Spokane Co. Super Oval Race Season Canceled; Emotions Run High - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane County Raceway Owner Dumps Oval Track Managers; Emotions Run High At Press Conference

SPOKANE, Wash. - KHQ learned Monday that all races at the Spokane County Super Oval have been canceled. That was the topic at a news conference this afternoon and to say that things got heated is an understatement. Craig Smith, the owner of the raceway, said the current lease holder of the oval track had until today to pay back a 13-thousand dollar delinquent loan. But the lease-holders say the owner should work with them especially after he worked to take away their biggest money-maker; alcohol sales.  

Sheri Tarr signed an eight year contract to manage the oval track last year where she would bring in 100% of all food and beverage sales. She made a lot of money, most of it from the beer they sold. However, when Smith became the owner of the Spokane County Raceway Park in February, he went to the liquor control board because he didn't think Tarr, who runs his oval track, could sell beer without a license. Turns out, the liquor control board agreed, so all of a sudden Tarr's most profitable item was taken away even though nothing in their contract changed. In turn, she couldn't pay the bills and now her contract's been terminated.  

When asked why Tarr didn't apply for a liquor license she said she can't because by law only one person on the property can have one. That person is the owner of the drag strip, Shawn Smith, the owner's son.  

Craig Smith says he will not be having races this weekend on the oval track but he told us today that he will re-open it next weekend in the interest of the racers, even if it costs a bit of money out of his own pocket. Still, at the press conference, several racers were there and they said they will never race on that track again as long as Craig Smith is the owner.

**Previous Coverage**

UPDATE: Craig Smith, the Manager and Operator of Spokane Raceway Park, notified the Tarr Family that they were delinquent on their rent. They owed approximately $13,000. They were given until Aug 27th (today) to pay the back rent. They failed to do so and were notified that their lease was terminated.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OPERATORS OF THE OVAL TRACK: It is with great sadness that I inform you the remainder of the 2012 racing season at Spokane County Raceway Super Oval has been canceled.

As many of you know, this has been an extremely challenging season at our oval track. We have put every ounce of time and money we have into making our track a place that is enjoyable for both the fans and drivers. Unfortunately, no matter how much hard work you put in, sometimes circumstances make it impossible to succeed.

Our relationship with the dragstrip started out rocky and has continued to deteriorate as the season has progressed. Craig Smith, the general manager of the dragstrip sent us a letter from his attorney demanding that all rent be paid in full no later than tomorrow August 26th, or our lease for the oval track would be terminated. Even though we had a very successful Spokane 200, our first obligation is to pay our drivers and employees.

After all expenses for the 200 have been subtracted, we simply do not have enough cover rent. We have tried to negotiate a discounted rent with Craig, and allow him to sell beer at our oval track, but he has been uncooperative. Without the revenue from beer sales, we cannot afford to pay the rent that Craig is forcing us to pay.

This rent was agreed upon when we believed we would be able to sale beer like we did last season. The loss of beer combined with the dragstrip canceling all of their Friday night races (That were suppose to be double headers) have made it impossible for us to make it.

We are out of money, out of options, and out of energy. Thank you for all of your support the last two seasons.

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