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Motorsports arena reopens near Cedar Lake Speedway

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When the Sandbox Arena closed about a year ago, the future of the indoor motorsports facility adjacent to the Cedar Lake Speedway was in doubt.

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But this past weekend, the facility sprung back to life, thanks to new owners. The arena, formerly known as the Sandbox Arena, was purchased by the owners of Cedar Lake Speedway.

"We are excited to be here," said Steve Kaufman, one of the owners, on Saturday. "Tons of people are really happy about it opening again."

Buying the arena was a no-brainer for the new owners, Kaufman said.

"Obviously the location was right for us," he said. "It will be a nice fit and will be an extension of some of the things we do at the speedway."

The indoor arena opened in 2007 with much fanfare, but the lagging economy had an impact on the success of the 116,800-square-foot facility.

Kaufman said the new owners are optimistic they can succeed, in part because they were able to purchase the arena at a significantly discounted price.

"That will help," he said. "And we plan on doing other types of events besides just motocross."

He said, by having a joint operation, the facilities will also be able to save money overall and that should improve the bottom line.

"The shared costs help bring the costs down," he said.

Cedar Lake owners are still finalizing long-term plans for the facility, now named Cedar Lake Arena. It will host numerous motocross events until mid-February, including a four-race motocross series with races every other Saturday.

Then, the jumps will be flattened and the facility will host the first ever Dirty Dash Mud Run March 2-3 with more than 12 obstacles that will challenge the competitors. This event will be similar to the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder events where anyone can challenge themselves to complete the run and obstacle course.

After numerous improvements to the facility, including the addition of bleachers and a $100,000 air ventilation system, the very next weekend will feature an indoor tractor and truck pull.

The dirt floor will then be transformed to an oval race track as it was during the facility's inaugural year and will kick off three car race events.

The first will be the Winter Midget Madness show featuring the Badger Midget series on March 8-10. The following weekend (March 15-17) will bring the first ever Winter Sprint Showdown featuring Micro Sprint cars.

Arena officials are expecting more than 100 competitors.

Cedar Lake Speedway will kick off the 2013 outdoor race season opener on April 5-6. If the weather is good there will be racing inside and outside that weekend. If the weather does not cooperate, racing will be indoors.

Following the opener, racing will take place every Saturday afternoon before the big cars race outside. The speedway and arena are considering go carts, quarter midgets, slingshots, and micro sprints as potential classes.

For more information, visit the new Cedar Lake Speedway and Arena website at www.cedarlakespeedway.comcedarlakearena.com.

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