'Micro-sprint' racetrack proposed for Jefferson Township farm

| Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009

A township native who wants to build a "micro-sprint" racetrack on a portion of his family's Neupert Road farm hopes to get preliminary approval for his proposal tonight from the planning commission.

Brett Neupert, 26, of Harrisville, Butler County, said the commission is scheduled to review preliminary drawings for the proposed facility, which he submitted Aug. 10.

Plans call for a quarter-mile, high-bank clay oval on 6 acres of the 40-acre beef cattle farm.

Neupert would name the facility Neupert Raceway Park and build it to accommodate 400 spectators.

The micro-sprint cars that would race there are significantly smaller than the cars that run at Lernerville Speedway.

Neupert, who started racing micro-sprint cars in 2006, said a racer at his proposed facility could spend a fraction of what it costs to race at Lernerville and still be successful.

"I know for myself what the racers want," Neupert said. "They want more places to race at faster tracks and better tracks. We really can't run those on the bigger tracks such as Lernerville. The size of the track is way too big."

Local interest in micro-sprint racing is waning, Neupert said. He hopes to rekindle that interest and indicated that area racing fans are showing support.

"This is the talk of the town right now," Neupert said.

Asked about potential concerns from area residents about things such as noise, parking and traffic, Neupert said no one has contacted him directly to complain.

Even still, he drafted plans for the track with community concerns in mind.

"I (designed) the whole facility with all of that in mind," Neupert said. "I'm doing absolutely everything I can to minimize any negative impact."

Neupert said he would position the track as far away from neighboring homes as he could and surround it with trees and other noise dampeners.

While the process is only beginning, Neupert plans to begin construction in March and schedule the first race sometime in June.

Attempts to contact several township officials last night were unsuccessful. Likewise, Lernerville officials couldn't be reached.

Neupert, meantime, said he came up with the idea for the track after his father, Norm, took ill over the winter. Brett Neupert said he worried about his family losing the farm because of his father's battle with cancer.

"I'd take care of their taxes as long as my facility is open," Brett Neupert said. "We'd keep the farm in our family for as long as we can."

Neupert said his dad is recovering.

He also said his plans should help the local economy and give residents something to do on a Saturday night.

"The race fans are already there," he said. "It's just a great time to hang out with your friends."

Neupert indicated races would run on Saturday evenings from May through September.

Lernerville races mostly run on Friday nights.

Neupert expects about 60 racers to compete in different classes and said the track should fit as many as two-dozen cars per race.

"There aren't too many people who have the chance and opportunity I have right now," he said.

Additional Information:

Coming up

Who: Jefferson Township Planning Commission

What: Review of plans to build a 'micro-sprint' racetrack on a Neupert Road farm

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Jefferson Township Municipal Building, 157 Great Belt Road

Additional Information:

Micro-sprint cars

As the name implies, micro-sprints are a miniature version of the sprint cars, like those that race at Lernerville Speedway in Buffalo Township.

Winged sprints are powered by a V-8 engine with as much as 900 horsepower, weigh about 1,400 pounds and generally run on half-mile or larger tracks.

Micro-sprints are about five-eighths the size of sprint cars and use motorcycle engines ranging from 125 ccs to 750 ccs. The racing class is popular in the East and Midwest.

The nearest micro-sprint track is Sportsmans Speedway near Knox in Clarion County.

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