Purkey hopes to bring his winning formula to track promotions at Mid-America Speedway
By John Rittenoure, SOUTH COFFEYVILLE, Okla. (December 11, 2016) - With seven MLRA titles and two NCRA late model championships, veteran Al Purkey has been very successful in his racing career.
Now Purkey hopes to bring that success to track promotions with the re-opening of Mid-America Speedway in South Coffeyville, Oklahoma.
Purkey will promote the Mid-America track for owner John Fiore who recently purchased the speedway.
“We want to get it back to where it was,” Purkey said of the work needed to re-open the speedway. “The man who purchased it (John Fiore) developed an interest in it. He was a drag racer and decided he wanted to be in the race track business. He is very serious about it and that is why I took the job. We want it to be a track that fans and racers will want to go to.”
When Fiore offered the opportunity Purkey decided he would manage the track if the commitment was there to do it right.
“My dad had a racetrack for ten years and I promoted a couple of races along the way,” Purkey recalled. “When he (Fiore) called my wife and I talked about it and I decided to try it and see what happens.
“John (Fiore) has some resources to get this on its feet. It won’t be easy. When someone runs something down it is not easy to get it back on its feet.”
Plans are in the works to make the speedway more fan friendly.
“Our biggest thing is revamping the spectator area,” Purkey said. “There will be a deck area with casual seating that has chairs and tables. We bought some bleachers from the Minneapolis Speedway in Minneapolis, Kansas. We will start with seating for a little over 2,000. We will have some lawn chair spaces.
“We have a new tech building and new bathrooms going up in the pit area. We will have new walls on the end of the straightaways.”
Weekly racing will take place on Sunday and the track will become the third area track to carry NASCAR sanction.
“I got with Salina (Highbanks Speedway) and Humboldt and we created kind of an alliance and will run the NASCAR Whelen weekly series,” Purkey said. “We will race on Sunday evenings. That will help create an alliance with Humboldt and Salina. It will also allow cars to race at Caney.”
Modifieds will highlight the weekly show and several big paying special events are booked.
“We are going to run A-mods, B-mods street stocks and factory stocks,” said Purkey of his weekly format. “We will run the street stocks on a limited schedule because of Sunday evenings. We don’t want to run the program too long.
“We are going to start the year off with a B-mod show. We have a couple of MARS (late model) shows, we have two MLRA late model races that will pay $10,000-to-win each in July and September. We have a couple of POWRi midget shows and we will have two or three sprint car races.
“We want to do something to make an impact and let people know we are here to stay. We are not making a one-year plan, we are making a 10 to 15 year plan.
“Our opener is March 31 and April 1. It will be a $10,000-to-win A-mod race along with B-mods and street stocks. We will have a big end of year show that will focus more equal for the weekly guys.”
Purkey is encouraged by the response so far from racers.
“I have had calls from guys who have not raced in awhile and they are getting back in,” he said. “That is nice that they have that confidence that we will do a good job.”
Purkey said he feels fans and racers will like what they will see.
“We will have a complete new look and new attitude.”