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It Runs In The Family
By Laura Pitts on May 12, 2017

Congratulations to Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont, on its 50th year of operation. The ¼-mile clay track that features weekly racing has been, remarkably, owned or operated by a member of the Elms family since its opening in 1967.

Charles V Elms Sr. was a member of the track’s first-ever operations team and later purchased the track in 1972. In 1990, he passed it down to his son, CV “Butch” Elms III, who owns the track today along with April May Preston.

Elms and Preston recently completed a number of track renovations including a new novelty area, new VIP Suites, a new scoring tower and a newly expanded parking lot to accommodate growing attendance. Weekly Saturday night racing kicked off with the season opener May 6.

Sanctioned by DIRTcar and United States Auto Club (USAC), the track features DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, DIRTcar Sportsman Coupe, USAC DMA Midgets, Limited Late Models, Four Cylinders and its popular Coupe Modified division running open-wheel modifieds with 1930s-style bodies.  

“I think the Coupes make us unique,” Preston told DIRTcar. “They’ve been running since day one and they truly race—they roll them, they wreck them.”

So, what does it take to stay in business all these years? According to Preston, it’s a love for the track combined with a healthy dose of dedication.

“The fact that it’s been 50 years and it’s always been managed by one family is exciting. You can’t say that today about a lot of businesses,” Preston said. “If it weren’t for the love of the track and Butch’s dedication, we may not be celebrating 50 years.”

The track’s success can also be attributed to its affordable, family-friendly atmosphere. Races typically cost $10 for adults, $8 for students/seniors and $2 for kids under 12, unless otherwise noted. The Bear Ridge Kids Club also offers a season-long membership for children under 12 for only $5, which includes free entry to races, a free toy each race and special promotions, like a bike giveaway that takes place in the fall.

Here’s to another 50 years, Bear Ridge Speedway!

About the Author
Laura Pitts's picture
Laura Pitts is an associate editor for Performance Racing Industry magazine.
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