A foreclosure auction had been scheduled for noon on the steps of the Bradley County Courthouse to sell the one-third-mile banked oval.
Cleveland attorney Richard Banks said a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was filled at approximately 9 a.m. in bankruptcy court in Chattanooga. Banks, representing Cleveland Speedway Inc., said this action will cancel the foreclosure sale for the immediate time.
“It will now be up to the owners (Monty Morrow and Ronnie Willkomm) to come up with a plan for reorganization,” Banks continued.
The Cleveland attorney and Cleveland city councilman said today’s action should allow the Speedway to continue its racing operation in spring 2012.
Cleveland Speedway, located on South Lee Highway, had been a local landmark for more than 50 years. Competition this year continued into November.
Robert G. Norred Jr., who was appointed successor trustee on a deed of trust on the property, had published a legal notice in the Cleveland Daily Banner recently, stating the property would be sold today during a foreclosure auction on the steps of the Bradley County Courthouse.
Norred had been requested by the owner of the note to sell the property.
The note was secured by a deed of trust recorded by Cleveland Speedway Inc. unto James S. Webb.
Cleveland Speedway has been in operation since its construction in the 1950s by the Chase family.
The late Joe Lee Johnson, a NASCAR driver and Cleveland resident, took over ownership of the speedway in the early 1970s and continued as manager until he sold the property to Morrow in April 2004. Johnson died in 2005.
Morrow, who had been involved with the racing facility since 1978, has managed the popular dirt-track facility since that time.
Several members of the regional racing community have expressed concern the planned foreclosure would signal the end to track racing in the Cleveland and Bradley County community.
Today’s actions will delay any further foreclosure proceedings pending the Cleveland Speedway owners’ business reorganization, at least for the immediate future.