In recent months, Ed Carley has assumed a large role both on and off the track at the recently reopened Freedom Speedway in Delevan. In addition to competing weekly in the Crate Late Model division there, Carley has been advising new Freedom promoter Troy Shuknecht.
Carley, of Freedom, is a veteran racer who has competed for many seasons at Freedom, including the current campaign where he has picked up a win and is the early season points leader in the Crate Late Model division. He also races weekly at New Humberstone Speedway, where he has amassed a pair of wins this season and leads the points parade as well at the Port Colborne, Ont., oval.
After remaining dormant to stock car racing for the last three seasons, the track, formerly known as South Arcade Speedway, reopened to dirt track stock car racing this season under Shuknecht’s command and has been renamed Freedom Speedway.
Based on his expertise and knowledge of the racing at Freedom, Carley has been serving as an adviser, hoping to raise Freedom’s fortunes.
“I have a lot of history at Freedom, and I know the track and what the people around here like,” said Carley. “I have no financial investment in the track, but I’m doing my part to try to help Troy get more race cars and getting the actual race track in shape.
“Around the Freedom area I am very proud to say that we are a farming community and the people who live here are not complicated high-end people. They go to work, come home and want to pack the cooler and go to the races. They like the simple life.
“That’s why when Troy originally wanted to sell beer at the track I told him that I wouldn’t do that. I know that you can make a lot of money selling beer but that’s not how the locals like it here. They want to bring in their own beer and so that’s why Troy eventually decided not to sell beer but let them bring it in.
“This is a rural community with a limited economy, and the food here at the track is very good and cheaply priced, too.”
So far Freedom has undergone some growing pains since returning to the racing wars. Car counts have been somewhat low, but Carley says he and Shuknecht are working to solve the problem.
“I’m helping Troy the best I can,” said Carley. “We are trying to get more cars and fans. Troy’s not a whiner, but he has lost a great deal of money so far this season. He just needs to weather the storm until things improve.
“People who know me know that I am very fussy about the tracks I race at. If something isn’t right, I’ll go home and not race at that track. So when I find a track I like, people begin to believe me when I tell them that I’m sold on the new Freedom Speedway and to go there to watch or race because they know how fussy I am.
“The track surface at Freedom has needed much work, but it has progressed to the point that there is now a high and a low groove to race in. There is a hole that we’ve got to take care of in Turn Three, but we will get that corrected.”
Carley also offered Shuknecht another piece of advice. “I told Troy that he’s got to get more aggressive with his advertising as well as working with the media to get the word out about Freedom. He also has given out a lot of free passes, but we still have many people who don’t live too far from the track that don’t even realize that the track has reopened for racing.”
Away from racing Carley also suffered a scare this past April when he contracted a serious case of pneumonia and was hospitalized for seven days. It took him six weeks to return to work. He did some reflecting during that time. “I thought a lot about racing, and I still love to do it, and also my family. My wife, Kim, and my sons Zack (23) and Dustin (15) mean everything to me. Zack races in the Crate Late Models with me and Dustin races motocross. I believe things will work out at Freedom for Troy, but I’ll tell you what, if the place does not survive, there’ll be reasons as to why, but one of them will not be a lack of trying. Troy is giving this everything he’s got to make it work.”
Former Elegant Builders Raceway Park stock car coordinator Lori Overdorf has resurfaced in the local racing scene as the social media director for the Sunoco Race of Champions Modified Tour. She also is busy helping to promote the next stop on the ROC tour, which is the Holland 100 to be run on July 5 at Holland Motorsports Complex.
The second of two Street Stock 20-lap features, which was to be run last Saturday evening at EBRP, was postponed by the curfew and will be run as part of EBRP’s stock car program at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.