Bader sets the record straight

Raceway owner looking at his options, including possibility of leaving Norwalk
Scott Seitz2
Jul 13, 2014


Bill Bader Jr. wanted to set the record straight on a number of issues Wednesday.

"First off, Bill Bader Sr. and Bill Bader Jr. are the owners of Summit Motorsports Park," he said.

Bader said a comment made by a former airport board member in a Reflector article on Wednesday could have led readers to believe he and his father did not own Summit Motorsports Park.

Once that was clarified, Bader addressed a number of other business and airport-related concerns.

Bader disputed the number of vehicles which actually used the airport runway as an exit over the July 4 weekend.

Doug Arnold, airport secretary, said at Tuesday's board meeting 2,955 vehicles exited the raceway via the runway during the weekend.

Bader said there's no way that's accurate.

Bader said, by calculating the acreage used for parking at the Wilson lot and the amount of vehicles on that acreage and which direction those cars were sent to exit, between 2,500 and 3,000 vehicles used the runway as an exit each day.

"I didn't know I had to keep track of this to defend myself," he said.

He said he can also play that numbers game.

"I'll put a friggin' camera at the end of the runway and video the number of planes that take off and land each day," Bader added.

Bader said he's tired of dealing with the airport.

"I'm not going to sit quietly anymore," he said. "If they want to play dirty pool, so be it."

Bader indicated he has little use for the Friends of the Huron County Airport group.

"Why is it so important to them to present Summit Motorsports Park in a negative light?" he said.

According to Bader, the Friends Facebook page showed pictures of empty stands at the raceway, trying to indicate attendance was down.

"We had a tremendous weekend -- a great weekend," he said. "The weather was beautiful and we had a packed house. It was a great event."

Bader said the raceway's battle with the airport dates back to 2006.

"From the early 1990s to 2006, we had a contract and used the runway with no issues," he said.

Bader said in 2006 a sewer easement was granted by the county commissioners, which upset a former airport board member, and it's been a battle ever since.

Bader addressed the local future of the raceway.

When his father bought the race track in 1974, he couldn't have imagined how much it would grow.

"Now, we have outgrown our campus," he said. "And, that's nobody's fault. We need a minimum of 500 acres. I am actively looking for a 500-acre campus."

Bader said the current facility is about 225 acres.

Bader said he knew it was time to look for a new facility when he read on the front page of the Reflector the headline, "Access Denied."

That headline referred to the Federal Aviation Administration's denial of Bader's request to use the airport runway as an exit during May's Cavalcade of Stars.

"That was the straw that broke the camel's back," he said.

"I just want to grow my business," he added. "That's why I'm looking at other parcels of property."

Bader said he's had meetings with officials in Erie and Lorain counties.

"I love the city of Norwalk," he said. "My kids got a top-flight education here and it is a great town. We've just outgrown our space."

Purchasing the airport property would help ease the raceway's space needs, but Bader knows selling and/or buying the airport is a complicated process.

"I think the reality is starting to set in that may not be a possibility," he said. "That's why I'm looking in a 30-mile radius."


Happy Hermit



And from the other half in norwalk...Adios!

Kottage Kat



Do u realize the money generated by this place? The local economy will be hit hard if he moves.


CrankyBalls's picture

It completely baffles me how kottage puss and the gang refuse to support a thriving local business. It just makes no sense. Not only does the raceway support the local economy, it also puts Norwalk on the map.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

You have to actually know kat to understand the logic.


Don't worry, if Bader ever moves like he's been threatening to do for the past few years, I'm sure he's not going to leave the racetrack behind to rot. Being a smart businessman, he will most likely sell the racetrack to someone else. Therefore, the racetrack will still be there after Bader leaves, it will just be owned by somebody else.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

The track may be there after Bader leaves, but only weeds will be the new tenants. I would love to see Billy plants some tall trees near the property line before he goes.


Seriously? You think a smart businessman would just abandon land that he owns and not sell it? Well, when he sneaks out of town, I hope Billy takes with him all the temporary structures that he doesn't pay property taxes on. Then the airport can take over his old track and use it for another runway.


Then the county would own two runways that no one will use.


Smart businessman do just that thing all the time. Sometimes it is easier and cheaper to leave the property then to try and sell it and maintain it. (Disney does this a LOT) Especially if it is already paid for - asset to hold on to for future financing. Racetracks are not exactly something that is easily sold.


You brought up a good point. It's pretty naive to think a company won't ever pack up and move just because of the building or property they might leave behind. There are examples of abandoned buildings all over the place. People who work in factories should take notice of the I-bolts often left screwed into the tops of machines. Those bolts are left in place for a reason. They make machinery easy to load onto trucks.


Windy Boy, you sure chose the right pen name. What happen at Mansfield ? have you ever gone to a hiring day in the spring and seen how many first time job people are hired. Just take a look at the parking lot before race day and see all the people waiting, but going in and out of Wal-Mart. Well, I know I am wasting my time here just like Congress ! You can't fix stupid !


Jackel, lets see a small scavenging dog
Yes that name fits you perfectly.
Nosing around the trash heap yipping and yapping at things you do not understand.

Really are you ...



Maybe seasonal but 9.9 million a year into the economy is a lot of money.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


I friggin hate whiners Mr. Bader.

CrankyBalls's picture

Bill, Way to stand your ground. It's a shame you have to keep dealing with a bunch of ignorant whiners. I really have no doubt that the vast majority in our community support the raceway.


Yes, isn't it great the way Billy stands his ground disputing the accuracy of the county's traffic counter. I'm sure his estimation of how many vehicles his parking lots hold is much more accurate than a machine that is designed specifically to count vehicle traffic.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

I'm sure your arm-chair analysis is accurate too.


Yes, sitting very comfortably in my arm-chair at home, I saw on national TV just how empty the stands were during such a "major" event. I'm surprised there were even that many vehicles counted on the county's machine.

Really are you ...

What are you going to do with the 275 acres you do not currently have now? A circle track? A hotel? A circus tent?

More likely than not wherever you go, you will have 1 entrance and 1 exit to your parking lot, or parking lots. Same problem all over again,

Wait a minute, I got an idea. You could move everything to China or Mexico.

Dr. Information

Only upside down, backwards thinking morons would let this place up and leave. Norwalk, the place where not so smart people reside.


Not only will I let him leave, I will help him pack.

Dr. Information

Fit right in with the mentality ehh? You have an axe to grind with this place, we know.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

I'm sure Clifford would agree.

chicken noodle

2,995 vehicles used the runway that's more traffic then the airport has had in 10+ years.


In the airports lifetime


This is the "Biggest" cry baby in the county. Spoiled Brat ! I would think Mr. Milliron from Mansfield would love to buy the track. A crying towel is in
due order.