GILBERTSVILLE – Questions that have persisted for years about the fate of Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway were answered last week when the sale of that property at absolute auction was confirmed.
J.P. King Auction Co. of Gadsden, Ala., which presided over the previous sale of the track in 2005, will reprise that role on June 27 to dispose of the 3/8-mile dirt oval and surrounding acreage for its present owner, Sherri Heckenast of Frankfort, Ill.
Heckenast purchased the track for $1,622, 500.
Heckenast, a Chicago-area native who dabbled in racing herself as a driver, took over her father’s automotive recycling business after he had heart surgery when she was 25. She operated KLMS for four years.
In September 2009, Heckenast announced she was putting the Gilbertsville track up for sale. The track has been idle since then.
No prospective bidders were identified by Caley Newberry, a public relations spokesperson for J.P. King.
Newberry said the bidding will determine the market price of the property. The high bidder will assume ownership and closing will be accomplished three days after the auction, she said.
The track was built in the southeast corner of the intersection of Interstate 24 and the Purchase Parkway by Dwight and Keith Greer of Marshall County. It opened in 1997.
Delays in obtaining clearance to build the track and in construction delayed its opening, but the track became a popular venue for local weekly racing and for special events such as the Commonwealth Cup, a special, high-dollar race for dirt late model stock cars.
It operated in co-existence with Paducah International Raceway, not far away in southwestern McCracken County. PIR, also a 3/8-mile oval, opened in 1972.
The Paducah track is now owned by a partnership led by promoter Bob Sargent and including NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ken Schrader and Tony Stewart. Schrader and Stewart race frequently at the track in special events.
The names of several NASCAR stars were rumored as potential buyers when KLMS was sold in 2005. The relationship between PIR and Earnhardt and Schrader was announced later that year, and Stewart came on board in 2006.