After a 13-month shutdown, Langley Speedway will be reopening this spring.
According to the Daily Press, Bill Mullis, owner of the B&C Seafood fishing business in Newport News, officially purchased the track and is now the sole owner. Mullis leased and operated Langley Speedway from 2009 to 2015.
— City of Hampton (@cityofhampton) February 17, 2017
Spending nearly $2 million, Mullis finalized the purchase on Thursday, Feb. 16., promising to reopen for weekly racing under a NASCAR sanction on April 1.
“The feeling is still setting in, but it feels good,” Mullis said on Friday at Hampton City Hall. “This was one of the hardest deals I’ve ever negotiated in my life and a lot of people might have given up. But I raced there (in winged champ karts and trucks) and participated in (administering) the Hampton Roads Kart Club, so I understood the full value of Langley Speedway to the community. That understanding of the value of the facility to the people was the driving force behind my not giving up. It’s a track with a great history and a great racing family in Hampton Roads.”
BREAKING: The legend continues! Langley Speedway will be open in 2017! pic.twitter.com/s3MG4Hjg2h
— Langley Speedway (@LangleySpeedway) February 17, 2017
Before its abrupt shutdown, Langley Speedway hosted 65 consecutive seasons of stock car racing. According to the Daily Press, Mullis personally spent more than $1 million operating the track while he leased it through Victory Lanes Motorsports.
Mullis reportedly tried to purchase the track for several years, however, when negotiations broke off in January 2016, Langley Speedway was forced to shut down.
“The race track property was tied into other situations that created a great deal of complexity,” Mullis told the Daily Press. “So a lot of issues had to be worked through and cleared before anyone could negotiate for the Speedway piece of land.”
“I understand that Bill Mullis would want to own the land to add to the infrastructure. We’re excited about [Langley Speedway] reopening. The track is synonymous with the City of Hampton, so we’re excited racing is back,” Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck said on Friday.
Thanks to a $80,000 grant offered to the track by the City of Hampton, Mullis will be able to keep the track up-and-running.
“I’d like to thank the city and also Chesapeake Bank of Gloucester,” Mullis said on Friday. “We tried to negotiate with two major banks in the area and were unable to complete the deal. Chesapeake Bank stepped up to the plate and backed me in buying the Langley Speedway property.”
As far as staff goes, those previously working at the track will return, with Chuck Hall returning as the track’s promoter and marketing director.
“I love our relationship and think Chuck is one of the best short-track promoters in the country,” Mullis told the Daily Press. “I’m fortunate to have him.”
— George Silbermann (@NASCARmayor) February 19, 2017
According to Short Track Scene, all 11 racing divisions that competed in 2015 will be back on the schedule this season, including the Hampton Heat 200.
— NASCAR Home Tracks (@NASCARHomeTrack) February 19, 2017
“I couldn’t be happier for the fans, the drivers and the race teams,” Hampton City Councilman Billy Hobbs said on Friday. “It’s good for the city, but, more than that, for many people the track is their life every weekend.”
“I raced out of town last year and did well, but every week I felt like I was away from home and wanted to be back,” NASCAR Whelen All-American Series driver and two-time Langley Speedway Late Model champion Mark Wertz told the Daily Press.
— Mark Wertz (@markwertz55) February 18, 2017
“This is huge for the city, the racing community, local businesses who advertise at the track, for NASCAR and for the legacy of the track. But most off all it’s the closure of one man’s [Mullis] battle to fight for something he loved and bring it back.”
Like Wertz, other Langley veterans have voiced their excitement about the track’s reopening.
“I was happy to hear about Langley [reopening],” NASCAR Whelen All-American Series driver and East Carolina Motor Speedway two-time champion Jeff Shiflett said. “I still plan on racing at East Carolina, but I’ll definitely be returning [to Langley] for a few races this season.”
[Feature Image By Grant Halverson/Getty Images]