BULLS GAP, Tenn. — There’s excitement buzzing within the East Tennessee racing community with announcement that 57-year-old Barry Proffitt of Isom, Ky., his son Josh and the Proffitt family, will be promoting weekly racing at Volunteer Speedway next season.
Proffitt’s involvement working in dirt racing in Southeastern Kentucky dates back more than 30 years ago to the early ’90s when he began helping at Thunder Ridge Raceway located in Prestonsburg, assisting promoter Chris Blair.
Once Blair left, Proffitt was elevated into the position as promoter of the three-eighths-mile facility, which besides having the dirt-track for auto racing also featured thoroughbred horse racing and legalized betting in the Commonwealth.
Following a decade at Thunder Ridge Raceway, Proffitt took over operations at Mountain Motorsports Park in Isom, where he promoted racing from 2000-’06.
Having worked for 30 years in the coal industry (strip-mining) operating heavy equipment, Barry took on the task of building Lucky 7 Raceway in Whitesburg, which opened in 2008 where he promoted racing through 2011.
There’s an old saying about you can’t go back home. Well, there’s no truth to that. Barry and family went back to operating Mountain Motorsports Park from 2020 through ’22. The historic flooding in Southeastern Kentucky back in July badly damaged the facility, thus prematurely ending the racing season.
Volunteer Speedway, which opened in 1974, means a lot to East Tennessee race fans, drivers and racing teams.
“I’m excited, my family’s excited, and we want all the race fans, drivers and racing teams in East Tennessee to be excited, for what we’re planning on doing at Volunteer Speedway in 2023 – and hopefully many years to follow,” said Barry Proffitt. “I first want to thank Vic Hill and his wife Christa, for the opportunity they’ve given my family and I to promote racing at Volunteer Speedway next year.
“Vic and I talked extensively before we reached agreement on me taking on responsibility of promoting events at the track and my goals, and I told him that I really want to bring regular weekly racing back to Volunteer Speedway. Everybody just wants to see regular weekly racing back at the track. Vic’s got too much on his plate with Vic Hill Racing Engines to handle promoting weekly racing, because it’s really a full-time job managing the track. I truly believe for any racetrack to be successful, you’ve got to have a really strong weekly racing program.
“There’s only one Volunteer Speedway. It’s a place like none other in this country, and there definitely is a huge need to host regular weekly racing throughout the year. Tentative plans are to start racing in late March (dependent on weather) and go into fall of the year and end in October.”