Galesburg Speedway Red Flagged

Wednesday, 28 April 2010 20:01 Patrick McNamara

The Galesburg Speedway did not open last weekend as scheduled and it’s unlikely the race track will open this Saturday because of contempt of court issues regarding the public address system, an issue which can be traced in part back to 1989.

With a sign posted on the gate blaming Charleston Township for the closure and a notice on the Speedway’s web site directing anyone “interested in knowing the whole story” to the township board meeting on Tuesday, more than 70 racers and race fans along with track owner Ralph Warning and his son Ryan crowded into the Charleston Township board meeting to plead their case to let the track open.

“As a prudent businessman, you should get these things taken care of and not put some ridiculous sign on the gate blaming the township,” said Township Supervisor Fran Bell.

Township attorney Craig Rolfe gave a brief overview of the 21-year conflict over the sound system, including most recently in October 2009, when the speedway was found to be in contempt because the sound system was not in compliance with the 1989 court order and another contempt of court citation in late 2008.

“The court has said you can’t run because you’ve dinked around for two years and not been compliant,” Rolfe said.

galesburgThree issues regarding the sound system were the height of the speakers on the poles, the angle of the speakers, and the decibel level during and between races.

Ryan Warning reported to the board that the speakers had been lowered to the height required and that the angle of the speakers had been adjusted so that both are in compliance.

Poring over an acoustical report regarding decibel levels, Rolfe and the two Warnings thought maybe the decibel issue had been resolved as well, but needed further verification from a sound consultant.

Rolfe will be conferring with Jim Shek, the speedway attorney, but a hearing before a judge will have to be scheduled to determine if the speedway is indeed in compliance and can reopen.

The speedway will have to provide verification to the judge that it has addressed the issues regarding the sound system, Rolfe said.

The township board authorized Rolfe to meet with Shek and then report back to the board.
How quickly a hearing can be held before the judge is unknown, but until then, the speedway will remain closed.

“The onus is on them (speedway),” Bell said. “It’s been 21 years since the (original) order was written. We need to bring closure.”