'This is our best chance': A successful NASCAR return could put the Milwaukee Mile back on the map

NOW: ’This is our best chance’: A successful NASCAR return could put the Milwaukee Mile back on the map

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Mile is the oldest operating motor speedway in the world, hosting at least one auto race every year since 1903, not including World War II. Still, following IndyCar's exit in 2015, the speedway hasn't hosted a major, national series race.

That changes August 27.

"This is our best chance, honestly," said Jim Tretow, a longtime motorsports broadcaster and current employee with Track Enterprises. "Through the years of waiting for something like this to happen, it's here."

Tretow is referring to the return of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to the famous one-mile oval at the Wisconsin State Fair Park. The second race in the first round of the playoffs, it will be the series' first visit back to the track since 2009.

"When NASCAR went away in 2009, it was a question of 'Will there ever be racing again?'" Tretow said, speaking about the Mile's sustainability following the exit. "This is the biggest test. This is where we need people to show up and say 'Wisconsin has great race fans, we're watching a bunch of Wisconsin NASCAR drivers and ARCA Menards Series drivers race on Sunday."

Joining the NASCAR Trucks will be the ARCA Menards Series, which has raced at the Mile for the last two seasons. Shari Black, CEO of the Wisconsin State Fair Park, says a lot of work has taken place to make sure the facility is prepared to host a world class racing event, including roughly $3-million in safety upgrades.

"We needed to do a number of safety upgrades, such as the safer wall," Black explained, saying the funding for the project came from the Wisconsin State Fair Park and the State of Wisconsin. "The track has been used, but not at this capacity such as a NASCAR race, so we wanted to make sure it was ready for that."

With the safety improvements in place, now it's time for the Mile to welcome some of NASCAR's best, including Wisconsin-natives Luke Fenhaus (ARCA), Josh Bilicki, Derek Kraus and the Trucks Series points leader Ty Majeski.

The race's promoter, Track Enterprises, and the State Fair Park are hopeful the action-packed weekend with driver's chasing the checkered flag will wave the green flag for future events at the speedway.

"We are very excited. We have been selling tickets for a few months and those have been going well," Black said. "We're very excited that NASCAR is going to be here next week, and we are hopeful that we get some other national races so that we can keep this track viable and have races here for many years to come."

The ARCA Menards Series Sprecher 150 race starts at Noon.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Clean Harbor 175 starts at 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased here: https://wistatefair.com/wsfp/event/nascar-craftsman-truck-series/

Share this article: