Senior staff writer
Whiteland Raceway Park’s new owners, husband and wife Andy O’Gara and Sarah Fisher, have not wasted time in making improvements to the outdoor karting track and facilities. O’Gara, a Beech Grove native, and Fisher, who live in Franklin Township, bought the track with Wink Hartman, a Midwest oil company owner, last month and held the first practice for karting enthusiast Saturday and Sunday.
They bought the track from longtime Mike Swails on short notice after learning that it would be torn down The facility features a nine-turn road course with a high-banked wall and oval where Andy and younger brother Kyle O’Gara, a developmental drive for Sarah Fisher Racing, began racing karts owned by father John O’Gara, former IndyCar team manager.
“When Andy called to tell me that Mike had offered us the purchase of WRP, we immediately agreed to work through the details of the renovation effort,” Fisher stated in a news release.
The renovation began immediately with ridding the grounds of weeds, moving the property and resealing the oval and road course and entrance. Open practices will be from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. the next two Sundays. Fisher and Hartman formerly owned Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2008-14.
The first racing program under new ownership is Saturday, Oct. 13, for karts with practice at 4 p.m. and racing at 6 p.m. The owners are planning a vintage midget car and IndyCar displays, autographs with IndyCar drivers and a $1,000 kart feature winner’s prize. They are hopeful of rescheduling another event Oct. 20 or Nov. 3.
“First and foremost, please know that our ultimate goal is to restore Whiteland Raceway Park to its former glory,” the new owners said in a joint statement. “We want to preserve the history and heritage of WRP while bringing new life to the facility.”
A grand opening will be held in 2019 with plans for quarter-midget racing on the oval and to have rental karts. Upgrading rest rooms and lighting is a priority. Future improvements also call for a new banked wall, repairs to fences, bleachers and flag stand, new picnic tables, parking lot expansion, new electronic timing system and in-ground roll-on kart scaling system plus sales of kart apparel and parts.
The facility opened in 1958 and is considered the oldest kart track in the United States. It is located at 654 N. Front St., between Tracy and Whiteland roads, in Whiteland. O’Gara and Fisher also own Speedway Indoor Karting. For updates visit www.racewrp.com or call 317-800-1648.
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