The operator of the Slinger Speedway has fully achieved a longtime dream with the recent purchase of the Slinger racetrack property.
On Tuesday, Slinger Speedway owner and promoter Todd Thelan closed on the purchase of roughly 20 acres of land that includes the track itself. He declined to disclose the sale price.
The quarter-mile paved oval racing track is located at 280 Cedar Creek Road.
It had been owned by Speedway Properties, which is registered to former Slinger Speedway owner Wayne Erickson.
Thelen said he and his business have more stability now that he has finally acquired the property. It was hard to plan things beyond a year at a time before that.
"I couldn't prepare for the future, it was year-to-year leases," he said.
Several partners came together to get the deal done, including Thelen, Forte Bank, the Small Business Administration and Economic Development Washington County.
The deal has been a long time coming for Thelen. He said he started going to the racetrack as a kid in the 1970s. He dreamt of one day racing against his childhood heroes.
Thelen worked on a pit crew out of high school, and raced both while attending college and after graduation.
"I dreamt of this, racing and working in the industry," he said. With the Slinger Speedway property acquisition, Thelen said he "checked off the final stage of it."
He worked in executive management for a time, all while still dreaming of working full-time in the racing industry.
Thelen eventually left that job and around 2005 started working at Slinger Speedway as the public relations and marketing director.
"As I say, I took my suit and tie off, and took a job I was passionate about in the racing industry," he said. "I let the corporate ladder go."
When he interviewed for the role at Slinger Speedway, he said he wanted to own the place in 10 years. As it happens, Thelen had that opportunity in less time.
In 2013, Thelen and with Rodney Erickson, Wayne's son, became the new owners. Thelen took over as sole promoter in 2019, according to Slinger Speedway's website.
But Thelen did not take over ownership of the land itself until this week.
The land purchase comes as the Slinger Speedway prepares for what promises to be a busy July.
First up is the SupplyZone Slinger Nationals on Tuesday, July 6. Just a few days later, on Saturday, July 10, will be the nationally televised SRX Series.
"It's the biggest event to ever come to the Slinger Speedway," Thelen said.