FONDA -- After three years as the promoter at the Fonda Speedway, Demitraszek Enterprises is moving on and selling all of its racetrack equipment.
Pete Demitraszek on Monday posted a message on Twitter, stating: "We are selling all of our track equipment as our lease was not renewed," using the @fondaspeedway1 twitter handle. "My wife and I owned all of the equipment that was used at the Fonda Speedway: the graters, the tractors, the cooking equipment – you name it, anything that made the place go. I could sell it to anybody I want. I'm just piecing it out. I'm done."
Demitraszek, who also operates a full-time plumbing business, said he was paying $50,000 per year to lease the track from the Montgomery County Agricultural Society, which owns the racetrack and operates the annual Fonda Fair. He said the society wanted more money, $65,000 or more per year, to lease the track, and he thought that was too much.
"I did this just to keep the place open," he said. "When I did this three years ago, they didn't have anybody else bidding. We bid it, and this is how you get paid back. To pay $70,000 a year, that's a lot for a piece of land you don't own."
Montgomery County Agricultural Society President Richard Kennedy disputed Demitraszek's account of the bidding process from three years ago. He said Demitraszek wasn't the highest bidder then, but he was chosen because he was local and was thought to be a good fit to run the track.
"Pete and his family did a really fine job, but there are challenges within that industry," Kennedy said. "Attendance across the board -- whether it be NASCAR or dirt track or any sort of motorized event -- attendance seems to be dwindling, and car counts seem to be dwindling in terms of actual number or racers actually involved, because it is a very expensive hobby."
Kennedy called the decision to seek another entity to run the track, in the end, "a mutual agreement."
The new lease holder is Brett Deyo, of BD Motorsports Media LLC. Kennedy said Deyo was a bidder for the lease in 2015, as well.
"Deyo showed interest again when the option came up to re-bid it," Kennedy said. "Brett is a very good promoter. He has some great ideas to help reestablish crowds in the stands and cars on the track."
BD Motorsports Media LLC has been granted a lease to operate the half-mile track until 2022. Kennedy would not confirm the lease figures Demitraszek mentioned.
According to a news release from BD Motorsports Media, weekly auto racing is planned for Fonda Speedway next season on Saturday nights, with opening night set for April 20. Racing continues through mid-August before breaking for the 178th annual Fonda Fair.
"The season will conclude in September with the return of the Fonda 200 for Modifieds paying a massive $20,000 to win, plus a full weekend of racing," states the news release. "The 200-lap year-end classic at Fonda has not been contested since 2002."
Racing classes under BD Motorsports will include: modifieds, sportsman, limited sportsman, pro stocks and street stocks. Special attractions will be added to select nights, with at least one high-paying midweek event on the schedule.
Kennedy said it was important for the Agricultural Society to maintain the Saturday night races at Fonda, to maintain the track's legacy of having once been a location used by the likes of the Petty and Allison racing families, as well as Shirley Muldowney.
"Brett Deyo has submitted a really good plan and proposal for how to continue that," he said.