Trail-Way Speedway has been a family-owned operation since the racetrack was carved out of a cornfield in 1971.
Armin Hostetter had a vision. It hosted horse racing the first year and transitioned to a motorcycle riding club before morphing into the dirt-track facility you see today.
When Hostetter got up in years, he started turning over the reins ofthe Hanover, Pa., track to his sons, Barry, Brad, and Perry. When the family patriarch passed away in 2015, the racetrack was in good hands.
Next year is supposed to be Trail-Way Speedway’s 50th season, but the future is now uncertain. The Hostetter brothers indicated this week that the time has come to put the racetrack and the surrounding acreage up for sale and move into retirement.
“We are reaching that age where it is time to enjoy the fourth quarter of our lives,” said Perry Hostetter. “We gave the first three to the racing community and now it is time for someone else to continue the racing here.
“We want to enjoy retirement while we still can with our families and grand kids. Having a weekend business kept us from attending normal weekend things with our friends and families, and hopefully, we can make some of that up.”
This wasn’t a decision that came lightly for Perry Hostetter and his brothers. Trail-Way Speedway isn’t just a business, it holds sentimental value and has been in their family since they were kids.
But the link to their father and the sweat the brothers have put into the speedway are only part of the equation. The relationships that have been forged over the years are the type that last a lifetime.
“It was very difficult, for sure,” Perry Hostetter said. “My daughter and son-in-law understand, but they are not happy about it at all. Us as brothers have talked about this a lot knowing that someday it will happen, and here we are.
“It is more than just putting on races. We have a lot of good relationships with a lot of people, including fans, teams, and our employees through the 49 years of racing here.”
The Hostetter name will still be associated with racing. According to Perry Hostetter, they will continue to have their off-season shows, including the popular Motorama Events show that is held annually at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.
As for the racetrack, there has already been interest in the 30-acre racetrack and the surrounding farmland. The brothers have indicated that the timetable for the sale and racing in 2022 will be determined by the buyers.
“My two brothers and myself have been talking about this since dad has passed,” Perry Hostetter said. “We were wondering how we can keep it in the family, but it is tough to do this and be fair to everyone involved.
“I think leaving the doctor’s offices some days sort of tells us it is time. Our minds can still do the daily work, but the bodies are another story. We’ve slowed down a little bit.”
Continued Hostetter, “As far as interested parties, yes, we do have a couple. We have kept a list of people who expressed interest in owning the speedway over the years, and we have contacted them.”
The 358 Sprint Car division has been the headline class at Trail-Way Speedway for 19 years. As for the 20th, there is some doubt.
According to Hostetter, there is no guarantee that there will be racing next season on Friday nights. He also indicated that there will be no clause in the sales contract that states Trail-Way Speedway will have to remain a racetrack.
“There is no timetable,” Perry Hostetter said. “We do have some interested parties and how they move forward will answer the timetable part. We are currently looking at mirroring the 2021 season for 2022, but the new ownership may change that.
“This wasn’t an easy decision, and we have to thank all the teams, employees, and people who have been part of the racetrack over the years. We couldn’t have done this without them.”