Potts, a Clark County native, and Fairgrounds Director Dean Blair have spearheaded the efforts to bring power boat races to the lake on the property.
“This is very unique,” Potts said. “It’s enclosed, privately owned. And it gives us that setting that we can create an event here.”
Potts got his start in the motorsports industry when he worked with Bill Chatfield, who built Formula One powerboats in Springfield for decades, he said.
READ MORE: Clark County Fairgrounds moves forward with boat racing plans
They used to test boats on the fairgrounds lake, he said, so it holds a special place in his heart.
The fairgrounds offers a unique opportunity for motor-sport races, Blair said, because it’s on private property. That means organizers can charge admission. Most power boat races are held on public waters.
“It can generate revenues so that the event can return and do well,” he said.
The fairgrounds is also prepared for large crowds, Potts said. Space for camping will be available for visitors, as well as a concert at night after the races.
“They have the facilities to manage the logistics and everything,” he said. “Anything from trash to handling campers to tickets.”
Ticketing information for the event will be available soon, Blair said.
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“This could truly be the new home of formula racing,” he said. “We could see this kind of venue in Springfield, Ohio, for many years to come.”
The race could bring new businesses and tourists to the community, he said, but only if it’s successful.
“It’s up to us. Are we going to support it? Are the residents going to come out? … If we don’t really come out and support it, it’ll be a one time shot,” Blair said.
Springfield could potentially draw more motorsports races and businesses, Potts said, who want to be able to test their vehicles on the lake.
Most powerboat manufacturers are within a 300-mile radius of Clark County, Potts said.
“This will be the only facility in the country where you can come in and test on a consistent basis,” he said.
The fairgrounds is also hosting Solar Splash this weekend, a series of college solar boat races. The event is free and open to the public.
The fairgrounds will also begin to host cross country events around the lake soon, Blair said.
A demonstration last November of powerboats showed that the Clark County Fairgrounds lake could safely host races.
By the numbers
300: Mile-radius from Clark County where most powerboats are manufactured
20 to 25: Boats that will participate in the race in Springfield
125: Acre lake at the Clark County Fairgrounds
The Springfield News-Sun digs into important stories about jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent coverage of new businesses at both the Champion City Business Park and Prime Ohio II Industrial Park.