It was announced yesterday that Jukasa Motor Speedway, the ‘Crown Jewel‘ of Canadian race tracks, has permanently closed. To some in the racing community this wasn’t a surprise.
Jukasa co-owner Ken Hill (of Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory) died in January 2021 at only 62 years of age. Ken was the driving force behind the track and it was his labour of love. Without him, it was unlikely his partner Jerry Montour would continue to operate the speedway. Then, in May 2021, Jukasa management made the decision to cancel their 2021 racing season due to ongoing restrictions caused by the pandemic, plus the uncertainty of international border crossing for competitors. The writing was on the wall.
Originally called Cayuga International Speedway, the track opened in 1966 and was popular through the 70’s and 80’s as NASCAR stars were often brought in to compete in CASCAR events. By the 90’s the track was sold twice, with new owners unable to attract a NASCAR sanctioned race. The facility closed in 2009 before being resurrected by Ken Hill in 2014, renamed Jukasa Motor Speedway, with the goal of returning the track to its glory days.
With the closure of Jukasa Motor Speedway. Ontario has lost another legendary track, following the demolition of Barrie Speedway (2014) and Mosport Oval Speedway (2013). Running a race track is a very difficult proposition in Canada, partly due to the short racing season.
New tracks in Ontario have been rumored over the years including the Canadian Motor Speedway planned for Fort Erie, which has been stuck in the development stage since 2007, and more recently the announcement of the Automotive Innovation Park in Oro Station broke that ground last year. Whether either of these projects ever reach completion, they will never replace the ‘Crown Jewel’.