Bronson Speedway Looking to Reopen

Bronson Speedway Looking to Reopen

A trespasser sparked the movement to reopen Bronson Speedway. That unidentified person made a TikTok, which caught the attention of track owner Ann Young. When that TikToker called the Archer, Florida, paved oval an “abandoned speedway,” it did not sit well with Young.

“Abandoned speedway? No way,” said Young. “Call it neglected, not abandoned — that’s the real story. Whomever made the TikTok never asked permission to be on the property. They never attempted to contact me. They knew nothing of the history, the heartbreak, and why the speedway was neglected.”

The track ceased activities when Covid hit in 2020. It never put on a race again since then.

“Now, four years later my plan is to reopen Bronson Speedway,” Young said. “I’ve put it into God’s hands, and God has shown me the racing community is here to help me.”

Reopening Bronson Speedway Before

Young’s roots in racing runs deep in the sport. Her husband, Chris, had raced for years at New York’s Riverhead Raceway, in figure 8s and modifieds. Her son, also named Chris, currently competes at Riverhead Raceway in the modifieds. Young served as chief scorer at the paved 1/4-mile oval. When Bronson Speedway became available, the Youngs were interested.

“My husband and I bought the speedway — it would be our retirement project for us, in Florida, bringing together warm weather, sunshine and our love for racing,” said Young. “We closed on it on February 9, 2011. We soon found out there was a lot of work to get it ready to rock and roll.”

The track had not operated for two seasons.

“We were supposed to do a final walk-through with Tommy Dunford, who was the general manager for the track’s owners, Jane and Mike Cope,” Young said. “We had hoped to hire Tommy back as GM.”

They made calls looking for Dunford. To their surprise, they found out that Dunford had just died.

“The Copes left, and I watched it rain on my first day as one of the new owners,” said Young. “I had a ring full of keys in my hands, and never had the chance to talk to Tommy to know what the keys were for. Chris was home in New York, working and taking care of the kids.”

The track reopened in 2011. Things once again changed rapidly in 2015. Young’s husband, Chris, retired in April and looked to become a vital part of the track’s operation.

“He went to heaven in July 2015,” Young said in tears as she paused. “Now, I had to try to do it all, without my partner.”

Reopening Now

After Young saw the TikTok, she turned to her own social media to change the narrative. On March 23, a total of 18 people came to clear the weeds and show that Bronson Speedway was not abandoned.

Young feels there’s a need for Bronson Speedway, despite it struggling financially during the time she operated it. However, she has found that desire to see it come back is strong now.

“I ran the track out of my own wallet for many years,” said Young. “It paid off four years later. The families of Bronson showed up in force — as did businesses — when it came time to clean up the speedway.

“Someone said we needed a Bush Hog. Calls were made and a company named Roughneck showed up with a Bush Hog. We needed a dumpster, a dumpster showed up. We needed a dead tree removed, and a drone pilot offered to document the cleanup and the tree removal.

“I started off with a small vision and it was bigger than I ever imagined. The overgrown jungle was all cut down and cleaned up in one day.”

To reopen the track, Young said it’ll take some money to do so — money that she does not have. The grandstands need repair. The electrical system requires upgrading. The track eventually needs resurfacing. However, Ann Young, a widow with her youngest daughter in college, remains determined.

“I don’t know when the track will open — plans will be put in place by God,” Young said. “It will take a while and a lot of help to get it up and running. I own the property, and I don’t want to sell it. I want it to be an affordable Saturday-night, hometown, grassroots type of track … where kids and families can become involved in racing.”

To help with the reopening of Bronson Speedway, feel free to contact Ann Young through the Bronson Speedway Facebook page.