February 8, 2006

Burlington-Area Race Track for Sale: 40-Year-Old Owner Retiring; Ace Speedway Celebrates 50th Season

By David Poole, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.

Feb. 8--The classified ad, as they usually are, was short and to the point:

"NASCAR RACE TRACK -- for sale. Very successful. 100% staffed. Terms. Owner retiring. Call (336) 214-4256."

Call that number and David Morton, 40, answers.

Morton has owned Ace Speedway near Burlington since 1999. At the end of November, he gave the furniture store he owned for 18 years over to his employees and decided to sell the track.

"I was just a big race fan and I'd always gone out there to the races growing up," said Morton, who's from nearby Elon College. "I loved owning it, but I decided to retire from everything but the rental properties I own."

Morton leases the track to the man from whom he bought it, Jim Turner. The four-tenths mile paved oval is celebrating its 50th season. Racing will continue while the track is for sale.

Morton said he's had a number of calls since the ad first appeared, including a couple from people who he said "are very much into racing, but I don't know if they'd want me to put their names out there."

Gordon validating his signed items

Jeff Gordon fans buying authorized autographed merchandise or attending organized sessions where he signs items will have a hologram placed on those signatures for authentication.John Bickford, Gordon's stepfather and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., said the clear, sequentially numbered holograms will be used to protect fans from getting items with forged signatures. Up to 70 percent of items sold online as autographed bear fake autographs, he said.

Fans who get Gordon's autograph around the track won't get a hologram, Bickford said. But when the driver is signing memorabilia to be sold or attending an advertised signing, one will be placed over each signature.

Eventually, Bickford said, fans will be able to register the number of each item at jeffgordon.com. That will allow the company to build a data base of authenticated merchandise for fans looking to buy, sell or trade items.

S. Wallace testing for Dad today

Rusty Wallace's son Steve will take to the 1.5-mile track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the final day of a Busch Series test.

Jamie McMurray tested the No. 64 Dodge owned by Rusty Wallace Inc. on Tuesday, but today will be Steve Wallace's turn as he prepares for his 13-race portion of the season.

McMurray will drive the car in the first five races before Steve Wallace gets his first shot at Bristol, Tenn., next month. McMurray will be in the car for 22 races this year.

Steve Wallace also plans to run six Automobile Racing Club of America series.


-- The purse for this year's Daytona 500 is just over $18 million, with at least $1,438,155 going to the winner. Last place pays a minimum of $224,665.

-- Tickets for the Bank of America 500, scheduled for Oct. 14 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, are on sale as of today. Prices range from $19 to $131. The ticket office will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. Tickets can also be purchased at lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling (800) 455-FANS.

-- LMS is selling an ultimate short-track ticket, offering 17 nights of racing for $145 for adults and $55 for children 12 and under. It's good for seven nights at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, beginning April 21-22 with the inaugural Colossal 100, a 100-lap late model feature. The ticket also includes admission to the 10-week summer shootout.

-- For the first time this summer, Indiana will switch to Daylight Saving Time. With that, the Indianapolis 500 has been moved to 1 p.m. local time, which will also be 1 p.m. EDT. That's an hour later than it began last year in Indiana -- but the same time it began everywhere else.


Copyright (c) 2006, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.

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