It’s always a bit worrisome when the rumor of a track going up for sale start circulating. Oftentimes, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is going away. Many tracks, however, have been in family ownership for decades and sometimes the family would just like to move on to other things. Such is the case for the home of the NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals, Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania. Thankfully, it has been sold to a group of racing enthusiasts who plan to make it bigger and better than ever.
The property on which Maple Grove Raceway was founded has been in the Stauffer family’s possession since 1923 when it was purchased for the family logging business. In the 30s, they opened up Brecknock Speedway, a half-mile dirt oval track on the property and in the mid 50s, the property saw its first dragstrip, one made of dirt and built for motorcycles. They eventually paved the starting line and in 1960, were approached by the Eastern Custom Car Association about converting it to a drag strip that could be used by cars. In 1962, it was reopened at Maple Grove Drag-O-Way and covered a 1/5-mile distance.
As time went on, improvements continued to be made to the track and it later became a fixture on the NHRA schedule. It also became home to the Ford Motorsport Nationals more than two decades ago.
Based out of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Motorsport Developers consists of a group of individuals who are avid racers themselves and know the racing business well. The group, backed by a private equity firm, consists of Joe Casella, the northeast regional director for the National Auto Sport Association (NASA), Jordan Levitt, one of the chief instructors for NASA, and Chris Winter, owner of Winter Auto Repair, Legacy Supercars, and director of operations for the driving school at Old Bridge Township’s Raceway Park.
Casella and Levitt had already been looking for property to build a new racetrack on.
“When the Maple Grove deal came up, I said let’s take a racetrack that exists and that could use a rebirth,” Winter told us. “The property went up for sale June 8th, and we started visiting the property shortly after it went up for sale and have been working out a purchase agreement since.”
While the group’s breadth of experience is largely in road racing, Winter does have a significant background in drag racing, having owned several race cars himself and previously run a Mustang-based performance shop in New Jersey during the explosion of Fox-Body Mustang performance.
“We don’t want to see it go the way Englishtown did and we want it to live on for the next generation,” Winter said. “Having just one track [at the facility] in the northeast is extremely difficult to sustain, because you have a window of operation before the weather shuts things down, so the business model needs to be 3 or more.”
With 450 acres, the property has room to grow and become more than just a drag strip, which takes up less than 40 of those.
“The plan, upon getting the keys, is to revamp the bathrooms, concessions, and the bar immediately,” Winter told us.
Beyond that, the goal is to make the facility a true, multi-purpose venue that hosts a variety of events throughout the year. These will include an off-road park that Motorsport Developers plan to open within a year, and that will cater to 4-wheeler, UTV, and Jeep enthusiasts. After that will be a multi-use track that can offer circle track racing, drifting, and go karting, and also a 3-plus-mile road course that they plan to complete within 3-5 years.
The team should get the keys to the kingdom sometime in the next 90 days.