Back on Track: Chateau is set to re-open

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2023

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Mark Wytaske has had to overcome hurdles since he purchased Chateau Speedway in 2018, but he’s determined to keep the roars alive at the track that has been near and dear to his heart his whole life.

Chateau was closed for most of this summer and it was closed for a significant portion of 2020 due to COVID-19 regulations, but it will be finishing August with a bang as Wytaske has managed to re-open the dirt track in Lansing.

Wytaske announced before the summer that he was in risk of losing the track, but the picture was clearer that he could open after divorce proceedings with his ex-wife. Wytaske said a turning point in the future of the track came shortly after he was able to help out with the racing at the Dodge County Fair in July.

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“If it wasn’t for Larry Kruckenberg and the Dodge County Fair Board, it’s quite possible that (we wouldn’t be opening the track),” Wytaske said. “We went in there and it kind of lit the spark and it was like ‘OK, we’ve got to get this deal done.’”

Chateau Speedway is set to start hosting races again on Aug. 11, and there will be race nights on Aug. 18, Aug. 25, Sept. 1, Sept. 8 and Sept. 15.

“It’s a little early yet for me to make any promises, but I would expect we’ll be open the first day of May next year,” Wytaske said. “For this year, I’m thinking right now that we’ll be racing at 7:15 p.m. every Friday night until Sept. 15.”

Wytaske, who is 63 years old, said that the racing community and the fans who come out to the track have been supportive in their words and actions.

“We’ve got different volunteers out here every night and they just show up and help. It’s been great and as much as I enjoy people’s help, I don’t expect anything from anyone,” Wytaske said. “When we bought (the track) five years ago, I never would’ve expected COVID and then this deal. I always thought I would hang in here until I was 70 or wait and see if (my) kids wanted to take over.”

Wytaske stayed away from the track for much of the summer, but lately has been back at it every day, with a new found energy of finishing the summer strong.

“There wasn’t much I could do about it and there is no sense dangling a carrot in front of a guy,” Wytaske said. “These last few weeks have been terrific and I’ve been sneaking out here.”

Chateau opened in 1956 and Wytaske used to watch his father race at the track in the 1960s. Wytaske himself was a driver at Chateau from 1979 to 2016.