–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Longtime official John Walker will lease Airborne Park Speedway in 2016.
Walker, who resides in Plattsburgh and owns a local business, came to an agreement with track owners Jamie Atkins and Steve Fuller to run the half-mile oval for its 63rd season of stock car racing.
“It was just a natural fit,” Walker said in a press release issued by the Airborne Park Speedway ownership group. “I have been coming to Airborne since I was a baby. In fact, my first job was at Airborne when I was 11 years old and I (have) worked for every owner in one capacity or another since.”
Walker has been a longtime face with the American-Canadian Tour and its entities and has served in multiple capacities as an official, including race director, chief starter, and track official.
“I think John will bring a breath of fresh air and local focus that Airborne needs,” Jamie Atkins, Airborne co-owner, said. “His Plattsburgh business experience, passion for short track racing, and over 25 years of experience with various motorsports organizations we expect will all be positive for the local fans and racers.
“This is what (co-owner) Steve (Fuller) and I were hoping for. Now we can continue to step aside and tend to our other business while, with his energy, John can build momentum to carry Airborne Park Speedway into a bright future.”
Walker stated that much will remain the same for Airborne in 2016 with the potential to add a low-cost, entry-level division.
“I’m going to concentrate on the local fans and racers,” Walker said. “My first priority is to make sure the fans who have supported this place over the years will have a safe and family-oriented fun experience at a good price.
“As for the racers, there will not be any big changes to the divisions in 2016. I want to just concentrate and build on what is currently in place…Saturday night short track racing should be fun – fun for the fans and fun for the racers.”
According to the release, informational meetings will be scheduled in a few weeks.
Airborne’s future had been left in doubt after the current ownership group stated the track was for sale following the 2015 season with the future in doubt for the 2016 season.
Fuller had purchased Airborne in 2007 had brought in Mike Perrotte as promoter, which led to a successful climb over the next few seasons. Atkins became part of the ownership group in 2009. Perrotte left his role as promoter prior to the 2014 season and the ownership group named Devil’s Bowl Speedway owner Mike Bruno as the competition director. Bruno joined the ownership group late last year and was named the track’s General Manager.
Airborne is slated to close out their 2015 season on Saturday night, November 14th with their Banquet of Champions.
VMM will have more as this story develops.
(Dave Brown photo)