DARLINGTON—The terms of the lease for racing at the Lafayette County Fairgrounds have been worked out between the county and the Darlington Stock Car Association (DSCA).
The Lafayette County Fair Committee met on Feb. 15 to discuss the terms and came to an agreement to ensure that racing will happen this summer.
Fair committee chairman Bill Moody said the two parties were able to negotiate a two-year lease, what would have been the remainder of the five-year lease that had the two parties in litigation after the county looked to make some changes in the operation of the races at the county fairgrounds. DSCA filed a claim for damages against the county on Nov. 21 after the county’s fair committee sought bids for new contracts. The claim was denied by the county board of supervisors on Dec. 12.
“Because the racing association filed legal action, the county couldn’t execute a new agreement until the legal action was finished,” Moody said. “We had a March 7 court date, but that was too late of a timeline. It meant there wouldn’t be racing this summer.”
The county negotiated the time and date of races as well as the number of races. Moody said DSCA will deposit $2,500 to ensure that as many races as possible are held. If a race is skipped for any reason other than weather, the association loses $1,250.
“One of the sticking points that led to this whole dispute… was they didn’t follow through, from the county’s perspective, on running as many races we felt were necessary or that they were capable of running,” Patrick Henneger, an attorney representing Lafayette County, said.
Henneger said that the lack of races could potentially lead to an economic impact for the county as well as dissatisfied season ticket holders and sponsors who aren’t getting their money’s worth.
The contract is set to start April 1. DSCA plans to have races on Saturday nights instead of Fridays, although it is up to them if they want to switch back to Fridays in 2013.
“Maybe nobody is completely happy, but there will be racing this summer,” Moody said.
The agreement was approved unanimously by the fair committee and the county board will vote on it in March.