Senior staff writer
Southside business owner and new track owner Kevin Garrigus already has a hands-on approach to improving the historic short track at Kitley Avenue and Brookville Road.
The changes are visible and impressive: new stadium chair seats for spectators in main grandstand; completely new rest rooms; new exterior wooden fencing; new ticket booth, improved track fencing for spectator safety; new and expanded concrete walkway behind third and fourth turn grandstands for safety and convenience; re-sealed asphalt parking lot and track surface improvements.
Garrigus has pitched in on race nights by cooking hamburgers at the third turn concession stand, running the track sweeper for cleanup in the pits and on the track and taking time to talk with spectators.
“We have made great progress in customer service,” Garrigus said. “Hundreds of fans have shaken my hand and thanked me already for bringing the Speedrome back to life. It makes me proud to see happy spectators.”
The owner lowered the general admission price to $5 per spectator for events in April to attract former and new spectators. The admission price is in effect for most Sunday events.
Saturday night events, featuring late model figure-8 races, are $10 for adults.
Garrigus owns Advance Auto Sales at 3750 Madison Ave., 5061 Southeastern Ave. and on the Northeastside.
He was a major sponsor and multiple-car team owner at the track for two years. He sponsored late models for 2015 and ’16 track champion Jesse Tunny plus Austin Tunny, Curtis McMurtrey, Fred Bear Jr. and son Jacob Garrigus. His friendship and business association with previous owners Pete Watson and Jeff Hammond led to buying the track.
“I didn’t pursue it; it just happened,” Garrigus recalls. “I moved right away to begin making everything right for spectators and competitors. We have changed the whole atmosphere here.”
Garrigus is the nephew of longtime Speedrome competitor Donnie Garrigus. Kevin never raced but began going to the Speedrome as a youngster to see his uncle race. Kevin’s son, Jacob, has raced Junior Faskarts, street stocks and late models at the Speedrome.
“All the drivers and most crew members know me,” Garrigus said. “I go around in the pits and meet them; I want to make sure they are welcome. And that goes for spectators, too. They feel safe here, and we want them to be comfortable.”
His highest priority going into this season was to improve the infrastructure.
He also has improved the track surface, particularly the four-corner transition to and from the oval and the figure-8. He also brought back several former employees, including veteran chief steward Johnny Aldridge of Beech Grove.
Garrigus is bringing back the good traditions, including the traditional Fireworks and Figure-8 July 8.
“There are 75 years of great history behind us and many more years of great entertainment ahead of us,” he said.
The Speedrome is the longtime home of figure-8 racing on Saturday nights, including the 41st annual World Figure-8 Championship three-hour endurance race Sept. 9
Pertaining to the racing action, there’s something for everyone: Late Model figure-8, stocks, Thunder Cars, Factory Front Wheel Drive Cars; Faskarts; Pro Compacts, Indiana Championship Karts and USSA Mel Kenyon Midget Cars.
Track rules and car specifications are available at the track, 802 S. Kitley Ave. Info: 317-353-8206.