So, it happened: the recently-rumored transition for Mansfield is true. A new lease deal brings a new promoter, and Mansfield will return to being a dirt track following two years of asphalt racing. Or at least, since it re-opened for the 2015 season.
As a fan of asphalt racing, I am sad to see possibly the best asphalt facility in Ohio go dirt. But…I will be the first to admit that it makes sense. Mansfield’s roots are in dirt, and dirt racing is absolutely thriving right now…especially in Ohio. Eldora, Fremont, Attica, Sharon, Atomic…I could go on and on. All top tracks on touring series, both regionally and nationally.
However, since Columbus Motor Speedway is now becoming a Major League Lacrosse stadium, the region needs racing. Dirt provides that opportunity to reinvigorate the region, and use a facility that would otherwise potentially sit vacant (see Lake Erie Speedway, used for racing only a handful of times since an attempted sale fell through).
Currently a special-event schedule, the “dirty” Mansfield will open on March 25th, kicking off a three week Triple Crown Spring Series. The All-Star Circuit of Champions and Lucas Oil Dirt Late Models will also make visits to the track, bringing some of the biggest names in dirt to the facility. Like in 2015 and 2016, there will be other events at the facility, like Monster Truck visits.
The purpose of this post will be to look back on the 2015 season, when I was still doing NEO Racing News. Here are a few of my favorite videos to reflect back on an asphalt Mansfield: