WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Mid-Michigan Motorplex track operator Mike Ledford always keeps his eyes open about where he can make his facility better for the racers.
As a racer himself, the goal is to provide the best experience possible at his International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) member track.
“Everything we try to do there, it’s about making it better for the racers,” Ledford said. “I look at it and think if I was going there from somewhere, would I like how things are done. We look at everything from running through the staging lanes, how quickly we can get you through the ticket booth to make the experience better for the racer.
“We run our races quicker than most tracks. Nobody likes sitting around. They like getting the race finished.”
Once the Mid-Michigan season is completed, Ledford travels to other drag strips where he races, but also studies what they are doing well. He has raced at over 40 other tracks. A few of the ones he has taken good notes from include IHRA member tracks Darlington Dragway, Memphis International Raceway, Palm Beach International Raceway and nearby US 131 Motorsports Park.
“When we’re not open, I go around the country racing,” Ledford said. “I keep track of the things I like and if we can implement the positive things, we do. The negatives we have, we make sure we never do that.
“US 131 is a phenomenal facility about 90 miles from us. I’ve been at Memphis at the (IHRA Summit SuperSeries) World Finals and I’ve raced there many times. You see a wide variety when you go different places. We try to take the best parts of each track and make it work at our track.”
This winter, Mid Michigan is making a huge commitment by installing concrete walls, starting at the burn box. Previously they had concrete walls from 1,100 feet on, but now they gotten rid of all the guardrails back to the starting line.
“That’s obviously the most expensive upgrade we’ve done,” Ledford said. “We’re trying to stay with the modern times and make it as safe as we can. It also opens us up to more events.”
Previous upgrades include converting all the facility’s buildings to steel and constructing one of the nicest restroom facilities at any race track. It doesn’t stop with construction as Ledford puts an emphasis on facilities being well maintained and taken care of.
Another project is the renovation of the club atop the burn box. Ledford explained the club hadn’t been used in years, but it’s now a great place to watch the action.
New carpet and seats have been installed, along with new drywall and paint on the walls. The windows have been redone and there are 230 theatre seats now sitting above the race track to give you a nice comfortable view of the drag strip.
It will be even better in the future with plans to switch the overhead lights over to LED lights.
As Ledford explained, the investments are all about making it better for the racers.
Click here to visit Mid Michigan Motorplex’s official website.