For my Memphis Motorsports Park story in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily News, I interviewed Elaine Cartwright, a member of the park’s 14-full-time staff for 22 years.
Cartwright has seen the park’s transformation before her eyes. She was there when a group of local investors started it in 1987, when Long Beach bought it in 1996, and when she was finally let go in October 2009 as Dover waved the checkered flag on the park.
Cartwright wore many different hats at Memphis Motorsports Park. She was mainly the receptionist, but also sold tickets, worked in the concession and took care of merchandise.
“In the beginning, there were only two of us girls that sold tickets and answered the telephone and everything, and after we got larger, we had a lot more people to help us.”
In our entire conversation, not once did Cartwright mention how the park’s closing affected her, but yet how it affected the community.
“I just hate to see it shut down, because it hurts the economy,” Cartwright said. “It brought so many different celebrities in town that people didn’t realize – people from Africa, Europe, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Argentina.”
We need it opened back up. We need it locally, for the local racers that are having to drive anywhere from an hour to two hours to race somewhere now. And it kept the kids off the street – that’s how it got started.”
Cartwright attended the auction on Tuesday to bid on the picnic table she sat at every day on her lunch break, but unfortunately was outbid.
“It’s just a memory that I have with all the great people I met there,” Cartwright said. “We had a lot of good people, we had a lot of fun.”