Checkered flag falls on Mooneyham career

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Slagle takes pole ownership position at Speedway

For the first time in almost four decades, the Monett Speedway will not be owned or promoted by Randy Mooneyham.

Late Wednesday evening, Mooneyham announced the completed sale of the Grand Ol’ Lady to Monett Motor Speedway LLC. Kyle Slagle, of Pierce City, will oversee the operations of the track.

It has been obvious that Mooneyham, 65, has wanted to sale the track the last few years. Two years ago, a sign with red letters graced the front of the grandstands and stated “For Sale.” This past season, the former owner took a more professional approach, listing the property with Century 21.

However, Mooneyham and his wife, who went on their first date at the Monett Speedway, had one stipulation in order to sell the track — they wanted the new owners to keep the track alive.

“The official sale had been in the works for a while, and we kept it quiet,” Mooneyham said. “We wanted it to still be a racing track, and Kyle, who also met his wife at the track and has raced modifieds here for years, will do just that.”

Mooneyham said he purchased the track in 1980 and has been proud of keeping the dirt track racing tradition alive over the last almost 40 years.

“We have a lot of mixed emotions right now,” he said. “I’m most proud of keeping the Four-State Dirt Track Championship running. In the past, we would have over 3,000 people crammed in here to watch the event. I think of all the young kids that grew up turning our corners. But I’m old now, and it was time to turn it over to someone younger with fresh ideas.”

The track was built in 1970, according to Mooneyham, and is believed to be the oldest continual racing dirt track in Missouri. Mooneyham sold the rights to the MARS series in late 2016.

“There are some things and places my wife and I want to do and go that the summer racing season just wouldn’t allow us to do,” he said. “Monett has been great to us. Our racers have been great, but we know that there are still greater days ahead for both us and the track.”

Mooneyham will still be around this season. He has offered to assist the new ownership group while they get their bearings in track ownership.

The speedway will keep its Friday racing slate this season.

Calls to the Slagle family for comment were not returned by presstime.

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