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Raceway panel backs Stateline bid

Sat., June 21, 2008

The owner of Stateline Speedway in Post Falls may soon operate another track just across the border.

Stateline Speedway earned the best rating of the four operators who bid to run Spokane Raceway Park, said John Botelli, Spokane County parks special projects manager and member of the five-person committee that ranked the bidders.

Stateline’s co-owner, Joe Doellefeld, said he is ready to reopen Spokane Raceway Park if it eventually becomes the property of Spokane County.

“If they gave me two or three weeks, I think we could get things in order to open up,” he said Friday afternoon, moments after being notified he was the committee’s No. 1 choice.

Spokane County was high bidder for the raceway at an April auction. Although a judge this week delayed approval of the auction’s outcome, county leaders decided to continue their push to open the raceway this summer in hopes the $4.3 million purchase will be finalized soon. Botelli said Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., was “a close second” in the rankings.

Of the five people on the committee, three gave Stateline the top rank, one gave Pacific the top rank and another member had them tied. County commissioners are scheduled to consider the recommendation Tuesday.

Doellefeld is co-owner of Stateline with his brother, Walt Doellefeld. Stateline, which only has an oval track, hosts racing Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Dollefeld said the Idaho track would remain open if he becomes interim operator of the Spokane track.

County Commissioner Todd Mielke noted that commissioners are not bound to accept the committee recommendation.

He said he needs to learn more about Stateline before approving it as the operator, especially because it doesn’t have a drag strip, which has been the cornerstone of Spokane Raceway Park.

“That’s something that I’m going to need to come to understand,” Mielke said.

Doellefeld, a former member of the Post Falls City Council, said his 20 years’ experience operating a racetrack may have given him the edge.

He said he expects to meet early next week with county parks Director Doug Chase, who will oversee the raceway.

“We have to find out what the county wants to do” and pair that with requirements from an insurance company that will provide coverage, Doellefeld said.

Once the track is up to “minimal acceptable standards” and can be insured, Doellefeld said, he would want to open the raceway at least for Friday Night Street Racing for young people who race street cars.

Doellefeld said his seven-page proposal to be the interim operator detailed his plan to operate the track in cooperation with Spokane County.

Of the other two people who applied to operate the track, Dennis G. “Bucky” Austin, of Fife, Wash., was ranked third and Larry Bertrand, of Spokane Valley, was ranked last.


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