Taking over the track: Chateau has a new owner

Published 8:31 pm Monday, June 18, 2018

When Mark Wytaske heard that one of his favorite places may no longer exist, he did whatever he could to keep it going and made the move to purchase Chateau Raceway in Lansing. 

Now Wytaske plans on hosting Friday night races again in the newly named Chateau Speedway starting on July 13.

Wytaske, who lives three miles from the track, which opened in 1956, said he first went to Chateau to watch his dad race in 1965. Wytaske himself raced on the track from 1979 until 2016. He was planning on making a comeback to racing this summer when he heard that the track may be closing down.

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“The little place means a lot to a lot of people. It’s great entertainment on a Friday evening,” Wytaske said. “This place is probably a real, real close second as far as my feelings are concerned, to my family. You have camaraderie with the people and it’s no different than a football game out there, except you’re beating on each other’s cars. There’s tempers occasionally, but at the end we’re all pretty tight and if somebody needs something, we’re going to help them.”

While the track needs a lot of work before the season opens, Wytaske has had a lot of help. Community members have stepped up to provide labor and his wife Annette has been a big help in setting up the staff.

“Everything right now has been done through volunteer help. It doesn’t look the greatest right now, but it looks ten times better than it did a week ago,” Wytaske said. “We’ve probably got 300 hours worth of work done out here in a week. It’s been amazing with the people that have been in and out and everybody grabbing something. We don’t want it to look the same as it did when the fans left last fall. We’ve got to have a little bit of a different appearance.”

Wytaske said keeping Chateau open is a major priority of his and he was pleased to hear that a few area racers have decided to wait for the track for their next race this summer. While he will no longer be making his own comeback to racing this summer, Wytaske is excited about getting the track going.

“I want to thank those that have helped and volunteered their time,” Wytaske said.

Wytaske officially took over ownership of the track on June 8.