The sound of race cars running around the track at the Vermilion County Fairgrounds has been heard for over fifty years. But that sound is now just a memory now that the Fair Board has decided to permanently close the Vermilion County Speedway.
‘’This hasn’t been a snap decision,’’ said Rick White, the President of the Vermilion County Fair Board. He noted the track has struggled for ten years under the direction of both some good and some bad promoters.
White says the Board has decided to ‘’re-purpose’’ the area in front of the grandstand seating at the fairgrounds. That area, roughly 140 to 150 feet deep, will be brought up to ground level so it can be used for such things as demolition derbies, concerts, tractor pulls, and moto-cross racing.
The track has had some big names race there over the years – including Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. Gordon had to sign a waiver at the time in case he got hurt because he was too young to race, according to White.
White says years ago the race track at the Vermilion County Fairgrounds was the place to be on Sunday nights. But he says things changed when Danville lost some industries and the race track lost many of its blue collar fans. And White says it got to the point where some promoters were not even getting a break-even crowd.
He emphasized it was purely a business decision to close the track. And White says he has already been approached by parties interested in using the fairgrounds more than just during fair week. He says the board continues to explore those possibilities – such as maybe a rodeo in front of the grandstands.
[Weeds grow around the racetrack at the Vermilion County Fairgrounds. Soon the racetrack will be re-purposed for other uses.] Note: You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.}