AGAWAM, MA - On Thursday, June 17, Riverside Park officials confirmed that 1999 would be the final season of auto racing at the park due to plans to redevelop the speedway area and incorporate it into the main theme park beginning in 2000.
“This has been a very difficult decision for us,” stated Tim Black, General manager of Riverside Park. “We fully recognize the tremendous history of racing here at Riverside. We also sincerely appreciate the loyalty of our race fans, drivers and track employees for what has been a 51 year tradition. However, as we continued to analyze ways to improve our main theme park guests’ overall experience, it became clear that we needed to incorporate the track area into the main park beginning next year. We are making the announcement now to give the drivers as much time as possible to make alternative plans for the year 2000.”
Black noted that there would be a full schedule of racing throughout 1999 with a number of added features to make this a very special final season for race fans and drivers alike. “This will be a very special season of racing as we commit additional resources and add special elements to make this “Final Lap” truly a celebration of the great history of this speedway and a grand finale to 51 years of exciting racing at Riverside. We want to make this the best year of racing ever at Riverside,” Black said.
Since the purchase of Riverside by Premier Parks in 1997, both the Theme Park and Speedway have seen upgrades to their facilities. Over the past two years the Speedway has seen a new VIP booth built, a new Musco Lighting System, new billboards, reinforcement to track walls and general upgrade and painting to the track and entrance. 1998 was also the first year that all Speedway guests were invited to enjoy all the rides at Riverside during their visit to the Speedway.
The point fund and purses for 1999 are intact, and additional special races will be announced shortly.
Riverside Park is owned by Six Flags Theme Parks, part of Premier Parks Inc., the world's largest regional theme park company with a total of 33 parks in the United States, Latin America and Europe. Six Flags parks serve 16 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. The parks annually host nearly 40 million guests worldwide. Premier Parks is a publicly held corporation with corporate offices in New York and Oklahoma City. The company's stock trades on the NYSE under the symbol: PKS.