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Stateline Speedway soldiers on despite downpours, road detours

Fri., June 4, 2010

The eternal optimist in Stateline Speedway co-owner Joe Doellefeld knows that at some point rain, road construction and other obstacles that have presented themselves this season will eventually dissipate.

With closure of the bridge crossing the Spokane River at the Washington-Idaho border this week along with another rainout, Doellefeld has more work ahead to keep Stateline’s name out in front of the public.

Add to that obstacle is the fact that the intersection connecting Stateline to Seltice Way has been closed for upgrades and installation of a traffic light for several months. To take in racing, fans drive several miles north to come into the track from an alternate direction. Doellefeld had hoped the road work would be completed this week, but recent rain delays have pushed the project’s completion back to mid-June.

“There aren’t a lot of things you can do when it comes to road work and weather,” Doellefeld said. “When the new intersection is done, it’ll have a light and turn lanes which will make access to the track much better. We see that as a positive thing for a little bit of inconvenience.”

Planning for road construction at the main access point to the track off Seltice and the closure of the east-west access off I-90 was part of Stateline’s focus for 2010.

“We started some of our groups later in the season with the weather and the road construction in mind,” Doellefeld said. “In the past we’d have some traveling series come in and run in early May, but this year we have moved that back a bit, and in the case of INSSA and ICAR it has worked because they’ve been able to get their events in, by and large.”

Weather has been as troubling to Doellefeld and his staff as the road woes around the track.

Through this week Stateline Speedway has lost more than 50 percent of its scheduled racing to rainouts.

“At times I think we’re out here building Noah’s Ark in the pits,” Doellefeld said. “We certainly have been challenged with the weather so far. In most seasons we plan for three or four rainouts, and I had that many in a couple-week period just last month.”

Stateline’s location can be deceiving when it comes to predicting the weather.

“I tell people that it could be raining in Spokane or Coeur d’Alene but not here at the track,” Doellefeld said. “To be sure we get that message out there, we have our e-mail updates and text message service. A person can forward them on to friends and fellow racers, and we’ve found that it helps to get the word out when racing is going to happen on a particular day – or if the weather is going to force our hand, at least we told the folks early on what is happening and what we’re planning to do.”

Doellefeld has taken on a new approach to getting the message out that Stateline is open and that dealing with the detours and weather is just something temporary.

“We’ve run advertising in the past to let people know what we’re doing, but this spring I began to go around to the neighborhoods in Post Falls and Liberty Lake and knock on doors to introduce myself and Stateline to the area,” he said. “We hand out information about the track and I’ve found that this has been helping to get new fans to come out and let those that know about us see we’re doing fine and racing – weather permitting, of course.”

New racers and fans have not been discouraged by the challenges.

“We have had good turnout in the stands for this time of year and our Street Stock and Hobby class is growing,” he said. “The Wednesday Night Fever program is very popular and over time we know things will be fine. This is just a temporary challenge.”

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