstand and the construction of a playground for children - can be done within a couple of hours to a couple of days.
According to Catania, if the track opened tomorrow, fans would be happy. Even so, he remains determined to make sure track fans see the Stateline Speedway that lives in his imagination.
"I want to get it as close to perfect as I can get," Catania said. "I haven't spared any expense. Why start now?"
Catania spoke of other surprises fans can expect when the track opens, from mirrors in the bathroom for women to quicker service times at concession stands. He also mentioned a return of souvenirs, including the drivers' shirts, and a shuttle for those who are handicapped. The e-mod payout will also dramatically increase with the winner of the Paula Southwell Memorial receiving a payout of $5,000.
Even with all the work nearly finished, Catania still looks to the future. He expressed interest in buying another speedway and building a large restaurant for VIPs near the track. He also spoke of resurfacing the track and building a new building in the pits for next year.
Even with all the reconstruction going on, ticket prices will remain the same.
For a full schedule of events going to happen at Stateline Speedway, visit racestateline.com or call 814-244-1539 for more information.