The return of Cayuga Speedway took another positive step recently.
Three years ago the 5/8-mile oval near Hagersville, Ont., just south of Hamilton, was purchased by area businessmen Jerry Montour and Ken Hill, and a total refurbishing of the track and the facility started.
But this rebuilding, which was halted for close to a year, has now continued and is expected to be complete for the racing season in 2017.
The new owners have secured the talents of Alex Nagy for the track’s General Manager, who for the past four years has been the Race Director of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
“I’m very excited,” says Nagy. “I am really looking forward to this opportunity.”
NASCAR declined to comment on Nagy’s decision to move on but confirmed that the sanctioning body is actively seeking a replacement.
A resident of Brantford, Ont., Nagy brings a wealth of both on and off-track experience to the Cayuga table.
Nagy started on the local ovals in 1981 in a Street Stock when he was 18 and progressed into Late Model cars. He teamed up with Randy Slack and Sam Rounce driving the pavement cars and also drove a semi-truck when the GATR Big Rigs thrilled the fans at Cayuga Speedway.
After some CASCAR racing and a stint with the Legends series cars, he went to Galaxy Motorsports in Tennessee, working at a variety of racing ventures from 1999 to 2003. The next year he came back to Ontario and freelanced his mechanical and mentoring skills for several CASCAR teams.
This led to a call from former fellow racer Dave Jacombs of Empire Corners (south of Hamilton), who was assembling a team for the new NASCAR series which had replaced CASCAR. Jacombs had a stock car for Alex Tagliani and he needed help.
Nagy not only got involved with Tagliani’s stock car efforts, but when Tagliani returned to IndyCar racing in 2009 Nagy became a vital part of the team performing spotter duties.
After Nagy worked with Tagliani he got the call from NASCAR, and for the past four years he has toured Canada with the national stock car series. But after some talks with Cayuga management, he felt it was a positive move to help in the rebuilding of the oval.
“It seems one thing just led to another,” he said about his career move. “I will be in the same industry, and I loved my job at NASCAR, but this just seemed to be a good fit.”
He added that the first layer of asphalt at Cayuga will go down the first week of November and the final coating in the spring. There has been a flurry of activity there in since the summer with new retaining walls, increased banking, and a total renovation of the grandstands.
While Nagy could not offer any insight into what will be racing at Cayuga next year as of yet, a NASCAR Pinty’s Series race would be a natural fit. The track was the site of the first series race in 2007, won by five-time CASCAR champ Don Thomson of Hamilton.
Built as a dirt track in 1966 and paved in 1968, Cayuga has been the scene of the biggest oval track events in the country. It has hosted a diverse program of racing, from local series to USAC and ISMA open-wheel racing to NASCAR North. In its heyday is ran the popular ASA shows for several years, the GATR Big Rig shows, and major tractor-pull events. Cayuga also presented racing in the Players Challenge and Honda Michelin Series, and during the tenure of owner Bob Slack would bring in NASCAR stars such as Mark Martin, Bobby Allison, and Dale Earnhardt to compete in the ASA events.