MASON CITY — Last year’s first season under new promoters was a raving success for the Mason City Motor Speedway.
Car counts were back up, fans were back in the seats and good racing could be seen on any given night on the revamped surface. But still, Al Hejna, along with fellow promoters Todd and Ryne Staley, weren’t ready to settle with what they had as drivers will see a tweaked version of that track when the season officially gets under way May 7 after a test and tune night April 30.
“What we did was kind of rip the track up in the fall just to mix it in more because we didn’t get it exactly the way we wanted last year,” Hejna said. “And we’re putting more banking into Turns 1 and 2 to make it a bit more like 3 and 4.”
The track still isn’t up to par just yet as the weather has made it tough to get out and do work, but even after it’s done, Hejna said they’ll never quite be completely finished because he wants the racing surface to be top notch at all times.
He added that some work on the infield is also due to happen once they get where they want to be on the racing surface.
As far as the racing goes, Hejna couldn’t be more excited to get the season underway.
In a slight change this season, modifieds will run weekly with a few breaks on nights in which specials will be held at the track, in addition to all classes taking the night off for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
One of the main things taken away from last season that needed addressed for this year was scheduling. Hejna said there were nights when the speedway was competing with other events in the area which lowered the number of fans in the crowd or the car counts slightly, so a few tweaks were made.
“We’re keeping primarily to Sunday this time because last year we tried a few off nights and there were just too many things going on,” he said. “Sunday has always been race night in Mason City and we want to keep in that way.”
Hejna added that starting each night at 6 p.m. was also a priority as to not make the night longer than it needs to be.
Another point of contention early last year that is more ironed out this time around is the switch to the United States Racing Association.
While Hejna said it might have taken a few drivers a bit to get used to it, he added that many grew to love the change and want to “race USRA exclusively.”
With the USRA came bigger paydays, and that’s the one big draw to the track will remain unchanged. If anything, the paydays are getting better.
“We’ve got guys that come from all over because we’re one of the best paying tracks in the Midwest, as far as a weekly basis,” Hejna said. “This year, we’ll pay $2,000 to the modified winner, $1,000 to each the stock cars and B modified winner, $700 to the hobby stock winner and $400 to the tuners winner, which is more than a season championship in a lot of places.
“The way to get cars is to get them paid, and that keeps them coming.”