WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Mid-Michigan Motorplex promoter Mike Ledford knows it’s easy to make a handful of racers happy on any given weekend. His goal is for everyone to enjoy themselves at the Stanton, Mich., track.
Mid-Michigan, which recently signed a multi-year renewal with the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), focuses on running an efficient program where the racers can truly leave the work week behind.
“There’s only one winner in each class, but we want everyone to have a good time,” Ledford said. “Our goal here is to finish early where our guys can have the campfires, cookouts and all. That’s part of the deal at our track. It’s not just the racing. It’s about getting away from work, the family atmosphere and have a vacation on the weekend.
“People have to have a good time where they want to come back. It’s easy to get the winner to come back. He got paid and had a good time anyway. The last few years, we’ve focused on improvements and running the races as quickly and efficiently as we can.”
As for the improvements, there have been many at the quarter-mile track which features a state-of-the-art Compulink timing system. They’ve poured about 1,200 feet of concrete barriers from the starting line and continue to repave several areas including the staging lanes, the main return road, the entrance driveway and the pit area.
It’s more than just the physical changes. They continue to work with the schedule including more bracket racing to give the locals more track time. There’s also a test-and-tune once a month on a Saturday night.
The IHRA Summit SuperSeries has been a perfect fit for the track with 2020 champions: Mark Howard (Top), Mark Martinus (Mod), Coleman Hansen (Junior Dragster) and Randy Reed (Sportsman). Martinus reached the semifinal round at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals, only one year after Chris Roth reached the Mod finals at Memphis.
The track has also embraced the Michigan Snowmobile Asphalt Drag Racing Association, which has grown from a small group to 80 members. It includes both bracket racing and heads-up classes.
For the racers dealing with a chaotic outside world, they love being able to power down the drag strip, but also having a place to shut down and relax at the end of the day. Ledford talked about his family’s longevity in the sport and how they’re always looking to make things better for the racers.
“We’re not a short-term deal. This past year, it was my mother’s 50th year of owning the race track,” Ledford said. “A standard family would probably pack it in, collect what they can and get out. That’s not what we do. When we make money, we put money back in the facility. We want the racer experience to be as good as it can be and that’s what we work on.”
Click here for more information about Mid-Michigan Motorplex.
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