The scheduled closure of Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park is still expected to happen at the end of October 2015. But that doesn’t mean the track will close down for good. The Tooele County Commission is determined not to let that happen and according to the Salt Lake Tribune, the commission is already gearing up with its plans to search for a new operator of the race track.

County Commissioner Sean Milne told the Tribune that the search is already on for a new partner once the Larry Miller Group ceases operations of the popular race track later this year. Milne declined to identify these potential partners but he did say that the goal is to lock in a partnership, “be it an outright sale or a lease” with an entity that knows how to manage a race track. That’s not to say that the commission is going to be strict with this qualification, but it does beg the question on whether it’s already trimming down the list of potential candidates way sooner than it should.

Running and operating a race track is a tricky business, even for companies who have spent years doing it. While the commission hopes that a suitable partner can be found as soon as possible, it’s going to be difficult to find one that can check off all the boxes on the checklist.

Still, there remains a significant amount of optimism that an entity will come out of the fray and become the next operator of the facility once the Miller family leaves it for good. It’s a good sign that the commission is at least optimistic about this because looking for a new operator and actually finding one are two very different things, especially when you’re dealing with a business that caters to a rather specific clientele like the Miller Motorsports Park.

Just ask the Larry Miller Group how that turned out for them.

Continue reading to read more about plans to find a new owner for the Miller Motorsports Park.

Why it matters

I want to believe that the Tooele County Commission can find a new entity to take over the Miller Motorsports Park once the Larry Miller Group lets go of it later this year. But I also want to fly and probably have telekinetic powers.

The truth is that it’s harder than it looks, or at least harder than what the commission thinks it is. The Miller Motorsports Park is one of the country’s best race tracks. But there’s a reason why the Larry Miller Group decided to let it go. That reason boils down to the simple of fact that it isn’t making a lot of money to be successful, let alone sustainable, in the long term.

For a track to be successful, it needs to generate money by hosting races. A lot of races. These races attract a lot of fans and visitors to the track. The problem with the Miller Motorsports Park is that it doesn’t have enough races on its calendar to be profitable. Sure, top-flight racing series like NASCAR and the World Superbike Championships have used the track in the past. But using it once or twice is different from having a locked multi-year agreement to use it.

When there are no races to host, the Miller Motorsports Park needed to find other revenue-generating endeavors to keep the money coming in. The Larry Miller Group failed to make that happen because if it did find some way to keep the track and its facilities open and busy, it wouldn’t have let go of it in the first place.

Finding an entity that understands the business of motor racing and is willing to embrace the challenge of making the track and its facilities profitable isn’t going to be easy. That’s the challenge the Tooele County Commission is facing now. I want to wish them luck in this search because I’m one of the many who believe that Miller Motorsports Park should remain open.

But I don’t write the checks. The entity that decides to operate it does. All the commission has to do is find that entity. Good luck with that.

Source: Salt Lake Tribune

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