Race Track That Owners Said They'd Tear Down if No One Bought It by the New Year Got a Buyer Right on Time

Illustration for article titled Race Track That Owners Said They'd Tear Down if No One Bought It by the New Year Got a Buyer Right on Time
Image: Badlands Motor Speedway (YouTube)

In October, the website for South Dakota dirt track Badlands Motor Speedway was headlined by a countdown clock with 86 days on it. The countdown was to noon on Dec. 31, when the recently remodeled track’s owners would give the OK on tearing it down for a wildlife sanctuary if it hadn’t been purchased by then.


But just a few days before the clock hit zero, a buyer stepped in.

The Brandon, South Dakota track has a thing for updating the public using its entire website, hence the former giant countdown clock and explanation about the wildlife sanctuary, and Speed Sport noticed Friday that the clock had been replaced with a message from the track’s management team. The message said the track’s ownership reached an agreement with racing promoter Steve Rubin, who the website said operated the track under his family’s ownership for 28 years before Speed Sport reports they sold to its current owner in 2015.

The website announcement said Rubin requested between 30 and 60 days to get financing and investors, and that the plan is to start racing on Memorial Day weekend under the track’s former name, Huset’s Speedway, next year. Both the current owners and Rubin agreed that if the efforts to get the money together fail, the facility will be “be demolished and discontinued at that time.”

The owners currently aren’t accepting any other offers, either. From the site:

In addition to a full racing schedule, fans can expect to see concerts and special events of all kinds at the largest outdoor venue in the state of South Dakota on nearly 80 acres and with a capacity of over 20,000.

We are thrilled to see the Rubin Family back at the helm in Brandon at Huset’s Speedway. We are confident that Brandon, Race Fans, Race Teams and millions of others will enjoy the facility for another 28 years or more under the direction of Mr. Rubin and his family.

The situation with Badlands Motor Speedway has been bizarre for a while now, and gets even more odd with the family that sold the track in 2015 stepping back in to save it from destruction. As we wrote in October, Badlands opened in 1954 as Huset’s Speedway and has hosted local, regional and national races that have included NASCAR drivers like Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne.

The owner of a payday loan company called Dollar Loan Center, Chuck Brennan, bought the track about three years ago and did a huge, upscale renovation on it. All of that tallied a $15.8-million investment into the track since the purchase, according to a note that used to be under the countdown clock on the website.


Laws capping interest rates on Brennan’s payday loan company led him to close properties like the track, and as of October, it had been on the market for about two years and gone through a failed auction process. That’s just a small part of the story, though, which there’s more on here.

With the efforts to sell not working, the track’s website turned into a countdown clock and an explanation of what would happen if the clock hit zero without any buyers at the table. The asking price was $6.3 million, it said, and if noon on Dec. 31 rolled around without a purchase agreement, the plan was to demolish the newly renovated track and create a wildlife sanctuary.


That would allow the owners to “realize a full loss of all of those dollars spent for tax purposes,” and, after the track teardown, the “top-soil would all be re-distributed and re-seeded and there would truly be a pristine area accompanied by the split rock creek for the deer and the antelope to play.”

But it seems like the demolition won’t happen after all, if the new deal with the former operator of the track goes through. That’s a good thing, too, if you’re a racing fan—local tracks aren’t exactly an abundant resource these days.

Staff writer, Jalopnik



It sounds like the current owner is taking a serious bath on this one, and to that I say good. Fuck predatory payday loan companies and the people who run them in every way possible.

(I personally have no experience with them, but the fact that they prey on the impoverished and generally defenseless angers me.)