Home track of Richie Evans and Jerry Cook up for sale

0 Comments

Utica-Rome (N.Y.) Speedway, the home track of NASCAR Hall of Famers Richie Evans and Jerry Cook, is up for sale.

The track made the announcement on its social media channels Tuesday, with the advertisement noting that a sale would include all of its equipment.

Handling the sale are Gene and Tom Cole, whose family previously owned the track until selling to Bill and Kim Shea prior to the 2016 season.

WUTR-TV (Utica, N.Y.) reports that in a phone interview, Bill Shea said that he could no longer financially support the track due to effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as two rainy seasons beforehand.

Shea dealt the track back to the Coles, who have apparently found plenty of interest.

According to a report from the Times-Telegram (Herkimer, N.Y.), Tom Cole said that following Tuesday’s announcement, he received over 20 phone calls from potential local buyers and auto racing businesses outside New York state.

“If we get this sold by spring, maybe we have a couple of races this fall, maybe we have a couple this summer,” said Tom, who also told the Times-Telegram that Gene, his father, will make the final decision on the sale.

Evans and Cook, fierce hometown rivals from Rome, N.Y., combined to win 54 Modified races at Utica-Rome Speedway during their decorated careers. Evans earned 33 wins from 1965-78, while Cook earned 19 wins from 1963-74.

During that time, the track was a paved asphalt oval. It was converted to dirt in 1979.

Evans, who was killed in a practice crash at Martinsville Speedway in October 1985, claimed nine NASCAR Modified championships and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012.

He is one of only two drivers to earn that many NASCAR titles alongside fellow Hall of Famer and Modified icon, the late Mike Stefanik.

Cook won six NASCAR Modified championships and played a part in the creation of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 1985, when he served as its first series director.