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Dominion Raceway starts staffing up

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Though Dominion Raceway in Spotsylvania County is more than a year away from opening, it already has three full-time employees, owner Steve Britt said.

Spotsylvania resident and retired firefighter Richard Storm is the facility’s safety director; Scott Curtis, whose family has owned Sumerduck Dragway in Fauquier County since 1963, is the drag strip manager; and Mike Mallon, who previously worked part-time at Old Dominion Speedway in Prince William County, is the manager of special events and entertainment.

For now, they are doing whatever needs to be done.

“This is fantastic, especially watching something get built from the ground up,” said Storm, who is attending a NASCAR conference on emergency services next month.

And Britt says more employees are coming, including Rick Skinner—Spotsylvania Supervisor Gary Skinner’s brother—who late next year is expected to become manager of the facility’s go-kart and road course operations. Supervisor Skinner disclosed his brother’s potential employment before voting in favor of the raceway earlier this year.

Some raceway opponents cried foul, but Skinner was legally able to vote under the Virginia Conflict of Interest Act. Rick Skinner is an accomplished go-kart racer and a former sales and marketing employee at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Scheduled to open in early 2015, the 160-acre Dominion Raceway will have an oval track for stock-car racing, a drag strip, a road course and a go-kart course. Britt says workers will be logging the undeveloped site off the Interstate 95 exit in Thornburg until mid-January.

The current employees will have various tasks until the raceway opens. For instance, Storm and Curtis are helping to erect a 4,000-foot fence along an adjacent property line.

“Right now, we are a jack of all trades,” Storm said.

He retired in June as a firefighter with the Quantico Fire Department. An avid stock-car racer, Storm will also compete at the raceway.

“Part of the deal was that I still get to race,” he said.

Storm previously raced at Old Dominion Speedway, which closed last year after more than 60 years of operation. Britt, the speedway’s last owner, said he decided to relocate because the old facility had become hemmed in by residential development, leading to frequent noise complaints.

Curtis, who will be Dominion’s drag strip manager, has worked at various facilities over the years, including a two-year stint managing Darlington Dragway in South Carolina. He also owned a dragway in Georgia and has helped out at Old Dominion Speedway.

“That’s all I’ve known,” said Curtis, who lives in Sumerduck. “That’s all I’ve really wanted to do since I was younger.”

He says he already feels like part of the Dominion Raceway family.

“I know it’s corny, and it’s used a lot, but you do feel . . . a family thing going on here,” Curtis said. “Everybody has a little say-so, and that’s a good feeling.”

Mallon, who will oversee special events, is working on the raceway’s website, which he hopes to launch by the end of January. is currently selling sweatshirts, pint glasses and and ornaments for the holidays.

Britt said he plans to hire another employee by March to help Mallon with marketing.

An economic impact study prepared by a raceway consultant said the development would employ seven to 10 full-time workers and 40 part-timers.

But Britt said this week that he will probably have at least 100 part-timers when the raceway opens. He said he’s not sure how many full-timers he’ll end up with, but said he may hire another five to 10.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the project in May. The raceway had a lot of supporters but also opponents who worried about traffic and noise.

Still, the supervisors recently granted the development a noise exemption until 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and other select dates such as holidays. That’s an hour later than the exemption for commercial establishments that customarily emit noise.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402