Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa has decided to cancel the entire racing season for 2014 before it even starts.

A post on their website says the season has been cancelled citing rising costs of fire and rescue: "Fire services were increased by 80% while the ambulance services increased by 114%...While it is impossible to put a value on safety and human life, there is only so much money to go around."

However, a member of the Rock Rapids Volunteer Fire and Rescue, who supplied the service at the track over the years, has posted on a local racing forum to dispute the claims made by the Heartland Racing Association, the company that runs Rapid Speedway:

"1. Fire increased 80%? False
Fire increased $100 from the 2012 season ($350) to the 2013 season($450)

2. Ambulance increased 114%? False
Ambulance increased $100 from the 2012 season ($226) to the 2013 season ($326)
Prior to these increases, each entity had been at the same price for many years and as everyone knows, nothing is getting cheaper in this day and age and something had to be done to offset inflation and insurance costs.

3. Being informed on yet another increase? False
HRA (Heartland Racing Association) was never informed of a price increase! Each entity was going to charge the same as they had the year before. HRA would have known this if they would have communicated with each entity in a timely manner as they have been asked to each year in the past. Waiting until the last minute is never a good idea.

4. Track provides quads and fire equipment to assist firemen? True and False
The Heartland Racing Association tried to provide extinguishers the first year, but after they were discharged, the HRA never had them refilled so we used our own from then on. Up until last year, HRA, provided Rock Rapids Fire Dept with 1 quad and when George Fire Dept worked, HRA provided 2 quads. Each dept supplied their own truck, personnel, turn out gear, jaws of life, sawzall, hand tools, scoops, etc.
For the 2014 season, Rock Rapids, George, and Ellsworth, MN fire depts were going to each have 1 quad of their own.

5. We have been advised of no room for negotiation? False
First of all, if the departments had been notified in a timely manner prior to the season, we could have sat down and gone through all of this in a civil manner and seen what could have been done. Even if each entity could lower their price by $50 to $75 a night that only equivalents to a $100 to $150 savings and if you are operating every Friday night on that small of a margin then you maybe aren't making the best financial decision.

In closing, our local volunteers just wanted everyone to know all of the facts. Being used as an escape clause or pissing post will not be tolerated. HRA most certainly is putting a price on all of the drivers safety and well being by trying to help their bottom line. Maybe through proper budgeting, marketing, and communication the HRA could have found the best way to make all ends meet. All of the departments were indeed on board with providing their services for the 2014 season. It was in HRA's court and they dropped the ball.

Rock Rapids Volunteer Fire and Rescue
Lyon County Ambulance"

Rapid Speedway was scheduled to open their racing season this evening (May 2)

If you're looking for racing this weekend, Husets Speedway has announced plans to open their track this evening for drivers AND fans to come out for free this evening for practice rounds. Local drivers have been invited and fans can come out for free.

Husets will also be opening their season this Sunday (May 4) at 7pm sharp.