In a time where beloved racetracks across the nation are shutting their doors; one speedway nestled in the vacation countryside of northern Michigan has had a resurrection.
Over the winter months Mike Sturgill (A Semi-Truck Rodeo Competitor) and Billie Morrell purchased the struggling Onaway Speedway located off M-68 in the tip of the mitt of Michigan.
Although running a limited schedule for 2017 the new owners and crew have been putting together some amazing promotions.
On July 22nd we visited for their autograph night and had an amazing time. The track has lowered all prices with a gate price of $10 for adults, and on this night they gave a free Onaway Speedway T-shirt (In sizes from Youth Small to Men’s 3XL) to every spectator, even the littlest of fans which pay no admission.
I absolutely love my new free shirt; but my smile was not comparable to the ones on the faces of the hundreds of young kids who got to customize theirs with the signatures of their favorite drivers during the autograph session.
With great payouts Onaway has begun to grow each division substantially and fans are definitely entertained by the 4-Cylinders, A-B-C Divisions, Modifieds, Super Late’s and the definite fan favorite Semi-Trucks.
Add in some spectator drags and the fans are on the edge of their seats all night long.
The entire staff at Onaway Speedway is full of smiles and their passion for the sport is evident in every aspect. Although Sturgill is still a rookie as a promoter he has certainly surrounded himself with experience. In the announcing tower Oval Reving has been joined by the most recognizable voice of the north Greg Brazeau. Greg has been a long time track announcer from his native Canada on down to mid-Michigan. The son of the legendary Hubie Brazeau, Greg brings a wealth of knowledge to the crowd. And with a whole host of second-and-third generation drivers now calling Onaway home, the history is valuable.
Names that have been synonymous with Northern Michigan racing for decades now have a place to call home on Saturday nights in the form of a 3/8-mile paved oval.
As a matter of fact I was thoroughly impressed with the talents of third-generation driver Gillian Howard. Howard picked up her first ever feature win this night, piloting her no.4 4-Cylinder in awesome style.
Second-Generation driver Kyle Hartung will also be one to watch in the future. The 11-year-old is the son of former Onaway standout David Hartung, and he is already looking smooth in his no.85 4-Cylinder.
In each division is seems there is a name that is a blast from the past, and I personally cannot thank the Onaway crew enough for bringing racing back to the north. I spent a wonderful Saturday night with local friends, enjoying some great family fun racing, and catching up with drivers like Bill Bond whom I hadn’t seen in over a decade and truly enjoyed re-connecting with.
The next event on Onaway’s schedule is slated for August 26th, and as it’s just before Labor Day it would make for the perfect family vacation. Located near some of northern Michigan’s destination state parks like Aloha and Burt Lake, Onaway Speedway may be the perfect stop for some Saturday night entertainment during a family vacation.
To learn more about Onaway, you can check them out on the web at www.onawayspeedway.net.
“I got my own new racing shirt”. The fan giveaway was an amazingly nice surprise.
Of the grandstand, “I get to sit by my own self and dance”. Although Onaway does have some traditional wooden grandstands, as it is built into a hill, much of the seating is staggered gravel and concrete tiers with wooden benches. This allows for plenty of leg room and best of all perfectly safe walking and sitting for little ones.
“I love Semi’s”. The semi-truck races were a success with young and old alike. They are definitely a ton of fun and were surely DeLayna’s favorite division.
One of her best highlights of the night though, “I got to sit in a race car and I want one”. Although it will be a while before the latter part can even be dreamt of, DeLayna was pretty excited to take a seat in Kyle Hartung’s 4-cylinder. He now has a life-long fan for sure.