Despite reports in January of a finalized transaction, Pennsylvania’s iconic Maple Grove Raceway remains on the market. And while rumors are presently circulating that it has been sold to an automotive auction firm, representatives of the raceway say that is simply not the case, nor will it be.
Listed for sale last June, Pennsylvania-based Motorsports Developers of King of Prussia, led by owners Joe Casella, Jordan Levitt, and Chris Winter, signed a purchase agreement in early January with the Stauffer family, owners of the Maple Grove Raceway. That pending transaction received considerable press, both locally and nationally.
The agreement, according to Winter, was aimed at a March 23 closing. Motorsports Developers says it had received approval from NHRA president Glen Cromwell to proceed with the acquisition. The Motorsports Developers group says it had also secured major sponsorship that would fund razing the current tower and suites to construct a larger, more spacious and modern structure. The group attended a town meeting to seek approval for that and the addition of a road course, drifting track, and off-road park. Motorsports Developers says that it and Maple Grove, however, mutually agreed in late February to pause the proceedings, and the track remained on the market.
Justin Prince, of the Bedorf Prince Team at Coldwell Banker real estate agency, which is brokering the $8 million listing, says the track is not under a purchase agreement at this time, and that it remains on the market and open to offers. He did confirm, however, that a party that had expressed interest last summer has since reentered negotiations with his agency and the racetrack. Prince did iterate that, to his knowledge, an automotive auction firm had not been among those it had negotiated with, adding that he was not at liberty to share any other information on the proceedings.
Winter, however, told Dragzine, “we have the money to buy it. We went to put the offer back in to put the property back under contract and we were told by their broker that they already have a contract in place, the due diligence has been done, and they’re moving to close sometime in August.”
“Nothing has really changed since we were put on the market in June of last year,” says Maple Grove’s Director of Communications, Sarah Gingrich–Manley. “Right now our main focus is to finish out the 2020 season — with Covid-19, we’ve really taken a hit this year. But we’re not sold, there isn’t anybody that has signed the paperwork to make that happen. Once it does, we will let everyone know.”
Gingrich–Manley goes on to add, “it is not available to just anyone, for any use. That’s the reason we haven’t sold, why it hasn’t progressed, is that our ownership’s main goal [is to keep it a racetrack]. They don’t want to sell to just anybody…they’re very picky and their main goal is to keep it a racetrack and that it goes into proper hands.”
“We try throughout this process to keep any interest we receive confidential so we don’t confuse our fans and sponsors, because it really does. People now are under the assumption that we have been sold, which we’re not. A rumor started that someone is interested, but that’s just simply that they’re interested, and there is nothing more than interest, and that spiraled out of control,” she continues.
While it has been rumored that Maple Grove Raceway and the NHRA have a clause in place that gives the NHRA first right of refusal to purchase the track if it goes on the market, NHRA VP of Marketing and Communications Jeffrey Young tells Dragzine that it cannot speak to confidential contract negotiations.
Located in rural Mohnton, Pennsylvania, the parcel that Maple Grove Raceway sits on was purchased in the 1940s by Alfred and Edna Stauffer. It began conducting 1/8-mile motorcycle drag races in 1957; at the urging of local car club members, its was converted into a full-fledged, paved dragstrip and opened as the Maple Grove Drag-O-Way in August 1962. It was 1/5-mile long and just 30-feet wide at the time.
In 1964, it was lengthened and widened to accommodate 1/4-mile racing, and in 1969 it became part of the NHRA Northeast Division World Championship Series. It was awarded an NHRA national event in 1985, and the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has been its annual staple ever since. It had also hosted the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, National Mustang Racers Association, Fun Ford Weekend, and the Super Chevy Show, among others, and is consistently among drag racing’s fastest and most popular racetracks.