Why Was Desoto Speedway Abandoned? [Expert Review!]

Desoto Speedway was a popular destination for auto racing fans in the Midwest, thanks in part to the great weather and family-friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately, the track has seen better days, and it was ultimately shut down in 2018.

What Was The Problem At Desoto?

There were several problems that led to the demise of Desoto Speedway. The first was the location itself. The track was built on an airport runway, which meant that it was in the middle of nowhere. It did have grass-roots support though, with many fans located in the Chicago area.

Another issue was the ownership. The track was originally owned by Kenosha-based Raceway Park, which closed down the track in 1999. A couple of years later, it was purchased by Bill Davis, who owned a few other minor tracks in the area. After Davis passed away, his estate sold the track to another group of investors. Unfortunately, the new ownership had no interest in keeping the track open, and they began looking for a buyer.

The economic downturn that began in 2008 didn’t help matters at all. The track wasn’t able to generate enough revenue, and it struggled to remain open. Some sources put the blame on the Horseracing Act of 1978, which banned wagering at horse racing venues. This, in turn, limited the number of people who wanted to bet on horse races. In any case, the Illinois Gaming Board eventually closed down the track.

Desoto was also infamous for its dangerous seating. The banking was extremely steep, and it didn’t provide much safety for the drivers. In fact, an Indy car driver lost his life there in 2014 when the crowd panicked and began scrambling for a way out. One person had already been injured when the car rolled over during a practice run. Unfortunately, this was an all-too-frequent occurrence at Desoto.

Why Did The Track Close Down?

It’s a heartbreaking decision for any racetrack to close down. Especially one that was so popular, like Desoto. In fact, the speedway was known for having a large community of owners, drivers, and staff who were all devastated by the news. The track itself closed down in 2018, and it’s unlikely that it will ever see another race held there. This is largely due to the fact that it was nearly impossible to find a buyer who was interested in keeping the track open.

The city of Moline, which owns the airport that the track was built on, has plans to turn the area surrounding it into a business district. The hope is that this will lead to a new era for the airport and for the city as a whole.

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