A Warrick County staple is getting an estimated million dollar makeover. Chandler Motor Speedway has been around for more than 50 years. Now with a new partner on board, the track is slated to get completely refurbished.
The track has been closed since last fall, when the owners say the initial renovations first started. They say it’s unique with it’s eighth mile track. They hope this track will become the best eighth mile track in the state of Indiana.
The owners say there needs to be some work done before folks come out and race safely on the track, rather than on the streets.
An old red dodge truck drives up and down the 133 acres of Chandler Motor Speedway. Harold Baker sits inside that truck.
“I’m 88 years old,” said Chandler Motor Speedway Owner Harold Baker. “I’m a little old to be running it anymore.”
He’s driven these acres for 40 years.
He’s one of the track’s owners and at one time, race car driver himself.
“A lot more work to own a race track than it is to run a race car,” Baker said.
His passion for racing began with stock cars but now, it’s restoring this track. The track was built in 1964.
“It’s a place where the young people can come and break the law,” Baker said. “They can race and not have to go out on the street. They can do it here under a controlled environment, which is a lot better and safer.”
Baker says he’s not doing it alone. Kevin Baesel stumbled upon the track a month ago.
“I want it to be a legacy more than a business,” said Kevin Baesel, another partner in the ownership group.
Baesel says it’s a three year restoration project. He says he’s investing to bring the track’s half-century history back to this small town.
“We’re probably talking a million dollars at the end of the day,” he said. “I’m about to invest 300,000 dollars right now.”
That money includes a new sound system, LED lighting, painting and repairing all the buildings. Crews will also replace the drag strip and remove all power lines. They plan to install new power lines underground.
“I just went back to the 60’s and looked at some pictures and thought this is where it needs to go back to,” Baesel said.
These pictures were taken at this track. Baker says at one time these bleachers were full every Friday and Saturday night. Now, he hopes young people will continue the tradition of racing in Chandler.
“The old ones are here but they’re dying off, so we got to get some younger people here and that’s what we’re working to do,” he said.
Baker hopes his passion will influence others and that red dodge truck will continue to line the property, as long as the track continues to live on.
The owners say the track will be open for a few races on October 10th. Starting in the spring, it will be open for the whole season.