September 5th 2019
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Vado Speedway: New State-of-the-Art Dirt Track Bridges the Gap Between Texas and New Mexico
Surrounded by the landscape of New Mexico’s Organ Mountains, Vado Speedway Park is a new multi-million-dollar facility located just off the I-10 between Las Cruces, N.M. and El Paso, Texas. According to general manager Rue Stone, the 3/8-mile clay oval track, which opened June 15th, features aluminum seating, modern air-conditioned restrooms, stadium-quality seating, and concrete midways.
Track owner Royal Jones and Stone decided to create the track while driving between two previous venues Jones’ owned, one in El Paso and one in Las Cruces.
“We’ve been around racing our whole lives, and one day driving back and forth between our old parks, El Paso Speedway and Southern New Mexico Speedway, we thought, why not open something up between both cities?” Stone relates. “We closed the other two and opened Vado. It’s been a good move,” he reports, “things are going very well, we have great attendance, and we can accommodate both areas.”
The state of the art track has already been registering strong attendance with races that include winged and non-wing sprint cars, Super Trucks, stock cars, Late Models, and Legends. Race night is every Saturday from March to the end of October, with the track also offering some Friday night races as well.
Along with accommodating race fans from both Texas and New Mexico, Stone notes that audience interest is expanding to include more female fans as well as families with children. “You can even wear nice high heels here, because we have concrete everywhere,” he explains.
The Speedway will soon offer events beside racing. “We will be adding a big outdoor boxing match with the Johnny Tapia Invitational in early October,” Stone reports. The event will include not just boxing, but music, food, vendors, a car show, bike run, jumpers for kids, and mechanical bulls, making it a draw for families as well as boxing fans. The event will offer over $100,000 in prize money, and is set to take place October 5th and 6th.
“We’ll put a stage out on the front straightaway and groom it nicely; we’ll have ringside seats for the match. We have two grass fields at our facility as well, so people can bring their lawn chairs,” Stone says.
Future plans for events include creating a carnival or fair with rides and attractions. “We’re sitting on 127 acres, so we have a lot of space to do something like that,” Stone attests.
When it came to building the track, which was designed in part by Dirt Late Model champion Scott Bloomquist, Stone says the main goal was simple: “To make it really good and really family-friendly. Having grass and concrete areas and air- conditioned bathrooms were key to getting people out here who wouldn’t necessarily come to a dirt track. We have the amenities for everyone.”
Vado is also planning to add a motocross track, and is currently working to finish construction on two concession stands, one in the pits, and one on top of the seating area for spectators.
According to Stone, “Right now, we’ve had food trucks for a lot of events, everything from cheeseburger trucks to taco trucks.” He says the trucks will continue after the concessions are up and running, because they “bring a different party-style atmosphere” to the track. The venue itself will sell Coca-Cola products, beer, and along with traditional fan food favorites such as chicken tenders, nachos, hot dogs, and turkey legs, the concessions will have a second window that focuses on serving Mexican-style foods with regional appeal.
Vado recently received national attention after announcing they would add a bonus of $25,000 in prize money for anyone who could win all three features at the World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model race. The race is coming up just after the new year, January 3-5, 2020. Stone describes this 2020 Battle at the Border as a weekend race fans won’t want to miss.
“Our local trucking company, RVBT Transport, upped the ante for that prize. If a driver can win all three races to get that $25,000, there’s a possibility that in total he can bring home $47,000.”
On any given race night, Stone says Vado Speedway races 75 to 110 cars. For the fall nationals in late October, Stone predicts a likely 125-150 cars in the pits.
And for the World of Outlaws event in January, he says they are looking at national touring racers bringing even more cars, and with them, fans from as far away as Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Stone notes that the World of Outlaws race will be the last race of the season, after which the track will close until March.
Next season, he explained there will be other exciting events coming up, events which will also help promote the speedway. The track may add additional racing nights as well.
In the meantime, Vado Speedway relies primarily on social media to advertise the track. “We have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. That works the best for us as far as any kind of advertising.”
Stone says that what he most wants people to know about the venue is that it’s family-friendly. “We promote kindness. We all like to smile; it’s like coming to Disneyland when you come here—with a racing theme,” he laughs.
Gates on race days open at 5 p.m., races start at 7:45, and have a three-hour time frame. Reserved seating is $15, General Admission $12, Seniors/Military $10, Youth (6-11) $5, Kids 5 and under are free, and a Pit Pass is $35.
For more information on weekly racing and special events, visit http://vadospeedwaypark.com/
By Genie Davis