LaSalle Speedway owner Kerry Izzo held back tears as she reminisced about seeing drivers like Bobby Pierce, Hudson O’Neal, and Devin Moran as small children running about her track. The Izzo family has the Illinois dirt track up for sale, although there may be other opportunities to see the gates reopen.
“I knew them as babies,” said Izzo, 74, of the three aforementioned drivers. “When I saw Hudson win, Bobby take second and Devin take third at Davenport [Speedway in Iowa] last year, I had to get a photo with them. It’s my most treasured photo. All three of them are so talented.”
Izzo, along with her husband, Tony, and son, Tony Jr., has owned LaSalle Speedway since 1991. It last heard the rumble of race cars around it in 2021. Since then, it’s been up for sale, with the asking price recently reduced to $1.9 million. (See real estate listing here.)
“LaSalle Speedway is near and dear to me, more than I can tell you,” Izzo said. “We had the best of the best drivers, big concerts, and big races. We accomplished a lot in 30 years, turning LaSalle Speedway into an outstanding facility.”
Izzo sadly recalled the day her family made the decision to put the track up for sale.
“It broke my heart to put the [For Sale] sign up,” said Izzo. “I cried and cried the day it went up for sale. I’ve had people say they want to buy it. But, sadly, they don’t have the money, nor the ability to run it as a racetrack.”
The LaSalle Speedway facility consists of 57 races, with 30 of them used by the oval. The grandstand holds 3,500 fans. Two single-family homes exist on the site. A recent appraisal placed it at more than $2 million, according to Izzo.
“LaSalle County is not a real wealthy county,” Izzo said. “We couldn’t always have World of Outlaws or Lucas Oil late models. There aren’t many local people building race cars. If weekly racing — a smaller show — would work, I’d jump in in a heartbeat. We’d just need help.”
Finding quality people to help run a track is a problem not confined just to LaSalle Speedway.
“Just look at the internet,” said Izzo. “The [DIRTcar] Summer Nationals is looking for interns. Tracks from Macon [Speedway in Illinois] to Volusia [Speedway Park in Florida] are looking for help.”
Izzo remains open to bringing on an investor.
“If anyone comes forward with a vested interest and wants to partner up on LaSalle Speedway, I will be there,” Izzo said. “I’m an old broad that’s been around racing since she was a teenager. I’m here for anyone who can make this work.”
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.