The 13 auto racing venues in the Mountain State, such as Tyler County Speedway (pictured), could benefit from West Virginia S.B. 467. The proposed bill in the state legislature looks to give motorsports venues a tax break to help incentivize their construction and renovation projects.
In their last session, state senators Mark Maynard and Rupie Phillips sponsored West Virginia S.B. 467, aka “Creating a West Virginia Motorsports Entertainment Complex Investment Act.” However, it failed to pass. They have since reintroduced it, with support from the West Virginia Motorsports Committee.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice appointed the committee. It includes Laura Bowman, of Summit Point Motorsports Park; Joseph Rush, of the American All-Star Series; Tim Cotter, of GNCC Racing; John Fekete, of Hatfield-McCoy Trails; and Chris Pierce, who had recently owned 304 Speedway.
“We are tasked with promoting motorsports in West Virginia, and in the course of doing so, we found that a number of facilities needed capital improvement,” said Bowman, who serves as the Community Outreach Manager for Summit Point Motorsports Park. “We are asking for a moratorium on sales tax to offset the cost of the investment in materials and equipment needed for improvements at each facility.”
S.B. 467 calls for the recognition of the two things. First, the economic and civic value that additional motorsports can provide to the state. Second, the importance of providing incentives to attract large-scale investment in motorsports entertainment complexes.
“Motorsports in West Virginia has not be recognized as a key player in the tourism and economy of the state,” Bowman said. “We are bringing it out of the darkness and shining some light upon it.”
Bowman pointed out that racers and fans spend $300 to $500 in the local economy when attending races. Summit Point Motorsports Park offers 200 days of racing, with 90% of its customers from out of town.
“There is a significant increase to statewide and local commerce when racing takes place,” said Bowman. “Where the four or five key players help the regional economies, it is the smaller tracks that create local community commerce.”
Bill sponsor, Senator Mark Maynard, played a critical part with the S.B. 467 bill as well as other pieces of legislation geared toward motorsports facilities.
“Senator Maynard is a member of PRI,” Bowman said. “PRI found out about the Motorsports Committee’s mission and S.B. 467, and saw that it would tremendously benefit all of motorsports in West Virginia and beyond. PRI has been helpful in getting the word out that we need support for this bill and S.B. 581, which would eliminate nuisance lawsuits filed against all sporting venues.”
Bowman and PRI encourage race fans and racers to voice their support for West Virginia S.B. 467. To do so, use the following link, which includes a premade letter that you can send directly to the economic development committee.
For information on the upcoming Zoom hearing for West Virginia S.B. 467, or to speak during it, contact:
Phillip Childs, Staff Attorney for Economic Development
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 51st year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.