PHOTO: While many people want to see the surface on the right return to Devil’s Bowl, the surface on the left is here to stay. T.J. Ingerson tells you why it will work under new owner and promoter Mike Bruno. (Justin St. Louis/VMM Photo)

Sometimes, someone has to be the bearer of bad news. I feel that could be me today for some people in the racing land. And here it is.

Devil’s Bowl is staying asphalt.

I know there is a strong community of people that want Devil’s Bowl to return to dirt and try to return what it once was, but it’s not. That ship has sailed. But, I have the same beliefs that Mike Bruno has. Devil’s Bowl can, and will, work as an asphalt track.

The surface isn’t the problem at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Now, I can’t tell you that exhibits A, B, and C were the problems because I was unable to attend a weekly show in 2011. But, my belief is under Mike Bruno, Alayne Bruno, and Justin St. Louis, the track will thrive.

Those three have a very above average understanding of racing and all should complement each other well. And, that’s where it will start, from the top of the chain, and a chain that will bring stability. Bruno stressed that during the town meeting that he wanted to bring stability to Devil’s Bowl. And Devil’s Bowl certainly needs it after two major changes in consecutive years.

Take a look at all the successful tracks around the region that draw 15 or more cars in each division weekly, consistently. They all have one thing in common: a leadership structure that has stability, a willingness to at least listen and contemplate what someone said to them, and the desire to promote their product and reach out to new fans. Devil’s Bowl, from my observations during the town meeting, has all of those.

Is it realistic to believe that all of this will change in just one year? Heck no. Mike Perrotte and Steve Fuller have done a wonderful job with Airborne Speedway, and they’ve been in control of Airborne since 2005. They’ve had seven years to develop and promote their product, make infrastructural changes to the facility, and create the stability and trust with their racers. But they have been able to do all those, and now have one of the best products, one of the best facilities, and great stability.

I’m saying change takes time. It takes a desire to want to change and the belief that you can make the change. And Mike Bruno brings that. Bruno brings the belief that he can develop a great asphalt product at Devil’s Bowl.

But the excuses I’ve heard and read about it not working as an asphalt track are well, um, lame.

Trust me, I know fans love dirt racing. I do too. I love watching those Modifieds sling sideways and hang on for dear life around the cushion as they fly past the guy they’re battling. And I’ll be taking in a few of those shows myself in 2012. I understand people remember the history of Devil’s Bowl before, and have a clear visual of what happened in 2011 at Devil’s Bowl.

I know I’ll hear “well you don’t know.” And maybe I don’t. But for someone to say that “anything less than reverting back to dirt is a failure” is also not knowing for anyone saying it.

But, Bruno gives Devil’s Bowl a fresh start. And if you want a clear example of a fresh start, look no further than Perrotte, Fuller, and Airborne. Airborne was given a fresh start in 2005, and has built it up from there. Bruno and Devil’s Bowl has been given a fresh start, with that same desire and ambition.

I believe it can be built up too and succeed.